The way that my garden has developed into an interesting botanical park is also due to Sir Peter Smithers, to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude.Visiting his garden proved a major turning-point for me: the rich abundance was stunning, and showed up our lack of variety. To put matters right I bought new varieties in America and England, and propagated many of Sir Peter's plants. This gave enormous pleasure and satisfaction. Friendship with other plant-lovers developed later, firing me with enthusiasm and drive. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all.
I started cultivating magnolias by chance. Sir Peter Smithers had an ailing magnolia campbellii "Princess Margaret" in his garden, which he asked me to try and improve using the best available stock. I had some kobus seedlings in my nursery, but these were only thick enough at the neck of the root. I was doubtful, yet, to my astonishment, most of them flourished. One of these specimens was later planted at the Villa Thyssen by Princess Margaret in person.
Sir Peter Smithers encouraged me to improve further varieties, which happened to be much sought-after all over the world. I went about my nurturing without any conscious ambition for world-wide sales. The seemingly impossible became true: I grew to love magnolias, and my joy and interest increased. Today, friends from all over the world send us scion woods for grafting, and there is no shortage of customers for our young plants.
Now, more than 450 varieties of magnolia mother-plants thrive on our slope. Virtually all have adequate room to develop, and some are already over 15 metres tall. It is a wonderful display each year when they are in bloom.
In addition, there are 950 varieties of camelia and some 400 varieties each of azalea, rhododendron, as well as some rare conifers, tree-paeonies, cornus florida-nutalli-kousa varieties, wisterias, and many other plant species covering an area of 17,000 m2.
Paths were laid in 1980, making it possible to visit the gardens in all kinds of weather. The show garden has been open to the public since 1989.
For me, this marks the fulfillment of a dream.
I wish every visitor to my garden much joy and pleasure.