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Showing posts from December, 2013

Life sucks

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I will get to the bad part eventually. I sometimes think my life could be described as a series of love affairs with various kinds of plants and gardens, and definitely I am a serial killer of books: I find a writer I like (not an easy thing any more) and I quietly munch through their oeuvre. I did this in the past few years with Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin. Some authors are so voluminous that I space them out over decades: John Updike, Robert Graves, Philip Roth, Nadine Gordimer and many more--I read a book or two, and then move on. A few months ago my colleague Mike Kintgen found Grass by Joe Truett on remainder at the Tattered Cover and gave me a copy. By the time I finished the first few chapters I knew I'd found a contemporary classic: Only Robert Michael Pyle among contemporary naturalist/scientists wields  such a wonderful pen. I'll get to the Grass in a bit. Tonight I finally finished Circling Back: I don't think I have ever read anything that cut more …

Pinky and the brain! "Springtime...for cactus...in Germany..."

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I was going to write new lyrics to the wonderful theme song of the musical within a musical in the Producers (everybody's favorite Mel Brooks, no?) but it was just too tacky...but I have something even more tacky to provide the overarching theme here, and that's Pinky and the Brain! I have realized in retrospect that one of the great cartoons of my childhood has resurfaced, so to speak, in Germany...wait and see!

This faded poster on the wall in the headhouse spoke a bit to the history of this venture...it has not come about overnight....I give you the link once again here, if you didn't get it on my last post...I warn you, if you are an American you will be very jealous (many of his plants are not available state side as yet...)











I don't know the history of this incredible form of Cylindropuntia imbricata--but it is one of the really outstanding plants featured by Kakteengarten! And boy, do they grow a lot of them. It appears to be somewhat dwarfer than typica…

Hardy Cactus Heaven....In Bavaria?

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SPOILER alert: here at one of the most amazing cactus nurseries I've ever visited, I will be showing you many things....the cacti however were be mostly in absentia (a few peek in here and there): there was so much ELSE at this nursery, I've decided to show that first! The cacti shall follow....anon....hang in there!

   False alarm: there's a cactus right there!...but please turn your attention to Hans Graf, owner and peddler in chief (and an amazing gentleman altogether). He started and runs Kakteen-Garten, one of several large nurseries in Germany that specialize in hardy cacti. By the way..the above ^ is a hyperlink--click on it and you can get a taste of the amazing offerings (and if you live in Europe you can place an order, you lucky dog!)...

This is actually one of several vehicles that Hans and his family drive all over Germany to sell at all manner of outdoor markets, fairs, plant sales--you name it. As I mentioned, he sells mail order, but also has a goo…