Harold Greer, Eugene, OR
Photo by Harold Greer
This hybrid by Halfdan Lem was never registered and there is considerable confusion as to what he intended the name to be. The story goes that he named two plants out of his cross of 'Fabia' x
(or it may be the reverse cross of this) after the storybook characters, Hansel and Gretel. The problem arose in that he pronounced and spelled Gretel after his Norwegian background as Gretsel or Gretzel. It apparently was also known as Gretchen. Are you confused? I am! Supposedly, Gretsel, the girl, had a skirt or in Halfdan's own words, a "Too-da-loo" or what we less imaginative Americans would call a calyx. Hansel, the boy had no skirt. I am afraid, however, that like many of Lem's hybrids, confusion has entered the picture. I have seen plants that were called Hansel that had a "skirt" and plants of Gretsel that did not have a "skirt". Now are you really confused? If not, you should be.
The Gretsel pictured grows to be a plant about three feet tall in ten years and has somewhat glossy foliage with a good coat of indumentum. It tends to have a most interesting two-toned effect to the flower, changing as it goes through different stages. The plant is relatively compact and most attractive. It appears to be hardy to approximately 0° F. It propagates quite well and makes a medium plant in a relatively short time. An interesting plant worth growing.