To experience all Rehm’s has on offer – think indigenous, drought-resistant plants, annuals and perennials, a range of edibles and fruit trees – you need to block off the whole day.
BY RENE THOMPSON
A drive-by glance at Rehm’s Nursery (5801 Lomas NE) reveals a small gem of a nursery. After parking and exploring a few paces, the visual trickery of a roadside vantage point becomes clear. Rehm’s is a gem, but definitely more amethyst cathedral than diamond solitaire.
It’s easy to spend a couple hours exploring Rehm’s, but that will only get you so far. To experience all Rehm’s has on offer – think indigenous, drought-resistant plants, annuals and perennials, a range of edibles and fruit trees – you need to block off the whole day.
Open for over 90 years, Rehm’s has only changed hands five times. For the last 11 years, Tammy Hayman has owned Rehm’s, and she exhibits genuine enthusiasm as she recounts the benefits of shopping at a locally owned nursery.
For instance, almost all the plants on display here have a simple tag that specifies price, type of plant, whether it’s seasonal or annual, the plant’s water usage, and how much sun it can take. Courteous employees are on standby to answer questions. Hayman says that being one of the most well-stocked nurseries in the city is part of Rehm’s business plan.
“We have to compete with larger chains that have garden centers because their prices are less, but people end up getting corporate-made plants without any of the know-how,” Hayman said. “I have a really great crew. They’re helpful and knowledgeable, and unfortunately, the people who work seasonally [at larger chain stores] don’t have a clue, so we pride ourselves on being customer-oriented and making sure people walk away knowing how to take care of their investment.”
Rehm’s is a premier shopping destination for rose bushes, as they’re grown on-site by a rosarian, or expert rose cultivator, and they offer 1,800 starter bushes in dozens of varieties. “The roses come to us as sticks in January, and we get three waves of them. There is a sweating-out process when we pot, root and cover them,” Hayman said. “Roses do really well in the spring or fall and like it cooler, but they can take the desert sun as well.”
Their selection of handmade Mexican ceramics lends a spectrum of color to the corridors and walls. Stocking everything from bulbs and seeds to biodegradable seed starter kits, rain barrels and composters, Rehm’s also stocks natural pesticides and predators. The nursery also carries specialty plants like Bonsai trees, succulents and cactus starters, and an array of robust, fragrant geraniums, which do well catching a summer breeze in kitchen windows.
If you’re not sure what to use for garden pests, Hayman recommends consulting an employee. Hayman explained that the praying mantis is a great way to get rid of bugs, but they need to be spread out over a large area so as not to cannibalize each other, which is known to happen. Rehm’s also sells ladybugs, green lacewings and red wigglers to enrich soil, but Hayman recommends not getting more than one kind at a time because their impact can cancel each other out.
For idiopathic infestations, Hayman reports that neem oil is the best all-around natural repellant. “When it warms up, people have to worry about those bugs, and we try to always use neem oil or something that’s non-toxic. Neem oil is an insecticide, miticide and fungicide, so it’s a very good product to keep on hand when you don’t know what could be going on with your plants.” Rehm’s also sells critter repellents for troublesome cats, dogs, rabbits, snakes and deer.
When starting from scratch with seeds or starter plants, Hayman advises waiting till they’ve grown to the top cover of the starter kit, and gradually transferring them outside over a few days so they can acclimate to the weather. She also recommends buying a garden cover for especially cold nights or particularly hot days to save plants from frost or wilting.
Xeriscaping is one of the most sensible options when choosing plants for gardens or landscaping, and the Water Utility Authority has published a how-to guide on hundreds of xeriscaping plants and flowers. The WUA also offers rebates to Albuquerque residents who xeriscape their yards and gives an incentives to residents wanting to transition away from water-hogging lawns.
The WUA how-to guide on xeriscaping guide can be found at Rehm’s or obtained directly from the Water Utility Authority. Rehm’s carries 98 percent of the species offered in the guide, says Hayman, who notes that the guide is extensive. In it, plants are broken down by sun and water needs and what’s best for certain regions of the city and the amounts of rebate allowances. For more info, visit abcwua.org.
To learn more about Rehm’s, call (505) 266-5978 or visit rehmsnurserynm.com.