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In the garden with: Dieter Gaißmayer (German perennial gardener)

Dieter Gaißmayer – Photo: gaissmayer.de

Dieter Gaißmayer is a perennial gardener with heart and soul. He has been running a market garden for 38 years in the small city of Illertissen in Bavaria, which is well-known nationwide. In 2017, the company was awarded the German Horticultural Innovation Prize in the category “Plants”. The jury’s decision was based on the extensive overall assortment of perennials, which contributes towards the preservation of a multitude of selected species and varieties.

Perennial garden in Illertissen, Bavaria – Photo: gaissmayer.de

Mr Gaißmayer, congratulations on receiving the Innovation Prize 2017. What does this distinction mean to you?

Gaißmayer: We were of course delighted to win the award. It is always lovely when tribute is paid to one’s own work. But our perennial market garden really is something special. We have been running it for almost 40 years now and always tread our own path. In doing so we always take into consideration what we can improve. For example, in terms of perennials we were one of the first nurseries to implement organic cultivation methods and we began selling our plants online at an early stage too. Today, we dispatch around 30,000 packages a year. In this connection we have been using scented biosphere hay as protective and filling material for some time already. It is environmentally-friendly and can be composted by the customers in the garden or used as bedding. Customer relations are indeed very important to us. The jury of the Innovation Prize particularly accentuated this and on explaining their decision pointed out the fact that we actively pass on the information about the organic cultivation, reproduction and implementation of perennials to hobby gardeners and professionals. We offer events, seminars or lectures on this theme.

Perennial garden in Illertissen, Bavaria – Photo: gaissmayer.de

But you also pass on your knowledge in printed form. Your new book „Alte Staudenschätze” (Old perennial treasures) has just been published. Why should garden owners occupy themselves with the old species and varieties?

Gaißmayer: The topic of historical perennials is a matter close to my heart and it is also a main focus in our nursery. Many of the old varieties are neglected today. I don’t actually understand the reasons for this because they have already established themselves for 100 years or even longer and are simply beautiful. Types of roses, fruit or vegetables are currently very popular among our garden friends. Many of the old decorative and crop plants are being cultivated and reproduced more frequently today and thus preserved. Historical perennials on the other hand have hardly played a role in private gardens up until now. I hope that the book, which I wrote together with the garden journalist, Frank M. von Berger, will change this somewhat.

Does a gardener like yourself actually also have a private garden?

Gaißmayer: Yes, we have a garden too. But it is rather small. For my wife and I, our so-called mother plant or show area – the centerpiece of the market garden – is more important. Our reproduction material not only grows on the extensive grounds, they fulfil further functions too: Here our visitors can see the perennials in their natural growth conditions. They see how they blossom and how big they grow and can decide whether they like the plants and whether they are appropriate for their own plot. However, there are also perennials in the mother plant area that are not currently included in or reproduced for our assortment – including many historical species and varieties – which we are simply preserving instead. Some of them will no doubt come back into fashion again at some time. When the consumers’ tastes change or certain characteristics are suddenly in demand. Today, for instance, many garden owners are paying attention to the fact that the plants are insect-friendly. This topic didn’t play a role for most people a few years ago.

 

Further information: gaissmayer.de

Alte Staudenschätze (Old perennial treasures) – Photo: Ulmer

 

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