Tag Archives: arboretum

Things to See in Ukraine: Sofiyivsky Park in Uman Travel Attractions 27 OCT 2016

The once privately-owned city (by Poland) of Uman, situated in the Cherkasy Oblast in central Ukraine, is home to the beautiful 220 year old Sofiyivsky Park, a landscaped arboretum that accounts for over 2,000 types of trees and brush, and which is recognised as a scenic landmark of word gardening design at the beginning of the 19th century.

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One of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine, Sofiyivsky Park was founded in 1796 by Polish noble  Count Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki, and was then later presented (in 1802) to his Greek wife, the adventurous and storied beauty that was Zofia Potocka as a birthday gift.

Designed by the military engineer Ludwig Metzel, Sofiyivka was largely planned in the classic Italian Baroque gardens tradition of the time, with many concepts from Greco-Roman antiquity in full display. The story has it that by design, the park illustrates different parts of Homer’s poems Odyssey and Iliad. For example, the park has its own Elysian Fields and its own River Styx, with various statues and busts of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Apollo, Mercury and Venus gracing the alleys and groves.

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Metzel also incoporated the more contemporary “English style” ideas in landscaping in his design, with so-called “wild sections” also added in for good measure.

These days Sofiyivsky Park is both a public space, a national arboretum and home to the scientific-researching institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU Department of Biology).

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Full of exotic trees, fragrant flowers, hidden pathways, and small lakes, the park is a popular recreational spot, with a reported annual visitor count of around 500,000 people.

In other words, perfect for romantic strolls and picnics then!

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That said, if you are without a date and maybe need some help in the department of dating Ukranian girls, you may very well want to jump on over to jump4love.com and perhaps give one their romance tours a try! ;)

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Related Link: Sofiyivka | WikipediaUman

Things to See in South Africa: The Arderne Gardens in Cape Town Travel Attractions 10 FEB 2016

If you are in Cape Town and want an incredible collection of indigenous trees, go to the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. However, if you are looking for something a little more exotic, then the stunning Arderne Gardens is certainly not going to disappoint!

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Arderne Gardens is a public park and arboretum in Claremont, Cape Town, located in the Western Cape of South Africa. It was established by in 1845 by Ralph Henry Arderne, a timber merchant originally from Cheshire, England. In 1979, the park was named a South African Provincial Heritage Site, and is currently managed by City Parks of the City of Cape Town and the non-profit organisation Friends of the Arderne Gardens.

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Weighing in at 4.5 hectares large, Arderne Gardens contain one of the richest collections of exotic trees and shrubs in South Africa, with more than 300 different species of trees (from literally all over the world) represented. In addition to its Japanese Garden and duck and fish ponds, it also features six Champion Trees, namely the massive Morton Bay Fig (one of the largest trees in South Africa), a Cork Oak, an Aleppo Pine (possibly the largest in the world), the Norfolk Island Pine, a Turkish Oak, and a Queensland Kauri.

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In terms of history, the park forms part of the original Stellenberg estate, which was acquired by Ralph Henry Arderne (1802-1885) in 1845. He named it The Hill, and began to collect trees, shrubs and perennials from around the world. His elder son, Henry Matthew Arderne (1834-1914), was equally enthusiastic as a collector of plants and together the Ardernes had intended to create a garden containing the representatives of all the flora of the world, sourcing many of their trees and shrubs from Australia and New Zealand via trading them for local plants with passing ships.

The Hill was sold in 1914, and subsequently subdivided, with a portion of 4,5 hectares being registered in favour of the Council of the City of Cape Town in July 1928. It was this section that became known as Arderne Gardens in 1961.

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The beautiful gardens with its ponds, lawns and shady nooks makes it a popular city retreat for Capetonians, and thus well worth visiting if you want to see something slightly different from the local flora that nearby Kirstenbosch has on offer!

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(Select photos courtesy of Marie Frei at the Friends of the Arderne Gardens)

Related Link: Arderne Gardens | Friends of Arderne Gardens

Trees in Vink’s Arboretum in Durbanville (2015-11-14) Photo Gallery 21 NOV 2015

Jessica, Emily and I stumbled across Vink’s Arboretum last weekend, which is a lush green belt that runs parallel to Majik Forest on the border between Bellville and Durbanville.

IMG_20151114_125935 jessica lotter with a sausage tree at vink's arboretum in durbanville

Managed by a partnership between Cape Town City Parks and the volunteer group Vink’s Greenbelt Association, the popular walking and picnic spot is home to more than 500 indigenous trees – most of which were planted by the eponymous Mr. Vink van Zyl (who passed away in 2005) himself.

IMG_20151114_125118 vink's rock at vink's arboretum in durbanville

A local Geocaching enthusiast (Gr8Scot) posted a rather nice piece on the arboretum which is worth repeating here:

During 2001 Vink van Zyl – a retired engineer known for his work on the ABSA building in central Cape Town and the (then) new Groote Schuur Hospital, approached the Parks department with a request for an area where he could plant a large number of indigenous trees. It was agreed that the most suitable area for such a project would be the corner of Jip De Jager and Van Riebeeckshof road, an undeveloped park area, where road-building material was stored and levelled.

Vink approached contractors carrying excavated material from local developments, and negotiated with them that if they were permitted to dump fill in the area, they should in return loan machinery for levelling and shaping the area and for digging holes. He then surveyed the area and set levels for filling, the first phase of which began in about November 2001 and was completed by autumn 2002.

He then began planting trees, most of which were obtained from the Bellville municipal nursery, where he spent many hours choosing them. A gravity feed water line made from irrigation piping supplied by the municipality was laid from the dam to the park. From connections in the line, hose pipes could be used to water the trees.

While Vink was planting the first stage, filling continued in the second stage. After planting in the second stage was completed, he then began filling the final stage, which was the northern corner next to the river. By now more then 20 000 cubic metres of soil had been dumped.

Vink also collected indigenous shrubs and plants from various nurseries, and planted them around the arboretum. Together with the help of Dr. Christi Kloppers, a vet with a keen interest in nature, he also collected Renosterveld seed from the area where the Vineyard Office Estate is now, and planted it to add some colour.

He was working on beautifying the lower entrance between the river and pathway when he passed away.

IMG_20151114_125345 jessica and emily marching along at vink's arboretum in durbanville

As you can well imagine, the range of trees to be found is absolutely amazing, and the place itself is well worth a stroll.

Of course, my girls got rather bored, rather fast, which is a pity because I was kind of enjoying working through all the tree name boards…

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(Note: We accessed Vink’s Arboretum by going through the entrance situated on the corner of Jip De Jager Drive and Van Riebeeckshof Road in case you’re keen on finding it yourself. 33°51’35.2″S 18°37’36.3″E)

Related Link: Vink’s Arboretum | City Park’s Partnership | Geocaching