September 7, 2006

Plant shopping in El Pino

We went shopping at a vivero (plant nursery) in the little town of El Pino about 20 miles away. They had a large selection of orchids, some of which didn't look too healthy, and none of which had blooms. I don't know a thing about orchids except that they grow wild in the forests and mountains here. When asked what types they were, the owner's wife said, "orquidios" (orchids, period). When asked what color the flowers were, she answered with a shrug and, "no se" (I don't know). Her attitude was "I have orchids, buy them."

Even if they didn't know the scientific name, it wouldn't be that much trouble to write the color on a piece of tape on the container. Honestly, there are some orchids that are just not that attractive to me. I could never buy an orchid without at least knowing the color. Had she been able to tell us the colors, we might have bought 5 or 6. Three times while walking around, I got excited about a plant I hadn't seen for sale before and asked how much it was. She invariably answered, "no se vende" (it's not for sale), even though it was out there on display with all the others.

We ended up spending about 80 lempiras (about $4.25 U.S.) buying three Aglaonema nitidum, variety 'Los Baños,' I think, and the Heliconia rostrata shown in the top photo. Incidentally the soil was full of snail eggs, a new problem that I don't need in my garden! We left very frustrated. But the owners looked pleased with their sale, not realizing that usually we don't stop plant shopping until there is no room left in the Jeep.

Aglaonema nitidum

We went down the highway to another El Pino nursery where I spotted a single dark orange and yellow daylily in a huge concrete pot. I haven't seen any daylilies in the nurseries in La Ceiba and I would really like to try them. We asked the price and it was L.300 (about $20) because the maceta (flowerpot) went with it.

Dracaena marginata 'Tricolor'

But we didn't need the big concrete pot. It was at least 2' (60 cm.) in diameter and we really don't have a place for it. Those pots are so heavy and impossible to move. El Jefe asked the owner, very politely, if it would be possible to buy only the plant, thinking that they could put another display plant in the pot.
"No. No puedo." (No, I can't). "You have to buy the pot, too." We bought this pink variegated Dracaena marginata 'Tricolor' for about $2 U.S. And I'm still looking for daylilies.

There have been so many times that I have been shopping with a pocketful of money and can't find anyone to take it!

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