Wednesday, January 27, 2016

For Plant Nerds Only! Muggles KEEP OUT!

We have all had those days when you visit a public garden--the light is diffused, there's just a hint of a breeze and there's no one there. An April day at Savill Gardens, when I had fifty million rare daffodils all to myself (just like Wordsworth's hackneyed poem). Many a visit to Edinburgh or Gothenburg's gems. My March visit to Filoli or any one of a dozen visits to Huntington's desert garden. For those of us in Public Horticulture, these are our Superbowls, our Academy Awards only different: the opportunity to walk by ourselves (or with a beloved companion) in paradise alone.

(To be continued below)

I had one such day on May 10 of 2013 at Würzburg Botanic Garden. There are nearly 200 pictures below to prove it (you will be relieved that BLOGGER nixed quite a number, or it would have been much worse). Maybe the best ones were deleted? I could easily expand the caption under each of these pictures to a page, or maybe more. We would soon rival War and Peace in length--for you see, this is the garden of my dreams I might have concocted had I but world enough and time. But these clever Germans did it for me instead. I was almost in tears after a few hours, and left having seen only half of the botanic garden: how could we ever have a steppe garden at Denver Botanic Gardens? Our meager 25 acres was filled to the brim already...

(To be continued)

But as we speak, massive mounds of soil and monumental rocks are being assembled for YES! A steppe garden. Oddest of all, I was not the one who suggested it, never dreamed it would be in the very center of the Botanic Gardens, and have had little to do with the design. It can never surpass the masterpiece in Würzburg, (how can you surpass perfection?)  but perhaps they can be said one day to be parenthesizing (from opposite hemispheres) the world's North Temperate steppes like poetic book ends.

My caption? I have come to love Germans: they do not seek to make signage brief, pithy and aimed at morons. Much of the thrust of Marketing and Public Relations has been to dumb down pubic discourse that wasn't altogether a Freudian slip)
Just to irk the lurkers, I will add a few captions from time to time...the nice thing about blogs is that they're not set in stone like a published book. You can edit, omit or add. This for example, comes a day after I published this post and several hundred people have looked through (a good many quizzically no doubt, thinking "am I a Plant Muggle? I don't get it?" and the answer is, of course, that if you're thinking that you are indeed a plant muggle and need to just go back and do some internet shopping or look at conventionally pretty gardens, or whatever it is conventional people do. You may call me many names, but conventional is not one of them.

After seeing Asphodeline taurica at Würzburg, I had to have it. I now have two or maybe three--not yet the wonderful stand like this...but one day, just wait!

Oh yes: and one day I must have an Aubrieta wall.

More copious, endless Germanic signage: such a relief! I get so sick of the glitzy, brainless crap you find at so many American botanic gardens: I was at several National Parks this past September, and the signage at each was aimed at Morons: the level of the current slate of Republican Presidential candidates--to compare it to a Grade Level would insult our Public Schools which they've been so busy destroying with "No children left awake", stupid testing and cleansing of little things like Evolution from the curriculum. I have a problem with that party as it stands: I hope you vote in the next election and it better be for the Democrats. IOops...I'm slipping...)


  1. Last line, first paragraph perfect. My jaw dropped on seeing that first photo. Love it, want to make one for myself. In miniature, of course. (PS Got the book already.)

    Gotta go there. This is my idea of heaven if there is one. Maybe I'll have to settle for DBG.

    1. DBG has its own little paradise: there is a purity of vision and an elegance in many Central European botanic gardens missing in much of our's in America. Ours often have pizzazz you don't find much in to enjoy both worlds if you can! I've settled happily with DBG!

  2. Oh sure Panayoti Kelaidis !! Just rub it in !! I was in Wurzburg last summer and did not get to see the garden . I had to choose between this garden and the Munich Rock garden . Maybe next time !!

  3. You could have made it into two posts. We wouldn't have minded. I'm intrigued with the glass enclosure. Was it destined for a bulb display of some sort?

    1. They were installing a display of rare Central Asian irises and bulbs (you can see some in the wheelbarrow)from greenhouses I never had a chance to visit that trip. Where to divide it for two posts? If you knew the backlog I have you wouldn't suggest that!


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