The sequence of events , part 2


Age of 15 I became a member of the German Cacti Association and now I was cin the “milieu” entirely.

The next step was the membership in the local branch of Mühldorf.
At the beginning of my education as a gardener in a nursery that was specialised in ornamental plants and vegetables, a totally new possibility of cultivation was opened to me because I was allowed to claim a corner of one the greenhouses with my plants.
Very quick I had to state, that the actually abundant area was not huge enough and so I had to pick out.
Unfortunately I always liked large grown sorts like column cacti of the unusual sorts and Ferocactus, but also the more uncomplicated genus like Lobivia, Echinocereus, Thelocactus and so on and last but not least the always plentiful present Opuntioideae.

Dependent on my vocational training there were set certain limits concerning my observations and first after the succesful finishing of my education I could point my whole attention on my passion.

In 1987 I established the ring-letter “Tephrocactus” together with Hans-Peter Thomas and some other friends of the Opuntioideae and so we could exchange exciting experiences and plants.
Per advertisements and friend I acquainted lots of cacti lovers all over the world who shared my enthusiasm and so I could acquire me wide knowledge during the years.

When I was 18, I had gathered a wonderful collection and I had reached a kind of “peak” but already in the following winter 88/89 the tranquility was destroyed suddenly.
In January, aftre some days with strange frost,  I had to state that the heating was out of order.
Unfortunately I noticed it too late.
Many plants, especially the sensitive to cold sorts of Arrojadoa, Arthrocereus and Brasiliopuntia, showed great damages, various plants died months later.
I was completely devastated and wanted to give up everything, because I did not know where to store my plants.
A good friend and at the same time kind of “master of an apprentice” concerning cacti, Albert Plapp, suggested me, to bring my whole collection to his cellar 80 km away and to wait, what will happen.
Said and done ! We drove with a hatchback to the nursery and had a lot to do, because some of the cacti had already more than 50 kg !!
In the following springtime I finally decided after a long reflecting, to disband my collection, except the Opuntioideae, what I regretted bitterly post factum.
I separated from diverse and rare hybrids, many blooming Ferocacti, Echinocerei and so on.
But I was consistent. After I had moved in the old home again, I placed the pitiful rest of about 150 plants on the former place.
However I could concentrate very good on this group of plants and had a very good success.
Only two years later the area was filled up completely again.
After some differences with my former boss, I could change to another nursery and was allowed to build my own greenhouse on the new firm-area.
At that time I was 23 years old.
A small greenhouse and a foil-tunnel with about 20 m2 followed.
Currently I am busy with a stocktaking of my collection and I am very curious how many plants already have found “asylum” in my greenhouses. The edge of 1000 plants I already overstepped a long time ago.

You want to know, why I wrote the book “Tephrocactus und andere Feigenkakteen” ?
Well, it started with my first reflex camera, a “Praktika”, that I bought used extremely inexpensive.
I photographed everything that looked like a cactus. The Opuntioideae were cataloged from the very beginning and described in detail when they had reached the blooming-age.
I bought myself an orderer that became thicker and thicker during the years.
Actually I have never been seen on events or by cacti friends without my orderer.
One day several lucky circumstances gathered and I acquainted the layouter of my book, Mr Pöschel.
The making of the book was very amusing and together with his wife, Gerti Pöschel, we join a really great friendship and we still are in contact.
My former orderer, that was much too thick in the meantime, was from the very beginning the base for the book and I hope, that the work and the observations for several years have produced good results.

This shall not mean that I am adeep rooted specialist who rejects all other genus.
No, it’s quite the opposite ! Every year I sow a few hundred of sorts of all genus that I offer for exchange or sale, but I always keep two plants of each sort for myself.

I just can’t let it be !!

Nevertheless the Opuntioideae will always stand in front.....  


Michael Kießling


© 2000 by [ Michael Kießling]
Stand: 28. January 2008 11:11:01