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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Baroness' Garden Center

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It’s a bright, spring day and not too warm.  You’ve got money in your pocket, time on your hands, and hope in your heart.  Doesn’t include the blond in the convertible that stops to offer you a ride…and so much more.  I said ‘hope’ not outrageous expectations.

Wanna sit in a garden, sip some honeyed tea, nosh on scrumptious cake, laced with ripe berries, and slathered in cream, gaze over rows of brightly dancing flowers, and take some well-chosen greenery home with you? 

Oh, the cakes and pastries....

Even better than it looks!

I just covered, drinking, eating, gardens, sunshine, shopping, and dreaming.  How much more Springtime planning can a mere mortal do?

You’re in luck.  Got just the place for you.  Only problem is, it’s about an hour and a half from the beaten track.  Matter of fact, if you mention the beaten track to locals, you get blank stares.  Nevertheless, it’s worth the drive through a brilliant array of fields and flowers, dots of towering green trees, and the country allure of narrow, heart-pounding two lane blacktops.  Make that one and a half lanes.

Of course, I’m speaking of the Staudengärtnerei Gräfin von Zeppelin (Garden and Nursery).  A Countess?  Yes, Helena (1879-1967), the daughter of the famous Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von Zeppelin (1838 –1917), inventor of the airships that carried his name.

The question arising is: how did von Zeppelin’s daughter get connected to the garden and nursery.  Sorry, no answer from this guy.  However, Helena was quite active in German gardening during the early to mid 20th Century.  She’s given credit for cultivating lambs’ ears, those loveable little plants with fuzzy, silvered leaves.  Some varieties even sport red flowers.  Quite easy to propagate, by the way.  My own garden’s overflowing.  Can’t clear out the little devils to save my life.

But, back to the Baroness’ garden center.  The first thing you notice, after you notice the joy and wonder of finally seeing other humans, is the great expanse of flowers and plants.  You can walk right into the rows, or you can go through the garden shop, which is arrayed with everything every gardener needs, or doesn’t.  Attached to the shop is a small, glassed-in, airy café offering a limited menu, which thankfully includes a host of teas and coffees, beer, wine, cakes, and pastries that would make an anorexic Vogue model drool.  I chose the porch, overlooking a scenic village and church’s bell tower.

Not being a gardener, unless you count wishing and hoping, I needed stern botanic counseling.  Fortunately, garden gnomes roam the area, friendly, smiling, able to translate Latin and make suggestions from spoken scraps of disorganized information. A gnome is a necessity for someone stuck with pantomiming words like:  tallish, bluish-aqua-purple, sounds like whiffer-dill, rhymes with tendonitis.  The gnomes did well.  Translated the entire Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, then took my money faster than an online blackjack dealer.

Well, ok, I devoured cakes, sipped tea, and spent money, but how did it turn out?  All I can say is the plants went in the ground easy enough.  Too early to proclaim anything more definite.  However, my lambs’ ears are still doing splendidly.

Gräfin von Zeppelin
Garden Center
Weinstr. 2
79295 Sulzburg
07634 69716

What's a garden without lilies? 

Flowers without number... 

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