I decided once and for all that it was high time to bring in more exotic plants into my abode, and be true to my heritage by stepping up my orchid game. The common orchid to buy here in Germany is the phalaenopsis, which are pretty, but I don’t like them, for some reason. I supposed I am spoiled by the Philippines and Thailand, where these orchids are like dandelions here in Germany. But where to find the more exotic orchids in Berlin, and affordable too! With this challenge in mind, I set out to surf trusty old Google, and landed on a place not too far from the office, Le Orchid.
What I was dead set on purchasing was a cattleya, and I called ahead to ask if they had any in stock. The man on the phone said yes, but when I reached the store, the small Vietnamese lady vehemently refused to sell it to me because it had just finished blooming. You will have to wait more than half a year for it to bloom again, so there is no point it buying it now! Good point, so I looked around the cramped little shop and was absolutely delighted with what I found. If it were up to me I would have bought everything in sight, and the shopkeeper would have been over the moon! But she understood that I know my orchids and that there was no way she was even going bother offering me any variation of the phalaenopsis. My eye fell on the Dendrobium nobile instead, and the shopkeeper smiled knowingly. She took away the one I had picked up, and thrust a better one in my hands instead. Then She pointed out the oncidium baroness, aka the Tiny Twinkle (not the Dancing Lady) which is a fragrant orchid. It is still full of buds but that is what I was after. I want to watch the drama unfold at home.
This little shop is tucked away in an obscure shopping arcade which is not frequented by too many passersby, certainly not by tourists. You have to know their work and the quality of service to go out of the way and find them. But believe me when I tell you that they are so worth the effort! Their cut flowers are to die for, and the service has a quaint Asian charm with a touch of Berliner brutal frankness. For example, the shopkeeper pointed out some blue orchids up on a shelf, obviously dyed, and she was absolutely horrified. Horrible things these dyed orchids, but a client ordered them. I personally think it is floral rape, how can you do such a thing to orchids?! What could I say after that? She told me to return in a couple of weeks when her new shipment of exquisite exotica was arriving and was sure I would find something to my liking. I think I have a new friend!