THE BEST known, oldest and largest arboretum in Slovakia, located near Nitra in Tesárske Mlyňany, reported that it had suffered no serious damage last winter as it opened its gates to visitors in May. The previous year’s winter, with deep frosts and much moisture, was positive for the arboretum. “The ground woods did not have a moisture deficit so there were no losses due to the soil losing moisture from a big frost,” Peter Hoťka, the head of the arboretum explained to the SITA newswire.
The arboretum opened its summer season on May 13 with an event it calls Ambrózyho dni (Ambrózy’s Days) which lasted the entire weekend. Free tours with an expert lecturer were offered, along with presentations about the arboretum’s activities, musical performances and attractions for children. The number of visitors in 2010 – about 31,000 people – was less than in previous years due to unusually poor weather.
The most popular time to visit the arboretum is late spring when its rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese cherry trees – sakuras – as well as apple tress and many other species are in bloom. “In recent years, our rose garden has also become a big attraction,” Huťka said. About 17,000 people visited the arboretum in the month of May, 4,500 of them during Ambrózy’s Days. The arboretum mounted new information boards last year and a new brochure describing the arboretum’s attractions is being readied this year to replace one first published in 1992.
Another popular attraction is the arboretum’s 25 redwoods. “Four years ago, we lost a memorial tree. However we still do have another Sierra redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum or Wellingtonia) about the same age as the lost one which is still growing and captures visitors’ attention,” Hoťka said, adding that it was planted around 1864 and is about 117 years old. “It is a young redwood as this species can live up to 2,000 years,” he noted, reporting that this redwood is about 40 metres tall and can grow up to 100 metres. These impressive trees, not typical for Slovakia’s latitude, were brought here from California by Štefan Ambrózy-Migazzi, the founder of the arboretum.
The arboretum’s 67 hectares are home to more than 2,300 tree species from all over the world, but mostly from milder areas of the northern hemisphere. Forested areas representing North America, Central Asia, the Caucasus Mountains, Korea, Japan, China, the Himalayas and South America can be seen at the arboretum.
Mlyňany Arboretum was founded by Ambrózy-Migazzi in 1892. He was able to acquire foreign tree species and acclimatise them to Slovak conditions and built the first evergreen arboretum in central Europe.
Today the arboretum is a branch of the Botanical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.
27. Jun 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská