Botanical gardens often also pay an important scientific role as they gather and collect native and foreign plant species and also natural and specially bred specimens. This is why they are often run by universities or scientific organizations. It gives them the opportunity to carry scientific and educational activities.
It is said that two first botanical gardens has been established in Warsaw and they were royal gardens. They were created in the 17th century but unfortunately they don’t exist any longer. The oldest botanical garden still existing is the one in Cracow. It was set up in 1783. The second oldest is Wrocław botanical garden opened in 1811. Nowadays, the biggest botanical garden in Poland is located in Poznań. The most interesting botanical gardens in Poland have thematic gardens, special alpine gardens, pools for water plants, ponds and palm houses.
Poznań has the biggest botanical garden in Poland in terms of its area. It also has very popular Palm House. It is an unusual place where regardless of season, we can journey through various plant and climate zones of different continents. What is more, visitors hear also voices of exotic birds living in the palm house, listen to murmur of water and admire various exotic fish living in tanks and ponds. The building consists of 9 rooms of great area in which exhibitions are divided according to climate and plant zones: tropical, subtropical, moderate, American succulent, water plants, tropical forest floor, savanna, xerophytes of the Old and the New World and fish tanks. It is an amazing feeling to visit the palm house especially when the weather outside is bad. We can find here, even in the middle of winter, blooming flowers and exotic fruit on shrubs. In the greenhouse we can also find a souvenir shop and café. The palm house is opened Tuesday to Sunday and it is situated in picturesque Wilson’s Park which is opened for visitors all year round. It is a unique place in the country and really worth visiting.
The Japanese Garden was founded in 1913. The initiator of its construction was Count Fritz von Hochberg, who engaged the Japanese gardener Mankichi Arai. Currently, it is one of the most popular places for walking and relaxation in Wroclaw. This garden is a combination of several types of Japanese gardens: public, water, associated with a tea ceremony and a rocky beach. Almost 270 taxa of woody plants have been gathered in the garden. By 2009, 78 species of Asian plants had been collected in the garden, including 38 originating from Japan. One of the attractions of the place is a pond with giant carp and other species of fish.
The Botanical Garden of the University of Wrocław was founded in 1811. It is located on the north side of the cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the church of the Holy Cross, partly within the historic Ostrów Tumski, about 2 km from the Market Square. There are about 7.5 thousand species of plants in the garden. Of the trees growing in the Garden, 27 of them were recognized as nature monuments: oaks, yews, gingko, beeches and plane trees. In addition to the exhibition of plants in the Garden, the visitors can admire the geological cross-section of the Wałbrzych hard coal deposits built in 1856 in the rock garden, separated by sandstone and slate deposits. The garden is open to visitors from April 1 to November 30.
Founded in 1783 the Botanical Garden is not only the oldest in Kraków, but also in the entire country. Located east of the Old Town in Grzegórzki district it now covers the area of 9,6 hectares, however, the first gardens were significantly smaller. Today, the visitors can admire 5 thousand different species of plants from all over the world, including nearly 1 thousand trees and bushes, as well as more than 2 thousand greenhouse plants. The Botanical Garden is open to public from mid-April until mid-October.
Hortulus complex is a show garden complex. The gardens are situated in Dobrzyca about 22 km from Koszalin (30 min ride). There are 28 thematic gardens which have an area of 5 hectares. Hortulus complex has also the biggest hornbeam maze in the world (1 hectare area, the length of the paths is 3.5 km) and modern viewing tower. There is also a smaller maze for children made of box tree. The main idea of the complex is showing ornamental plants in various compositions. The gardens very in decorations, style and mood. The gardens are spectacular at every season and are available for tourists all year round. Sightseeing Hortulus Spectabilis gardens with the maze takes about 2 h. The gardens can be visited with the assistance of a guide.
Some other examples include M. Curie-Skłodowskiej University Botanical Garden in Lublin, Warsaw University Botanical Garden, State Academy of Sciences Botanical Garden in Warszawa-Powsin, Mountain Botanical Garden of State Academy of Sciences in Zakopane, Botanical Garden in Bydgoszcz.
It is also worth mentioning that apart from botanical gardens there are numerous places in Poland that are not as big as botanical gardens but are still interesting. Such places include arboretra (tree gardens), palm houses and alpine gardens. Here worth mentioning examples include the Palm House in Lubiechów district of Wałbrzych, Arboretrum in Kórnik, Arboretrum and Alpine Gardens in Rogów.
To sum up, botanical gardens are really interesting elements that give additional dimension to any tour around Poland. We heartily recommend including such elements in your sightseeing schedules, not only for their beauty but also the opportunity to relax in green surrounding. Contact our ITS Poland specialist to design tour including the most beautiful Polish botanical gardens in your itinerary!
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska