Friedrich Adolph Haage - the first Kakteen-Haage
Apprenticeship years: The queen of the night at the Saxon court
When Friedrich Adolph Haage was born in 1796 as son of Johann Nikolaus Haage and Katharine Barbara Nehrlich, the family had been gardening in Erfurt for more than one hundred years.
The young Friedrich Adolph received his training at the Dresden court with the famous royal court gardener Johann Heinrich Seidel. King Friedrich August I "the benevolent", King of Saxony and Poland had a penchant for plants and his pleasure gardens.
From this time the first connection of the Haage dynasty to cacti is documented: The young Friedrich Adolph takes care of the royal cactus collection at the Hofgärtnerei.
The Court Gardener's Office is responsible for the lavish design of the Kings garden festivals and for providing them with attractions. When the king wishes the "Queen of the Night" (Selenicereus grandiflorus) to flower at coming festival, Heinrich Seidel is faced with a challenge. The plant had suffered frost damage last year and looks miserable. But Friedrich Adolph Haage succeeds, which hardly anyone had expected: just in time for the garden festival, the Dresden "queen" has recovered thanks to his care and is in full bloom. Even today this would still be a masterpiece: the event, in 1814 goes down as a side note in the annals of the Dresden court.
Return to Erfurt
After successful years of travel Friedrich Adolph returns to his hometown Erfurt. He has a valuable cutting of the "Queen of the Night" in his luggage. This the
king the royal Head gardener had left to him in thanks.
Haage founds a small nursery. Despite initial setbacks, the company soon developed into a major horticultural company.
Friedrich Adolph Haage is apparently not only an excellent cultivator, but also a skilled merchant. He has a fine sense for promising innovations. Its business is one of the first German retail nurseries to advertise in newspapers. Already in 1824, two years after the foundation of the company, the first mailing list of the Haage nursery is published, which makes our company one of the co-founders of the mail order business in Germany.
Friedrich Adolph's passion: cacti
Friedrich Adolph Haage also assumes responsibility in public life. He becomes co-founder of the Erfurt Horticultural Association and is later appointed its honorary director for his special merits. After his death in September 1866, the "Erfurter Verschönerungsverein" erected a monument in the Steigerwald to honour these merits.
Under his leadership, cacti are initially a small but highly innovative part of the nursery's range, but Friedrich Adolph Haage's passion belongs to them. Within a very short time he has built up one of the most extensive collections and has become one of the leading connoisseurs of this culture.
Visitors to the nursery interested in cacti during these years include Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Franz Liszt and Alexander von Humboldt.
Friedrich Adolph's son Gustav Ferdinand Haage takes over the company and faces great challenges.