No, I am not a big fan of shopping. Especially on a Saturday or a Sunday, when I feel like I can be doing something better with my Italian weekend. Not to mention the crowds and the general sensation of stress in the air. I even do our weekly food shop on Monday afternoon when I can be in and out of the supermarket within an hour and a half tops.
None of that slow browsing through the shops for me. I don’t really like to spend hours in search of an outfit or a pair of shoes. Nor do I enjoy aimless window shopping that can take up a whole day. In that respect, I believe, my husband is convinced I am the perfect woman.
To be perfectly honest though, every rule has its exceptions. I don’t need to be pressed hard to admit that I have a favourite shop here in Vicenza, which I am only too happy to visit any day of the week.
It is called Viridea and it is the most wonderful amalgamation of garden centre, craft store and cookware shop. Plus it has a pet corner with some gorgeous parrots, fluffy bunnies, a whole wall with aquariums and even this nonchalant iguana!
It doesn’t get any better! Any excuse to pop down to Viridea is a good thing in my books.
So this past Saturday we piled in our little red car and drove there. The reason for this particular visit was to buy some seeds for my parents’ vegetable garden. Like most Bulgarians they happily dabble in horticulture and I can proudly say that I had never had shop-bought tomatoes in my life until I moved to England in December 2000.
My father is particularly interested in different varieties of vegetables, so I always try to get some unusual seeds for him. Once I even ordered over 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes from the US, but that’s a whole other story. Anyhow, he’s been to Italy several times and admires Italian horticultural practices, so I promised to send him some local seeds. Viridea was the perfect place to check what’s available and make a pick.
Let’s start at the beginning though.
The first thing you see when you walk into Viridea’s huge space is a long alley brimmed with the most amazing cacti. Admire this!
I always spend some time just marvelling at their fabulous and inventive shapes. My husband likes cacti, so we pick a tiny one for his growing collection when we can. It is not easy to make a choice, as the variety is simply staggering. So selecting just the right one becomes a rather indulgent task with me squealing in delight over this and that cactus and no doubt disturbing the peace of the shoppers around us who always look so proper and prim. I mean, I am quite reserved, too, but who can contain themselves when faced with this?
After that I head straight over to the orchid section. I am still lusting after these speckled orchids and just need to be brave and get one. I mean, I managed to re-pot my white orchid all by myself and it is still blooming and developing well (touch wood!), so I should be able to take care of a speckled orchid, too.
Usually, I also roam around Viridea’s garden centre for some time just admiring the riotous displays of plants in bloom, looking at large bags of fertile soil (I bought a couple some months ago to re-pot my other plants that we brought with us from England) and just having a whale of a time.
The seed section was next, so it was time to get my task done.
The variety was amazing! Look at how many different types of beans there were.
After much choosing and comparing of labels, I managed to select several types of tomatoes, peppers, some yellow courgettes and even some fennel seeds.
I was particularly taken with the kits allowing you to grow your own vegetables and herbs even if you don’t have much space. I would love to get one of them and see if I would manage to harvest a sprig of basil or two.
In the end, we headed to the pet section, where we admired the fabulous fish, the cuddly animals and the chirpy birds. I have to admit that I felt a bit bad for the birds, as although they had great cages with lots of space, I thought that they would be much happier if they were allowed to fly free.
These little rodent guys made me laugh though. Their house seemed to be bursting at the seams. I don’t know how they managed to cram themselves in. There were tiny little feet and paws sticking out and if one of the little cutie-pies wanted to break free, this was achieved only after much shoving and pushing. It must have been very nice and cosy inside.
The best bit was outside the shop: a big enclosure housing some curious little goats.
It was time to go home, but I am sure I will return to Viridea pretty soon again.
N.B. This is not a sponsored post, nor it is a post in any way commissioned or endorsed by the company mentioned. I happen to really love Viridea and wanted to share my experience with you. Thank you for reading!