The Nurseries Pt 3

Pepiniere Renaissance

Unfortunately, we only discovered this gem after we’d bought most of our plants.

Here’s a link to their website: Renaissance Nursery

There are some plants on the site that they don’t stock – apparently the guy who set up the site just downloaded random photos without checking with the staff. Then he left and they haven’t replaced him yet.

They do not have the Sealing Wax palm, so don’t bother driving all the way there for it!!

Heading into Goodlands from Petit Raffray, turn left at the lights leading to Grand Gaube. On the right is a high stone wall – about 100m along is the 1st large entrance – do yourself a favour and take it.

If you see a Hindu temple in front of you, you’ve gone into the 2nd entrance – I said the 1st one.

They never advertise, nor do they have a sign. It’s the best kept secret in The North.

This was a stables in days of yore.

Pros:

  • It’s huge – the public area alone covers about 7 or 8 acres. Three large shadehouses and a gigantic outdoor area.
  • I found plants I’ve been after for ages including canna, agapanthus and lilies
  • Enormous variety
  • Many plants are much bigger than anywhere else, but somehow the root ball has been kept to a reasonable size so they’re relatively easy to plant. And whilst they’re double the price, these plants are at least triple the size
  • Lovely old buildings
  • Helpful and knowledgeable English-speaking staff

Keen to show that I’m a local, and not a tourist, I asked them in French how long the nursery had been there, and they told me that they close at 3 every day. I switched back to English. Must take those French lessons.

Cons:

  • It’s huge – give yourself at least an hour to walk around properly, and take an umbrella for shade.

Also get a staff member to walk around with you from the start, or you’ll have to do it all over again in that hot blazing sun without an umbrella. Don’t ask!

  • Nowhere to buy a bottle of water  – take your own

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The Nurseries Pt 2, and Getting Directions

Pepiniere de Labourdonnais

It’s set in the grounds of what was once a chateau.

Pros:

  • Good variety of fruit and nut trees
  • Large variety of other plants
  • A few potted herbs and vegetable seedlings
  • A beautiful jade vine covering a long walkway
  • You learn the names of plants as they’re written on the receipt

Cons:

  • A lot of pots have clover weed and it’s a bugger trying to remove all the bulbs before planting. Haven’t they heard of Roundup?
  • Most staff don’t speak English very well

Espace Maison

This is a large French hardware chain with a small selection of plants.

We will usually pop into the garden section on the way to Labourdonnais – not otherwise.

Pros:

  • Has fertilizers, and bags of soil and compost etc
  • Sells a wide range of glazed pots and other garden accessories (which we don’t buy so I don’t know why I’m including this)

Cons

  • Limited number and varieties of plants – not always healthy
  • Often hard to spot a staff member if you have a question
  • More expensive

Directions

Most streets don’t have street signs, so most people don’t know the name of their own street.

Hell of a job being a postman!

If you want something delivered from a shop, you have to draw a site plan showing the driver how to get there.

When you visit someone for the first time, you’ll follow directions that might go a little bit like this:

“Do you know the Police Station? Well, what about that shop with the dusty windows selling pre-WWII stock? The petrol station? OK, it’s easy then, drive up about 20 metres, turn right, then 2nd left, 4th right, right again, through the roundabout, keep going for, oh I don’t know 50 metres? Something like that. If you reach the mosque you need to turn around because you should have turned left before it. Anyway, our house is the third on the right. No, we don’t have a house number, but it’s the one with the lychee tree. See you tonight!”

Pepiniere Exotica

In Petit Raffray – ask a local for directions when you get there – it’s too hard for me to explain. Although, do you know that furniture shop? It’s up that road.

Pros:

  • Unusual and named varieties of certain plants eg hibiscus
  • Knowledgable and enthusiastic staff

Cons:

  • A bit more expensive than the others

Pepiniere de Grand Baie

Off Chemin Vingt Pieds heading towards Pereybere – marked by a hand-written sign (a piece of ply nailed to a tree) pointing down a dirt track.

If you reach the traffic lights at Oasis, you’ve missed it. Turn around – but there are no signs facing this way, so I don’t know how you’ll find it.

If you’re bad at reversing, park outside.

I once trapped my car between a big pot and a rack of plants. Thank you, Natalie, for getting us out, even if you nearly ran over your mother!

Pros:

  • The girl who always serves us is knowledgeable, asks the other staff if she doesn’t know something, and always has a smile for you. Could be because we always let her keep the change, but I’m sure that’s not it
  • Good range of plants – some unusual
  • Nice atmosphere – if they have the plant I’m after, I’d rather buy it here

Cons:

  • Parking (applies to bad drivers only)

The Nurseries Pt 1, and Port Louis

Port Louis – the Capital of Mauritius

I imagine there are a lot of nurseries in Mauritius. I wouldn’t know. We only buy from those considerate enough to be located in The North.

Just to clarify, if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting our fair isle, everywhere north of Port Louis is The North, and to the south – well, I’m sure you can work it out. And it must be so, because it says so on the road signs.

We also have the east and west coasts although there are no road signs for those, so lower case only for them.

The drive to The South takes you through the traffic-nightmare capital of Port Louis. We try to avoid it whenever possible.

The weird thing is that the motorway just by-passes it – you don’t actually drive into it, but you can be stuck in traffic for ever (well, an hour then, OK?) with horns honking, cursing and other impatient and rude things happening all around you.

But never in our car. Never.

Especially not when I’m driving.

Another weird thing is that the traffic jams seem to only occur when the police have turned off the traffic lights and are directing the traffic themselves. Mmm.

The Nurseries, or, in French, Les Pepinieres

All nurseries in Mauritius have staff that follow you around (and not in that annoying way – as if they suspect you of shoplifting – that they have in a lot of Mauritian shops – shop assistants walk so closely behind you, that if you suddenly stop, bang! Ow!).

Staff at nurseries follow you around so that as you select your plants, they can take them to your car. When you’re done, you go to the office and pay (Labourdonnais), or pay the staff directly.

Prices are low compared to overseas. No one nursery is cheaper than the other, but prices of individual plants vary a lot between them, so if you’re buying a large amount or an expensive plant, it pays to shop around.

They’re listed in the order in which we discovered them. There are others, but we haven’t been to them. See Parts 2 and 3.