Sunday, January 20, 2008

John Clare

One of my great favorites. To my grief, I could not take a photo of it that would really display how beautiful it is in the life. Its flower has a very rare warm pink tone. Its bush is compact and upstanding, thus it can be well planted together with perennials. It blooms continuously, and just today I saw that it produces cute little hips in winter.

class: English rose (David Austin 1994)
height: 90-150 cm - At us usually around 90-120, with no hard pruning.
width: 75-150 cm - At us it is rather around 90 cm.
American hardiness zone: Z5 (down to -29 ºC)
bloom: repeated - At us practically blooms continuously.

Jayne Austin

My absolute favorite. If I only could keep one single English rose, this would be it. Its apricot-colored flower is beautiful, large and full, with an incredibly strong fragrance. It blooms from early summer until late autumn, and it is unimaginably hardy. Some years after its first plantation I had to replant it, because the walnut-tree grew above it. By ignorance I planted it to a place with sandy soil and in addition with half-shadow. This rose not only survived it, but it is completely beautiful. In this autumn, as this latter place became shady as well, finally I replanted it to a proper, sunny place. I hope very much that everything will be all right with it.

class: English rose (David Austin 1990)
height: 90-215 cm - At us it is usually around 150 cm, with a strong pruning.
width: 90-105 cm - At us rather 120-150 cm.
American hardiness zone: Z5 (down to -29 ºC)
bloom: repeated - At us it virtually blooms continuously.


One of the first roses by David Austin, and I think one of the best and most popular among them. This picture shows it in the company of an aster blooming from mid-summer until late autumn (Aster frikartii 'Mönch').

class: English rose (David Austin 1984)
height: 120-130 cm - At us, even with a strong pruning, at least 150 cm.
width: 120 cm
American hardiness zone: Z5 (down to -29 ºC)
bloom: repeated. - At us it practically blooms continuously.

Heather Austin

A completely fine and poetic rose that received its name after the sister of David Austin.

class: English rose (David Austin 1997)
height: 90-185 cm - At us usually between 120-150 cm.
width: 75-150 cm - At us usually around 90-120 cm.
American hardiness zone: Z5 (down to -29 ºC)
bloom: repeated

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beth Chatto Gardens

The garden of Beth Chatto is among the most famous gardens of Great Britain.

Beth Chatto GardensShe started to build it in the 1960’s with his husband Andrew Chatto in a section of their orchard where the bad conditions did not allow any agricultural activity. However, Andrew Chatto was an enthusiastic follower of the German horticultural movement led by Karl Foerster that strived after shaping gardens the closest possible to nature. Based on a very thorough knowledge of the needs and faculties of plants, they created associations of plants that proved viable in the given environment.

Beth Chatto GardensBesides, Chatto paid much attention to the forms of growth of plants and to the colors and textures of leaves, and based his harmonious compositions on their contrasts. The result is just fascinating. The plants that grow in habitats suitable to their own needs are vigorous and require few care. The compositions are so refined that one can never get tired of watching them. The garden is marvelous all around the year.

Beth Chatto GardensI was there in May 2005, in a period that is not really interesting from horticultural point of view – but it was touchingly beautiful. And not only to me. As a psychologist, I was particularly happy to see how much this garden soothed the visitors and how much it lifted up their hearts. In 2005 I realized the great transformation of our own garden on the basis of the lessons learned there. The results are already visible. Even in very hard places I managed to create associations that are easy to care and are beautiful all around the year.

Beth Chatto GardensOn Hortus Carmeli you can see eighty more photos on the garden of Beth Chatto.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Clematis Sociology 2. Uno Kivistik, Estonia; Mihail Ivanovich Orlov, Ukraine

I continue.

Raymond J. Evison, one of the most renowned clematis breeders. This picture was shot on the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show. (Accidentally, I was also there.) The background is therefore just as kitschy as it can be expected. You should disregard it. (By the way Evison has beautiful plants. By that time he had already created his series ‘The Prairie,’ composed of four ethereal Clematis integrifolia.) This is how one imagines a world famous flower breeder.

And by no means like this. This picture below represents Uno and Aili Kivistik in 1992, when the International Clematis Society visited their farm.

Uno Kivistik was born in 1932 in Estonia, in a medium landowner family who run their farm renownedly well. After the Soviet occupation, in 1949 they, just like everyone else, were deprived of their estates which were turned into Soviet-type kolkhozes. Due to ignorance, inresponsability and conscious destruction, the kolkhozes in a few years destroyed the values accumulated in the course of several generations. The former peasants in a large number undertook even the most inhuman works in the cities – as a result of forced Socialist industrialization, there was plenty of such work – just in order to escape from the village. Uno Kivistik stayed at home, and after work – I cannot say that in his free time, for such a thing was only known to the neo-proletariat collected in the concrete housing projects of the cities and deprived of all their roots and traditions, while everyone else just started a “second shift” after work – he experimented with flower breeding in their garden. In such circumstances he achieved such results that even several complete institutions in more fortunate places cannot boast with. His name is connected with more than twenty new apple breeds and fifty rose hybrids. In 1974 he started clematis breeding together with his wife Aili. They wanted to produce plants that give a safe and rich crop even in the cold Estonian climate. As a result, they have created more than 140 such clematis hybrids. In 1990, when the country achieved its independence from the Soviet Union, they regained their estates. There they established the Roogoja Farm which is active even today. Uno Kivistik died in 1998, at the age of sixty-six.

I know well the faces like his one, too. These faces completely miss those signs of well-being, safety and consciousness that make immediately recognizable the face of a Western intellectual. On the contrary, they are marked by those signs of poverty, lack of safety and oppression that in the West can be only discovered on the faces of the poorest classes.

In the Soviet Union a considerable part of intellectuals had such a face. I will never forget the commotion and bewilderment that I felt when I saw this at the first time. At the end of the seventies I met a group of highly qualified intellectuals who were guided in Budapest by a friend of mine. The face of these people missed all those traces of education that were customary at us, while they were strongly marked by intimidation, poverty and humiliation.

This face of the Soviet intellectuals, thanks to God, did not exist to the west of the Soviet border. However, they had another face as well which was also typical at us.

Mihail Ivanovich Orlov. This face was my childhood. This picture could have been equally that of a village butcher (albeit with an obligatory small moustache – however, I guess that the twenties in the Soviet Union were not survivable with such a moustache) or of a little town shoemaker, of the president of the local industrial co-operative or of the chief accountant of the Red Star Kolkhoz, of the director of the town’s secondary school, of the leader of the district library, or of Dr. X., candidate in historical studies.

Mihail Ivanovich was born in 1918. He graduated at the Academy of Forestry in Leningrad, and obtained his doctoral degree in 1963. He worked in the Central Botanic Garden of Kiev on the breeding of clematis cultivars resistant to wilt. His name is connected with more than forty scientific publications and the same number of clematis hybrids. He died in 2000.

Shortly before going to pension he was visited in the Botanic Garden of Kiev by an Estonian colleague to whom he gave the clematis on this picture which was bred by him. The colleague successfully propagated the plant at home, and when Orlov returned his visit they agreed that it would bear the name of Kiev. And so it happened. Since then Kiev has become the star plant of the most exclusive Western nurseries.

The face and the clematis do not match. It is possible that the face was only a mask. And it is also possible that the faces of all the other people were masks as well. That in spite of every appearance, all the others too kept such a flower hidden in their garden or in their heart. And that they wore that mask in order the barbarians and scoundrels in power for the moment would not trample their flower underfoot.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Clematis Sociology 1. Stefan Franczak S.J., Poland

In memoriam László Lukács S.J.

Today I finally made my order of clematis. An order like this is always preceded by a huge work. As the plants I order usually can be seen live the nearest five hundred kilometers to here, I try to get to establish via internet how they might look in the reality. The data of the same plant are often surprisingly different on the pages of different nurseries, thus one has to work usually quite much to have a realistic image.

Search and you shall find. Although not necessarily what you were looking for. In the eighties, on a traineeship in a small village in Western Hungary as an undergraduate of sociology I and a friend received the task to find out what and how was produced there at the beginning of the forties. The people we questioned started to count back, that before the war... but before which war... when the militiamen came... or when Anti was taken away... or else... And then they started to tell us about the militiamen and about who and how took away Anti and the rest. We never got to know what had been produced there, but in two days we knew everything about the past decades.

Later I made a lot of other interviews as well, and I experienced that at this part of the world any question you put, within five minutes you’ll be at the point of before which war... or when he was taken away...

I’m browsing among the clematis. One is more beautiful than the other.

After a while I discover that the most beautiful ones usually come from Poland, Estonia or Ukraine. And then I find the breeders as well.

Stefan Franczak S. J. from Poland.

How well I know this kind of face. This is the face of my Communist grandfather who, while we lived crowded in seven in a tiny flat of one room and one kitchen, refused the building land offered to him for an extremely low price, saying that “a Communist owns no land.”

The face of our neighbor Uncle Jani who, with his foot smashed to pieces at the Don river (of the two hundred thousand men sent there well if a tenth came back) even at the age of ninety cultivated their one hectare large garden in a way that there was not a single weed left in it.

The face of Lukács. In the Jesuit convent of Rome he galloped ahead on the long corridor like a big kangaroo, while I was following him at a brisk pace like a little rabbit to the lift, to go up to the fathers’ cafeteria on the fifth floor where he provided me and Tamás with coffee as a reward for the good job done in the library on that day. The Jesuit fathers – who either never knew or in the Roman comfort already forgot what was poverty like, that there is such a thing that one does not have money either for a coffee – did not cease to murmur. Lukács, however, was unperturbed. He was a conscious Socialist. Before the war — which one... the one in which the foot of Uncle Jani was smashed — his duty was to minister the small ranches on the plain around Szeged. He did know what poverty was.

After the war, at the command of his superiors, he escaped over the border. He was placed in the Historical Institute of the Jesuit order in Rome. In the morning he sat at his table, and there he worked until late night – apart from prayer and some afternoon nap he got accustomed to in Rome. Each day. For fifty years. He did not walk around in the city, he lived no social life. Although he could have done so. Others did so. He, however, only wanted to serve God by keeping alive the memory of the ancient Hungarian Jesuits. He collected every data about each Hungarian Jesuit from the 1500’s on. His results published in book mounted up to almost one running meter.

Then the times changed in Hungary, he was awarded several prizes, they wanted to make an idol out of him. But he was not touched by this. Before we left, we went up to his room. I was shocked to see the poverty in which he lived. A bed, a chair, a table with a computer on it – above eighty he learned how to use it, because with the help of it he could work quicker, on the greater glory of God –, a bookshelf and nothing else. By some miracle he nevertheless found a little medal so that he could give me a gift.

Before his death he came back home to Budapest for a short visit. He still could come out to see us in the garden.

Stefan Franczak is an internationally renowned clematis breeder. His name is connected with more than eighty breeds of clematis, many of which are awarded with international prizes. He published in several American, Canadian, British and Swiss reviews, and since the eighties there is no textbook that would not mention his work.

He was born in 1917. After studying and then teaching in various schools of agriculture, in 1948 he entered the Jesuit order as a simple helping brother. In Warsaw he was entrusted with the care of the one and half hectares large garden of the Jesuit college. As in the fifties the Communists preferred to expropriate the estates of the church upon the pretext of turning them for communitarian purposes, the Jesuits, in order to prevent this, converted their vegetable garden in a park and opened it to the public. This task was entrusted to him, too.

In a very short time he created an extensive ornamental garden composed of more than nine hundred plants, mostly breeds of clematis, iris and daylilies. Soon the whole country came to admire it, and specialists from all the world regularly made pilgrimage to it.

This picture, displaying a detail from the garden as it was in the seventies, could be published even today in any English garden review. But what it meant at that time is only understood by those who remember that, when crossing the border eastward, immediately everything was filthy, ugly, colorless and abandoned – deliberately and on purpose. The beauty of this garden, created in the middle of state-supported destruction, was a constant protest against the barbarism of the regime.

But barbarians are everywhere. With the change of regime the Jesuits received permission to build a new church, and by 1996 they erected one, by thus reducing their garden to a third of its size. And this was not enough. In 2003 the rector of the Jesuit college decided to transfer the 86 years old Brother Stefan to another convent and to liquidate the garden, the result of the whole life of an internationally renowned flower breeder. He received more than sixty protest letters from all over the world. They did not count much. Albeit he has not transfered the old Jesuit, nevertheless by remaining there, he has to observe while the rector continuously and systematically destroys the rest of his garden.

Saint Teresa of Avila in 1572 or 1573 made the pledge below in a playful form, but with a very serious content. She presumably made it to the benefit of Jerónimo Gracián, who at that time accomplished his novitiate in Pastrana. After the death of Teresa and John of the Cross this very talented and devout priest was the only one who faithfully represented Teresa’s line of direction. And within some years those very superiors mentioned by Teresa below expelled him from the order, by employing even the most disgusting means. I do not know where these people are now, although we know the circumstances of the death of the biggest scoundrel – the superior general of the order of that time –, and those do not promise anything good. The canonization of Gracián, however, was recently begun by the Church. And Teresa already a long time ago stepped over to there where there are no barbarians and no scoundrels, where there is no pain and no destruction. And I think that by this her pledge too has turned timeless.

“Teresa de Jesús dice que da a cualquier cavallero de la Virgen que hiciere un acto solo cada día muy determinado a sufrir toda su vida un perlado muy necio y vicioso y comedor y mal acondicionado, el día que le hiciere la da la mitad de lo que mereciere aquel día, ansí en la comunión como en hartos dolores, que trai; en fin, en todo, que será harto poco, ha de considerar la humildad con que estuvo el Señor delante de los jueces y cómo fue obediente hasta muerte de cruz.”

(“Teresa of Jesus makes the pledge that to any knight of the Virgin who each day renews his intention to suffer throughout his whole life the power of a wicked, stupid, voracious and rude prelate, I hand over half of what I have merited on that day either in the community with God or in the hard sufferances taken by me. And in all this he has to consider that humility with which the Lord stood in front of his judges and how He was obedient until His death on the cross.”)