Serious maniac: Vojtech Holubec
Karel Čapek wrote that "The cultivator of a rock garden is not only a gardener, but a collector as well which puts him among the serious maniacs": if the great Czech Author says so in his wonderful book The Gardener's Year which has been in print in multiple editions in a spate of languages since it was first published in 1929, well surely it must be true? I doubt Vojtech would disagree. He APPEARS normal enough above surveying his realm. He lives in a lovely home and his garden is stunningly beautiful. He has a lovely wife (who's also a plant collector and therefore also perhaps suspect), successful grown children and a seemingly normal job (overseeing Germplasm collections for his nation) don't be fooled. He has lost count of his expeditions to Central Asia (is it 8 or 10?), he has come to both North and South America repeatedly, China and Tibet numerous repeatedly and one cannot begin to count his trips to Spain, the Alps, the Balkans or Turkey. And he has brought back samples from all these trips that comprise his garden: most of these plants were not hitherto in cultivation and many are still unique.
A little blemish on the Acantholimon--but most plants in his garden were flawless--an amazing range of plants from dryland Mediterranean to plants of humid Chinese forests.
The main range of his rock garden really does look like a bold mountain range rising out of his lawn!
There were many contrasting touches like this monumental Paeonia rockii against a wall of his house.
|Arisaema thunbergii ssp. urushima|
|Centaurea cf. triumfettii ssp. cana|
|Daphne x hendersoniii|
Perhaps more than anyone I know, the plants in his garden--almost all of which were collected by himself--remind me of the wonderful passage in Jorge Luis' Borges prose poem in "The Aleph and Other Stories":
“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”
Vojtech has co-authored a magnificent book that you should buy if you haven't: there are some ridiculously inexpensive new copies of this for sale on Amazon, (click on the line before to find them)...and he is planning on publishing a new book on the flowers of the Tian Shan mountains of Central Asia in the next year: which I will be sure to promote!
Best of all click here: http://www.holubec.wbs.cz/ and you can see his amazing pictures from some of his travels and access his seedlist!