Working in summer: gardener
“The water is there for watering, not for bathing.”
Gardening for Thomas Heller is not only a profession but also a life style. Even when he sees the green spaces between the tram tracks, he thinks about how the grass is doing.
By Svetlana Kerestely
Thomas Heller inherited his enthusiasm for nature from his parents. “Every weekend we were outside, in the mountains, at the lake or in the woods”, recalls the 52-year-old. His father, a pastry chef and hobby gardener, enthusiastically explained to his son herbs, flowers, trees and mushrooms.
At the age of 16, Heller decided to turn his father’s passion into his own profession and began an apprenticeship at a company selling potted plants and cut flowers. Later he moved to the Botanical Garden Munich-Nymphenburg. Even after thirty years working there, Heller is still fascinated every day by the diversity of the green world: “It is unbelievably interesting how different, how fine, how delicate plants can be”, he says.
An important characteristic of a gardener is patience. “Plants grows as they want to and not as we would like them to”, says Heller. “Often it’s only 10 centimeters a year.” That would not be so bad if you always knew this right from the start so that you could take care of the right kind. The problem is that the plants can cross with each other. The seeds look identical.
After sowing, sometimes it takes up to seven years until the plant flowers for the first time and can at last be determined. "Imagine you take care of a small tree over several years. But then it turns out that it’s is not the kind you were hoping for. That’s very laborious”, says Heller.