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So, let’s talk about 

Poetry, Jazz, Friends & Coffee, Art, History & Human Rights, Half marathon and endurance, Travel & of course …Flowers.

“I will bring you flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses. I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

Pablo Neruda

I couldn’t begin otherwise. The poetry of the Chilean poet is full of flowers, plants and love. 

He himself wrote: “You can crush the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.”

Surely you’ve heard it.

Since I was a student, with very little money in my pocket,  I always made sure to have roses on my table in mid-May, or a small bouquet of mimosas in mid-January.

To have flowers with me was more important than having money to buy bread, milk or eggs. I didn’t care about that at all.

Empty stomach yes. Empty jar never. 

That was my poetry in my 20s. 

By living in the Netherlands my relationship with flowers became almost an addiction.

An addiction that followed me to Zurich, where my favorite flower shop is  located:


In Marktgasse, a small alley in the old town, Urs, who comes from a family of gardeners, has created a very special place. It looks more like a beauty salon for plants in the ’30s. The furniture and shelves take you back in time and the hop front is enviable. Every Saturday, a visit there, especially in the winter months, is a must. 

When you open the heavy iron door the smells of rare flowers fill your brain and you leave intoxicated with pleasure.

In this same place I heard for the first time the term: “Slow Flower”

I see a couple of men picking out Callas & Strelitzias for their engagement and to analyze this unusual “American” term. 

“Slow Flower” in a nutshell means, love and care for flowers.Not masses and endless productions, but buying them from small farms in our area or ordering them within the shortest possible distance.

Of course, all this requires a lot of effort, a lot of faith, proper training and love for the environment.

In this lovely vintage space, vintage flowers are a must. 

Soft colors in roses, hydrangeas and peonies. Lovely daisies and huge poppies. 

A visit could be a pilgrimage to a gallery for holy adorable flowers we all love. 

Of course the Dutch hear “Slow Flower” and get pimples. Nothing could annoy them more than that.

{Floris my lovely florist at De pijp in Amsterdam had told me that a wealthy customer in St Petersburg had requested at the end of the 1990s to have 6,000 pink roses immediately for his daughter’s wedding. The next day the roses were travelling from Amsterdam on a KLM flight.

I think that after so many visits and discussions with the people in the market, I realized this simple thing:

The flower quality you need to know 

when it has been cut, 

where it was planted, 

what bulbs have been used. 

and what care it has received. 

On the other hand, all flowers have quality, when they are fresh.

 The difference is seen in their duration, when the “good” flowers last at least for a week, while the others last a maximum of three days.

Is there a secret to making the flowers last longer?

 The only trick is to change the water in the jar every day, nothing else. No sugars and aspirin, nothing else. Just clean water, so no fungus builds up.

I will close with my favorite ode :

“I love you between shadow and soul. I love you as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet and carries hidden within itself the light of flowers. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. Because of you, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth lives in my body, rioting with a hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.” P.N

I first heard a reading of this Pablo Neruda poem from the soundtrack of Il Postino „The Postman“, a 1994 Italian film directed by Michael Radford

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