High above Lapta between the red gray cliffs of the Kyrenia mountain range and the wide blue Mediterranean is Hikmet Ulucam’s hidden wonderland. We took friends up there to show them what we have come to love. I had talked to Hikmet the week before and he said “You must come and see my fields of cyclamen grow all along the driveway and other places in my garden.”
Opening his gate we first had to push aside the curtain of the weeping willow and then we stood there confronted with a long row of red, pink and white cyclamen, not the small wild ones but the big ones. The opalescence really took us by surprise; the wind was soft and warm and carried the scent of late spring. A wild garden, behind Yeni Dünya and advocado trees more rows of cyclamen, patches of yellow anemones, there, in another corner: white cyst roses.
Slow our steps, not to overlook a spring flower. We approach the house, around which Hikmet has made a home for his hundreds of cacti, some of them many decades old, with grandmother, the oldest just in front of his cottage, where he lives. Among trees we find a greenhouse where his young cactus families are cared for. A kindergarten is in the cool shadow of the house.
I have quite a big photo collection of his cacti when they were fully blooming; now we just saw the tiny buds which will soon open. Hikmet knows all about cacti; he has travelled far to see new specimen and tells us about Lanzerote where a well known artist has created a cacti park in the middle of nowhere, on black volcano gravel.
Hikmet Ulucam is a graphic designer and photographer; he teaches at the Girne American University. He has a secret love and that is for fine ceramic art . One day he will open up his studio house and start turning the wheel again and produce his own secret mixtures of glazes, one day he will hold his ear again to the fine shell of a bowl he has created knocking at it to make it sound like a bell.
We leave him after we have enjoyed a delicious coffee, with two of his grandmother cactis, not quite a grandmother, only 15 years old, in our hands.