Friday, December 27, 2013

Hardy Cactus Heaven....In Bavaria?

 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!

Hans Graf--owner of this amazing nursery

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!)...

Proprietor's vehicle (and my reflection too btw)
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 good traffic at his actual garden center site where many of these pictures were taken (he has greenhouses there, but many more at other sites near Oettingen, where he is headquartered.)...It's good to be the king of hardy cactus in Germany!

Delosperma seanhoganii

I believe that's the name it was recently christened--and an appropriate name too. What a wonderful delo! Alas, not the easiest to grow in the garden...
Delosperma sean-hoganii
Altrhough Hans obviously has no trouble growing it in pots as you can see!

Delosperma 'Gold Nugget'
There is something terribly gratifying about seeing a plant you've helped popularize growing in these kinds of numbers. And this is one of the very best!

Delosperma 'White Nugget'
In the USA, Hans would get a cease and desist: this is a patented plant here in America! But the rules don't extend across the pond...Little known fact: I wrote up the legal papers for 'White Nugget' (so does that make me its Godfather?)...

Delosperma 'Garnet'

Don't bother squinting: there's a different name on the label: these lovely morsels--bred by a Japanese breeder who lives in Peru for a Dutch company targeting American gardeners--are delightful, if a tad miffy. This is my favorite (which bloomed in my garden all summer--it likes me).

Delosperma 'Jewel of the Desert'

'Perfect Orange' now also goes by a different name as well. I don't think it's quite that perfect an orange, however. A rather nice tint nevertheless!

Arenaria alfacarensis by any other name
Spain boasts an amazing number of cushion sandworts: this one is apparently synonymous with our better known name. I rather like Arenaria lithops! And to think fourteen years ago I was only a mile or two from where this grew--and had to turn back (traveling with lightweights)..

Veronica repens
Not sure I buy this name: would love to have bought a plant or two however! Hans grows a lot of wonderful alpines, and has some extensive areas where he grows them in the ground as well--and mind you cactus is his real business!


Penstemon uintahensis

One of the rarest and choicest penstemons, which I've only seen once in the wild on Leidy Peak when I nearly froze myself and whole family. Another story, another time... it was a thrill to see this (he had quite a few of them in pots, actually)...

Ponciris trifoliata

He had a much larger specimen growing at his wonderful home--and we saw some monsters at Frankfurt Botanic Garden--a wonderful plant this. I believe it's the cultivar 'Flying Dragon'...
Lots of succulents!

Succulents are so cool! Glad they've become so fashionable...

Orostachys spinosa

His "run of the mill" O. spinosa doesn't quite match up with what we grow here, I don't think. I must get some of those to compare.

Orostachyhs spinosa (red tinged!)
Hans did give me a big clump of this red-flushed Orostachys--which is to DIE for...and it arrived in the US as pink mush. I can't wait to get this one again--what a gorgeous plant! I feel sorry for those who don't experience plant lust. BTW, please ignore the cactus in the lower right...not time yet.

Sempervivums galore: At least once a hear some idiotic person says to me "I don't like hens and chicks" (gag me)

A few cute Tschotchkies to the good...
There is a law somewhere saying that all gardens featuring succulents must have at least one corny tschotschky--and Kakteen is no exception here (nor is my garden for that matter...) 
Acantholimons warm the cockles of me heart: any garden containing even one is automatically upgraded!

More cushions!

I believe this is the wonderful fescue (Festuca scoparia) from the alps (Pic Carlit?). I love it!

Planted areas in the Garden Center portion

Glimpse across part of the Garden Center

Little demonstrations areas and planted beds dot the nursery--some serving for stock plants as well as display--and little stands to show off the smaller things. You could spend hours here...(In fact. We did)...

Yes, there is even 'Angelina'
Is there a succulent enthusiast anywhere in the temperate world who doesn't have 'Angelina' yet?

Sales beds in garden center portion
More displays and plants to buy (or else drool over in my case)...

More demo/stock beds

These would sell like hotcakes at Denver Botanic Gardens mother's day sale!

Don't examine these too carefully--since they do contain (cacti) which we are excluding from this discussion...

All these pix represent a visit last May to Oettingen and the wonderful hospitality we experienced there. Our trip to Germany will be one of the horticultural highlights of not just this year, but my life. I yearn to get back and see more of those gardens! More nurseries: half the size of Texas, Germany boasts over 100 major botanic gardens, each with unique designs and each having many spectacular and superior collections of plants. Quite simply, it's Heaven for a plant nerd like me!


  1. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your visit in Kakteengarten!
    It is sad, I've never done it!
    Never heard about Delosperma seanhoganii (Google also!) It is mostly cultivated as Del. alpina, but that's wrong. I listed it as Del. davyi - also wrong?
    Koichiro Nishikawa's Delospermas of the "Jewel of Desert" Series are often wrong named. A big nursery for gardencenters sold it under own name, in Europa:
    "Eye Candy" is 'Ruby'
    "Pink Ribbon" is 'Topaz'...

  2. I just realized I never responded to your note: I'm responsible for most of the misnomers regarding the Delos introduced up to about ten years ago. The "correct" name for the erstwhile D. "alpina" (which should of course be D. "alpinum") was recently named Delosperma Seanii-Hogani in the attached publication: it's towards the end. I will be intrigued to see if it will "stick"...


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