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ISSUE 2 (12):

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Sochi, Russia

He turned 24 on May 10th. His grown up life is just beginning. He has finished school and served in the army. Cacti and other succulents are his hobby or even his future profession. His passion started from a gifted Echinopsis, when Denis was eight years old. At twelve he was a "mature" cactus collector (photo 1). What's the most striking, his parents and a sister also became interested in cacti. Though he says, "it's only me who takes care of the plants."

Denis Gil. Photo 1.

There is no local cactus society in a Black Sea resort Sochi, where Denis lives. But there are people who love cacti. And the whole city knows them. They actively participate in the city flower exhibitions. At the first exhibition, Chrysanthemum-2000, the city people and the jury got their hearts set on cacti. (photo 2. Cacti, subpicture: Denis Gil and Svetlana Parfionova). For the next exhibition, The Autumn Anthem, Denis and his father prepared small cacti compositions named The Little Country (photo 3) and The Autumn Caprice (photo 4). They were awarded by a Diploma (photo 5), a sum of money to invest in the future artworks, and a bottle of champagne (which is not opened yet and is still waiting for a good reason).

Photo 3. Small cacti composition named "The Little Country"

Photo 2. "Cacti", fragment.Photo 4. "The Autumn Caprice".

Photo 5.

Exhibitions take place twice a year and every new one demands new compositions and new ideas. At the exhibition, There Comes The Spring! cacti and other succulents were used together with the local plants and flowers. Composition Eden (photo 6) uses cacti and other succulents, A Fairy-Tale Forest (photo 7) uses bonsai, and The Spring Alps (photo 8) contains wild plants. Suburban resorts and local sanatoriums expressed an interest in their works. Some of them ordered compositions to decorate their halls and invited Denis to participate in the shows.

Photo 6. Composition "Eden".

Photo 7. A Fairy-Tale Forest.

Photo 8. The Spring Alps.

New compositions were created, including Mysterious Paths (bonsai), Albert V. Friи's Blessed Memory (cacti) (photo 9), and The Spring Alps.

Photo 9. Albert V. Friи's Blessed Memory.

This is Denis's greenhouse (photo 10), it measures 3.5 by 7 meters. Here are some of his plants:

Photo 10.

Photo 11.

Photo 11 - Mammillaria bocasana f.crist. – Produced from hybrid seeds, two cristates came out of total 302 seeds. Photo 12 - Eriocactus magnificus f. aurea.

Photo 13 - Frailea asterioides (crist) It is 5-7 years old, grown from Denis's own seeds. In the beginning it had no anomalies, bore fruits regularly from May to the end of November. In spring 2001 its apex was badly affected by dry rot, and Denis treated it with the solution of fundazol (a strong fungicide) with 2x concentration. Some time later it sprouted a new cristate branch. It didn't bloom in 2001, but now it has 4 buds. The plant grows on its own roots and hasn't been grafted.

Photo 12. Eriocactus magnificus f. aureaPhoto 13. Frailea asterioides f. cristata

Photo 14, 15 - Mammillaria ssp f. grown from Denis's own seeds.

Photo 14. Mammillaria sp.Photo 15. Mammillaria sp.

    New exhibitions and new compositions are ahead. We wish Denis a Happy Birthday and every success in his artwork.


Cultivar e-magazin: Copyright (c) by Valery Kalishev, Chelyabinsk, Russia, since 2000.
Design and hosting by Peter Lapshin, since 2002. Contacts: Peter Lapshin