I did something today that I haven’t done in a long time: I went to a garden centre. A BIG garden centre in Munich.
Gartencenter Seebauer – the "best garden centre in Germany" – has called to me ever since I moved here, but life without a car means two things: a 10km one-way trip to go shopping constitutes a major day outing, and the amount of stuff you can buy and bring home is limited to how much you can strap to the back, front, and sides of a bike with bungee cords. But it was worth the ride. Seebauer is a huge and well stocked centre under glass, well merchandised and planned with a good selection of plants, and it reminded me of the old Mandeville Garden Centre in Burnaby B.C. (which I gather is now called GardenWorks). Living in the heart of Munich, my botanical resources have been limited to a home improvement/hardware store nearby, a small plant store near the Viktualienmarkt, and the surprisingly well-stocked garden stores surrounding the graveyard that service the local custom of turning burial plots into miniature showpiece gardens. But none of these little stores have any interesting orchids or decent orchid supplies on offer, and Seebauer, I was sure, would be different.
I don’t know what prompted me to go today. Maybe it’s the fact that two of my windowshill orchids are blooming for me. Domestic orchids have an interesting reproductive system; they make flowers, the sight of which engages owner to go buy more plants. They’re very clever, those orchids.
Anyway, wandering garden centres is always an emotional experience for a true addict, but I was surprised by the memories that surfaced today as I wandered the aisles. I thought with longing of my "grow room" back in Toronto, and the hundreds of orchids I left behind. My thoughts went back to some of the gardens I’ve planted, like my old house in Vancouver – or more specifically the garden I owned with the house that happened to be on it and that I lived in. And all the other gardens and things that I’ve planted and grown over the years that I’ve left behind along the way.
Ahhh, but then there’s retail therapy. The store’s large orchid section was unfortunately stocked mostly with phalaenopsis’, but there were some interesting oncidiums, burragearas, and miltonias. I bought a big fat Burrageara Nelly Isler, a no-name oncidium with a nice white fringe on its purple black heart, a bunch of tulip bulbs ("Triumph Happy Generation") and some decent orchids supplies. It was a satisfying afternoon, but it left me a little homesick and sad.
However, the brisk 10km ride home with orchids popping off the sides of my bike did wonders for the mood. In fact it was so effective, I’m thinking of planting flowers in my my front bike basket and turning it into a little garden. It’s my new strategy: A mobile garden on two wheels, so that wherever I go, it comes with me.