Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Saturday 27 October 2018


Honestly: I can't remember when I bought my last cactus.
More precise: If I ever bought a cactus. 
I had one or two as a "teenager" - they were very easy to maintain, but my heart was not with them.
In the shopwindow of "Urban Outfitter" at the Ku'damm stood a whole collection - tiny, very tiny - the photo above only makes it appear big.
I stared.
Went in.
(And fretted about my motivation. I mean: A cactus?!? The thought of a movie with Catherine Hepburn made me think even harder - was it a symbol? Do I become unruly, cross-grained, in my rebellious search for the Holy Grail?).

A cactus is a pricky, evil little thing.
In the store I thought them "funny" - and that is a word I learned to become very cautious of in connection with clothes or furniture, for instance. It always means: "funny" only for a very short time - then regret sets in, because most often it is - kitschig.
This one too.
Look at that pot! (Well, I can turn it around, then it is plain white).

What astonishes me most - beside the fact that I bought a cactus - is, that I even didn't buy the one I wanted (a miniature of the huge proud cacti with "arms" pointing up into at a relentless burning sun and blue sky in the desert Gobi...)
No, I bought that little fat one.

Because I saw that it was the only one (amongst about 50 others) that had little buds.
Pink. (You have to stare very hard to see it).
Sometimes one has to - stare very hard - to find a bud nugget - but it might be worth the effort!


  1. My mother loved cacti. One of them only bloomed once in every 20 years or so and it bloomed before I left home.

    1. It wanted to be remembered by you!
      (There is a story by Colette about her mother, who also had a cactus that only flowered once in a few years - and the mother canceled the invitation to Paris to visit her married daughter - just to be able to see her cactus blooming, )

  2. Are you going to call it Pricky? I don't think we would call one that here but I am quite warming to the name if you choose it.

    1. Rachel, that is a funny idea - especially if you think of the many meanings this might involve...
      But till now no thing of mine has a name (with the exception of Knut, my little red Fiat 500 - but I have sold him, no need in a city like Berlin).

  3. My mother loved them. She planted a small cactus garden beneath a tree in our back yard once. She tried to be nurturing but they seemed to die out. The we got a good rain and the garden was full of healthy happy cactus.

  4. That is amazing, Emma! I thought that a cactus is a very frugal and modest plant - but you are right of course: it needs water and sun.

  5. Dear Brigitta, I remember motoring across the Mojave Desert in the 1960s. It was illegal to ignore a disabled vehicle or pedestrian. One was (and hopefully still is) required to lend assistance. Another caution was instruction in chewing cacti, which store water in their works and can save lives. They are prickly plants indeed, but can sometimes help when nothing else will.

    1. Dear Geo., I didn't know that about the law (though it should be taken for granted, I think (but if there is a Law there must have been incidents before they made it). As a water-supply my cactus will have to grow a bit... :-)