For my second report from Clematis 2000, the recent meeting of the International Clematis Society in Dresden, Germany, in July 2000, I turn my attention to the pre-meeting visit to Warsaw, Poland. Follow these links for the other reports on the Dresden conference, the Bayrische Landesanstalt (LWG) institute in Würzburg and my final round-up report.
Organised by Szczepan Marczynski, just over 20 members enjoyed a memorable few days in Poland. For most of us this was our for visit to this country and we were all struck by the beauty of the city and friendliness and helpfulness of the people.
The reconstruction of the old centre of Warsaw is really quite amazing. It's hard to believe virtually all of the buildings were piles of rubble only a few decades ago. We were fortunate to arrive in the middle of a cultural festival and the main city square was crowded with people, watching a succession of dancers on a stage.
The Old Town was rebuilt in the old style from original plans with such an eye for detail that it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the centre is the Market Square, bustling with people and stalls on the day we arrived. It is surrounded with small narrow quaint streets leading out to the boundary Town Walls, largely intact (or is it skillfully rebuilt?), beyond which are the slightly more recent suburbs. A beautiful city and one which deserved somewhat longer than we were able to give it, at least on this visit!
One of the highlights for those of us who did make the journey to Poland, and I mustn't forget our Estonian friends who drove over 600 miles all the way from Tallin to join us, was a tour of the garden of Brother Stefan Franczak, given by himself. Unfortunately the unusual weather conditions of this year meant that a number of his own hybrids were past their prime. However there will always be something to interest clematis lovers in such a garden and for me it was the magnificent displays of Blekitny Aniol, more commonly referred to as Blue Angel. It was featured in last years journal, "Clematis International 2000" and is shown to your left with Brother Stefan.
Brother Stefan had brought out one of his newer hybrids for us to admire, C. 'Marcelina', seen here to your right. And his Clematis 'Kardynal Wyszynski' was featured in this month's Clematis of the Month by Brewster Rogerson. (To view this, click here to go to Previous Clematis of the Month and look within the Early Large Flowered section for 'Kardynal Wyszynski').
All in all a most memorable visit, meeting such a humble figure who's done so much in the cause of clematis.
The other highlight of these few days has to be the visit to the Nursery of Szczepan Marczynski, a few kilometres outside of Warsaw. This is a wholesale nursery, selling to trade rather than the general public. The first thing that strikes you about his nursery is the organization, tidiness and cleanliness. Towards the back of the nursery were row upon row of clematis, and not a weed in sight. It was also interesting to see the level of automation being used within the greenhouses, essential to maintaining plant health and quality when producing clematis on this scale.
To demonstrate the use of some of the varieties he has available, Szczepan has an extensive display garden in which we spent quite a long time, admiring the skillful way he has intermingled clematis with other garden plants. It really showed just how flexible the clematis genus can be. To the left you can see C. 'Emilia Plater' growing through a low conifer bush. The contrast of colour against the conifer foliage was most striking.
To the right is C. 'Westerplatte'. I show this here not only because it gives a bold and vibrant bloom but also since it's one of the lesser known hybrids outside of Poland, though one or two nurseries are beginning to stock it.
I will end this second report with a group shot, taken at Szczepan's nursery. For my third report I'll be going back to Germany, but this time to Veitshöchheim, a few kilometres outside of Würzburg and the home of Klaus Körber's Bayrische Landesanstalt.
Follow these links for the other reports on the Dresden conference, the Bayrische Landesanstalt (LWG) institute in Würzburg and my final round-up report.
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