March 18, 2013

Gardening in Munich

Three more days and it will be springtime!! And what happens in Munich when the spring comes? Germans start planting flowers in balconies, city parks, private patios and gardens like there is not tomorrow. It is amazing how the city and buildings go from being covered in white snow to resemble a part of the botanic garden.


Pre-springtime day in Munich at Tambosi cafe in Hofgarten
I live five minutes away from a Dehner, which is a large garden store chain here in Munich. Therefore I am very updated on when the gardening season starts because when it does, the shop sets up outdoor displays and shelf carts full with flowering potted plants ready to buy, take home and be planted.

This is my second spring in Munich and as last year, I going "local", which means that I am planning to decorate my mini balcony with beautiful flower pots but I am also going to buy parsley, coriander, tomato and paprika plants, so I can play that I have a mini veggie garden in my mini balcony and use it when I cook. And the best part is that I will do all this without spending a fortune! 

In this blog entry:
  • you will learn where to buy potted flowers, veggie and spice plants in Munich,
  • I will surprise you on how much Germans love to give away flower bouquets and
  • you will get a list of easy TV programs on gardening in German, so you can practice the German skills while you learn how to plant your mini garden at home!

GARDENING WITHOUT A GARDEN (FOR A PATIO OR BALCONY): Let's start for the beginning. Do you have a garden in Munich? if not (like me), it does not matter, as far as you have a balcony, a patio, a kitchen with plenty of light or a big window shelf with space for pots. In Germany the fact that you do not live in a house with a real garden is NOT an excuse for not having a garden... 




One of the good things about Munich in spring and summertime is that the temperature and light will allow you many options to have flowers, green plants and/or spice and veggie plants inside or outside (in the balcony or the kitchen window shelf).  In the stores you will find an amazing wide range of options and the only limit will be the budget. Or won't it? potted plants and flowers are so affordable in Munich that you can buy you a small botanic garden for something like €35. 

WHERE TO BUY YOUR NEW MINI GARDEN:

Specialised stores:

Dehner: I have already mentioned this shop, which is my favourite. Besides its two floors, in the patio (Hof) they sell such a wide range of green plants, spices, flowers and veggie plants that it will take you a while to make a decision on which one to buy. They also sell all sort of seeds, bulbs... and of course gardening equipment and accessories, specific soils and fertilizers. The staff is friendly but if you need advice, be prepared and learn the key words in German (Düngemittel, Erde, Samen, etc) because they do not usually speak English and besides, all the kind sales people I have asked in this shop tend to have a very strong Bavarian accent...


Dehner display @ Viktualienmarkt
In the Viktualienmarkt there is also a similar store called Samen Schmitz
Located in the yellow building that is in the very same side as the church, Samen Schmitz has two floors and their range is also set up in displays outside, occupying several meters along the front of the shop.


View of Samen Schmitz street shelves @ Viktualianmarkt
Less central and popular among tourists, we have Planzen Kölle, Planzen RiesGartencenter Seebauer, etc. which are also very good options and tend to have more affordable prices than the other more popular shops in Altstadt. If none of them are close to where you live, just enter the word "Gartencenter" in google maps and it will give you a long list of local shops in your area.

Online: gardening could not be an exception, as every industry in Germany there is also a online store for gardening that delivers to Munich. It is called Baldur

Screen shot of Baldur website
Street markets: Munich has four main street markets (Viktualienmarkt, Elisabethmarkt, Wienermarkt and Pasing Viktualienmarkt) and in all of them you can find street florists. 



Pictures of florists' stands at the Viktualienmarkt
DIY and furniture stores: most do-it-yourself stores in Munich have a garden section, which not only sell equipment and accessories but also living plants: Bauhaus, Hornbach, OBI, Praktiker, Toom der Baumarkt, etc.

Furniture stores: when the spring comes, they usually have an interesting offer of flower and green potted plants. Check: the blog entry furniture stores in Munich for more names.





Supermarkets: Less specialised but popular, you can usually buy parsley and other spice potted plants in most of the Munich supermarkets for something like 1,99€ during springtime and summer, as well as bouquets of cut flowers and in some cases even seeds, bulbs, soil or fertilizers. However these items do not tend to be in stock, they are just weekly special sale offers, so keep your eyes open!


Shot of the Rewe entrance in Tal Strasse




And finally I would like to mention BayWa which is a website that I have come across while writing this entry and which it seems to me like a DIY and garden giant, but that unfortunately I have not had yet the time to visit.


Screen shot of BayWa website
GERMANS LOVE TO GIVE AWAY FLOWERS:
On Monday I was browsing through one of the many German beauty and fashion magazines, when a small article caught my eye: "Ten well-known topics of the German culture". I knew about most of them (efficiency and punctuality, winter sports, recycling, love for cars, bureaucracy, etc.) but I did not know about the second to last in the list: flowers

According to the article: Germany spent over 8,7 billion in flowers in 2012, which means something like over 100€ per person. That is a lot of money in flowers. Giving that on average a small bouquet costs from 9€ to 12€ ... Who buys eight to eleven bunches of flowers per year?  

My first reaction was to think that the numbers were wrong (inflated). I am sorry but I find the stats in these type of magazines not very trustworthy, mainly because they do not usually quote the source. But then I went online and although I could not confirm the number, I discovered something surprising: Germans do not only plant like crazy in springtime, they do spend a lot of money in cut flowers across the year.


Shot of street florist stall @ Marienplatz
The German Florists' Trade Association (Fachverband Deutscher Floristen) does not publish any stats but I found an old press release from the Blumen Grossmarkt in Hamburg stating that Germans spent 6,6 billion euros in potted plants and cut flowers. And moreover: two thirds of this expense were for private consumption (mainly for presents and own usage)! Moreover, if you check the German wikipedia on this topic, many articles claim that Germany is one of the top three largest importers of cut flowers in the world!

LEARN GARDENING IN GERMAN in TV:
If you are really into gardening or would like to learn about it at the same time that you practice your German skills, then check the following channels and programs, which usually have a media center where you can watch past episodes online.
Do you know of other stores to buy plants and flowers? 

And this is all from me. It is raining today but we had such a lovely weekend, warm, sunny... I had a big plan planned for Sunday and I will tell you all about it the next time. 

In the meantime, check out the following:

The Grocery List

Furniture stores
Biking in Munich
Rooftops and weather in Munich