Monday, May 15, 2017

A steppe ahead...the garden of Stanislav Čepička

As we trod up long staircase to the mysterious garden four storeys up from the street, one of my many witty companions pointed out the many "step" plants on the way (I'd spoken on plants of "the Steppes" the night before if you didn't catch the witticism!). Little, of course, did either of us anticipate that Stanislav Čepička's astonishing garden would more than fulfill that promise!

An Aethionema new to me on the "steppes" of Prague

The first glimpse of the garden was impressive--but the longer one walked about it, the more amazing it became: more or less all visible from any point, it nevertheless encompassed an entire world: you could never tire of poking about here, and of course the views over the valley and distant city offer a respite. The garden is mostly basking in sun, with great drainage--so most of the plants contained herein are of the steppes...or adapted to sunny rock work.

I love this picture: the cushions are of course incomparably large acantholimons, but in the background you can see Ger van den Beuken and behind him are Rosemarie and Dieter Zschummel. Ger (from Netherlands) is the leading propagator of Dionysia in the world and a human dynamo, and Dieter (from Germany) is one  of the greatest plant explorers of all time (responsible for introducing many dionysias including his namesake species), not a bad combo if I don't say so myself! Conferences like this bring the greats within reach! Not to mention days and days in which to chat and exchange knowledge and fun...(why weren't you with us? I'm sure you have a good excuse?).

We were a month or two late for the real display of bulbs: there were dozens if not hundreds of juno iris, crocuses galore: you name it all in plump seed (more fritillarias than I've ever seen in one spot)...but there were a few malingerers, like this Allium aff. akaka...

I was quite taken with this Muscari relative...not sure of the name...(I hate to pick up labels in others' gardens--they invariably break!)...

This robustl Iris paradoxa hardly needs commentary!

This remarkable combo struck me so much I photographed it again later...

Just a few minutes later from a different angle and the Anthyllis pops out, along with two Sempervivums I hadn't noticed. Such is the magic of this garden!

I think Stanislav's dog enjoyed the proceedings as much as we did!
A quartet of great plantsmen: Pavel Sekekka of the Pruhonice garden, our host Stanislav in the center, Oron Peri (the great Israeli botanist and gardener) next, and Dieter Zschummel on the right again.

I ought to really end with this poetic shot of Elena Dobrzhanskaya--a truly delightful Russian rock gardener in her element!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I take it that garden has a wetter climate than Denver? And quite the impressive plant, rock garden, and people / conversations to go with all that. Beats county work. Though after someone in *Colorado* called me "disingenuous" by my use of steppe over prairie in the high plains, I'm glad to be at the day job. Sunny but moody *steppe* you are!

  3. Not only are the plants magnificent, the rocks are something to look at. I envy you people that live in rock heaven. The glaciers were stingy with what they left behind or shoved up in the way of rocks around here.

  4. Going through your post actually made me happy. So good to see people planting trees and gardening. Thank you for sharing this post with us.


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