|Klaus Werner, Gartenmeister of Darmstadt Botanical Garden, photographing Echinocereus in bloom|
I was told by no less authority than Dr. Stefan Schneckenburger that there are over 100 botanic gardens in Germany. Dr. Schneckenburger is the director of Darmstadt Botanical Garden (who also happens to be the current head of the All German Botanic Garden union). Although up to now I have only sampled a dozen or so Central European botanic gardens, it is apparent to me that the quality of their collections, the maintenance of these collections is of a standard unimaginable in most of the rest of the world. Darmstadt botanical garden is relatively small by European Standards--but a jewel nonetheless. It would take pride of place in any city inside or especially outside Germany.
In this blog I will be featuring just a few pictures in and around the greenhouse complex. I will show a small portion of the outside gardens in another blog: although relatively compact at a dozen or so acres, the garden is jam packed with plants--many unique, and with delightful garden design. It would take a small book to do it justice. I came here at the behest of Gartenmeister Klaus Werner--who coordinates operations in the flashy new greenhouse complex, concentrating on Succulent collections and the hardy succulent garden. He managed a perennial nursery in a previous career, and is an inveterate traveler around the world (we met in Colorado last year and struck an immediate friendship): he is a wonderful host and an extraordinary plantsman, as the next few pictures will attest--a tiny fraction of his extensive greenhouse realm.
|Mammilaria section in full bloom|
|One of many choice Mammilaria sp.|
|Uncarina grandidieri from Madagascar in wonderful bloom|
One of their rarest specimens is this Dioon caputoi from near Puebla, Mexico where only a few hundred plants persist. This one was collected over a hundred years ago by Purpus, and has been maintained here ever since (a testament to the care of botanical gardens)...The two links in this paragraph can lead to a lot more information about this plant--considering there are many thousands of plants in this collection, imagine that each has a similar story...perhaps not quite so dramatic.
|Hardy succulent garden at Darmstadt|
A splendid clump of Ferocactus glaucescens...which looks as good as it would in nature. (Maybe better!0
There is even creative staging UNDERNEATH benches--here a wonderful begonia sucking up the Lebensraum where weeds might grow....(notice my clever use of German?...)
One of the benches loaded with slipper orchids in the Orchid greenhouses....
|Corps de Ballet of Ant Plants on a bough with moss|
|A section of cold frames dedicated to challenging alpines like Dionysia|