For a few months in spring and summer, Super Mario Bros (or the Caledonian Road Garden Centre as it’s actually called) opens up on a busy corner of the Caledonian Road in north London. It’s run by two brothers, Mario and Chris. I can never remember which one is which, but one is considerably friendlier than the other. It’s always doing a brisk trade and has a host of colourful London characters visiting it – this time around there was a woman wearing some crazy glasses (apparently she’s a well known potter) and an old lady with a beard.
The plants aren’t especially cheap and some of them maybe shouldn’t be on sale (dahlias in full flower were on sale last week – should they have been?!). But it’s always a pleasure to see it open its doors because it means that spring has arrived.
The brothers do not use a calculator so adding up can take some time. And they’re not that free with their advice either. My friend asked if a hollyhock she was buying would flower this year, and one of the brothers said: ‘If it’s happy’. It’s a line I’m going to start using whenever I don’t know the answer to a horticultural question.