Happy 200th birthday!

This year Geneva Botanic Garden celebrates its 200th birthday. I ate some of the cake because the BGCI congress was timed especially to join in celebrating this wonderful milestone. That’s the cake that looks like a small fire.   The gardens has decided to tell the story of these 200 years in such a neat…

Like us…but with a gondola

European BG’s are not like Auckland Botanic Garden.  They are at least a century old and are set out in a traditional style.  So when I visited the International Garden Festival (IGA) here in Berlin I thought – this is just like us!  It’s promoted as a source of ideas and inspiration, a place of…

Mosses to mini-mountains

A short train ride from the centre of Berlin is the 43ha Berlin BG.  It’s main draw card is the beautiful Victorian style greenhouses.  But it has more to offer including an expansive arboretum park, meadows, alpine garden (with its own mini-mountains), and a water plant collection.  My favourite is the moss garden!   The…

Bad (see note below) visitor

I can’t pretend that the sweltering summer temperatures didn’t affect my visit to the Bad Schandau (Germany) Botanic Gardens. Bad means spa in German, the healing waters of this place are the reason it’s here. The garden is a (small garden, but a large rock-garden) rock-garden sweeping up a steep hillside in a valley above a…

Glassy

Ending up in an unknown, not on your itinerary Czech city,  Liberec, the train from Poland  only came here, not Prague) was fortunate as they have a really cool Botanic Garden.  Its central feature is a group pavilions, or glasshouses, which represent different plant biomes or themes e.g. Australia, the tropics, Asia, primitive plants etc….

A castle in the forest

Ksiaz Castle (Zamek Ksiaz in Polish) is set in the Sudetan mountain beech forest. The dominant trees I saw were Quercus robur & Fagus sylvatica. Apparently there are yew trees too but I didn’t find them.  The outlook from the castle windows for 360 degrees is forest which must have been very nice for the…

She wanted flowers all year round!

In Poland you can stay in a castle – so we are! It’s got a pretty gritty WWII history just like every part of Poland (it was being prepared for Hitler to live in after he won, thankfully he didn’t). The Ksiaz (pronounced ‘Shoungsh’, not kidding) castle is 700 years old but as with all…

An aquarium…for plants

The “Botanical Garden Of The University Of Wrocław” is a 7.4ha urban oasis in Poland’s 4th largest city.  Opening in 1811 it’s the second oldest garden in Poland (after Krakow). Like Krakow it’s set out for university teaching purposes.  The signage is wordy and probably not interesting to most visitors (even if you can speak…

A research garden

Botanic Gardens have a broad mandate (education, conservation, research, recreation & increasingly social and environmental purposes) and many gardens (like us) try and address the whole spectrum. Some choose to go strongly with one. If it’s a university paying the bills, like the Jagiellonian University BG of Kraków, then research is what it does.  The…

Fantasy forests

To connect people with tropical & sub-tropical forests Ukranian BG’s must grow these forest species under glass which is no mean feat if the trees are Araucaria bidwilli and A. angustifolia which get to 45m+. Here’s them pushing up a 33m greenhouse in two BG’s in Kyiv.   Their glasshouses are expensive to heat and…

Flowers for the founder 

Taras Shevchenko is known as the Father of Ukrainian language. Many things are named after him, and this is his image in his square, in front of the Taras Shevchenko Uni and on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard. Today they planted the annual bedding around it. People place cut flowers on the grass beside him as a tribute….

Glass houses

My parents visited Heligan in 2003 when you placed two pounds in an honesty box to enter.  They bought me the book and the DVD.  I was captivated by the story, imagining both how much work and how rewarding it would be to “find” a garden. So it’s always been on my list to visit….