Ljubljana is rife with tourists every year, but the Ljubljana Botanical Garden is among the least visited sites. It’s among the oldest, most serene locales in Old Town and is a beautifully green diversion. If you want to spend an afternoon away from people, this is the place for you.
The Ljubljana Botanical Garden is a historic treasure for the city. It’s half an hour’s walk away from the city center and offers some lovely scenes to people who visit it. While it’s small, it’s also a sanctuary for people who hate the bustle.
If you’re a green thumb yourself, it’s about time to visit this gorgeous locale. Here’s what you need to know about the Botanical Garden of Ljubljana.
What Is The Botanical Garden of Ljubljana?
Formally known as the Botanical Garden of the University of Ljubljana, the tourist site is located at Gruber’s Canal (Gruberjev prekop). You can find it on the south-eastern side of Castle Hill (Grajski grič).
The gardens are considered to be one of the oldest cultural, scientific, and educational institutions in continuous operation in Slovenia. In 2010, it celebrated its 200th anniversary, being one of the few middle-aged gardens in Europe.
The botanical garden is a member of a global organization of botanical gardens, BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International). BGCI conserves and preserves around 800 botanical gardens in the world. They help make sure that the local keeps its age-old beauty.
A Long, Beautiful History of the Ljubljana Botanical Garden
The Ljubljana Botanical Garden opened on July 11, 1810. The garden started with the first governor of the Illyrian provinces. Marshal Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont planted a linden tree in the garden, which still grows today.
Initially, the current Botanical Garden was called the Garden of Native Flora (Vrt domovinske flore). It was founded on the initiative of Franc Hladnik (1773–1844), who was the first head of the garden and the first botanist – a scientist of domestic origin.
He worked at the École Centrale, where he provided medical services and used the plants in his efforts. The garden has gradually expanded from the original 3.3 acres to the current two hectares.
Many experts were responsible for its development, many of which were those who stood out after their managerial and research work. The garden officially started in 1810 with plants that Hladnik had previously grown in the lyceum garden.
After only two years, there were 768 species of native plants in the garden. Hladnik’s successor, Ivan Nepomuk Biatzovsky, named a plant Scopolia hladnikiana in honor of his predecessor. Scopolia hladnikiana is a rare form of henbane bell that is native to Slovenia.
Rebrinčevolistna hladnikija or Hladnikia pastinacifolia is also named after Hladnik, a rare and endemic plant in the Apiaceae family.
A Series Of Leaderships
Biatzowski’s successor was Andrej Fleischmann, who came to the botanical garden as a fourteen-year-old apprentice and Hladnik’s pupil. He is known as the author of an essential work in the field of botany, “Übersicht der Flora Krains” (Review of Carniolan flora from 1844).
In his honor, Hladnik named the plant Fleischmann’s Parsley (Pastinaca sativa var. Fleischmanni). This endemic is extinct in its natural environment, so it is considered a local specialty and a real treasure of the Ljubljana Botanical Garden.
In botanical literature, the Ljubljana Botanical Garden is mentioned as the only habitat for it. In honor of Fleischmann, the botanist Reichenbach named the species Scabioso fleischmanni (now Knautia f.).
In 1901–1936, Alfonz Paulin’s famous herbarium collection Flora exsiccata carniolica, comprising about 2,000 taxa, was published. Paulin’s student Franc Juvan, who worked as a gardener in the garden for 64 years, was also important. The juvan nettle (S. juvanii) is named after him.
After the Second World War, Jože Lazar took over the leadership position, credited with building the greenhouse. He was followed by Vinko Strgar (1967-1992), who continued his work and further improved contacts with related institutions worldwide.
The Botanical Gardens Now
In 1920, the botanical garden came under the auspices of the University of Ljubljana. The park is now under the care of the Department of Biology of the Biotechnical Faculty. They take care of the presentation of both domestic and foreign vegetation that thrives in our climate.
More than 4,500 species, subspecies, and forms grow on two hectares of land, of which more than a third are native. Other plants come from different parts of Europe and other continents.
Every year, the garden collects seeds for its own needs. It also trades between botanical gardens, setting aside plants for the seed gene bank.
The Ljubljana Botanical Garden publishes the Index Seminum publication annually too. It offers partners about 1,000 taxa in exchange for pores, seeds, and live plants. About a third are endemic to Slovenia.
In addition, the botanical garden is engaged in research and cultivation of endemics and plant breeding. Many of these plants are endangered in nature or even extinct in Slovenia.
Growing plants that are on the border of Slovenia and beyond is also among its many goals. Its curators pay special attention to plants that grow within regions in Slovenia.
What To Expect Inside The Garden
The Ljubljana Botanical Garden divides into nine general areas. These comprise of what you can expect when you visit the gardens.
First, you will encounter an arboretum with various representatives of trees and shrubs planted in the park. You will also find a plant system where plants classified by related criteria.
For those who like aquatic flora, a pond and pool with aquatic and wetland plants are there, which is a visual treat for everyone. A rock garden with plants from mountain areas and Karst cave regions is a must-visit too.
Within the botanical garden, there’s a greenhouse where representatives of tropical plant species are available. The university puts plants that need higher air humidity and uniform temperature throughout the year here.
There is a thematic garden of Mediterranean plants with different flora groups, classified for their usefulness (medicinal, poisonous, industrial). You’ll also see a cultivation area with beams for growing and multiplying plants, which is also a space for research work.
Enjoying The Ljubljana Gardens and Its Outdoor Tea House
So, why should you visit the Ljubljana Botanical Garden? It’s a gorgeous tourist locale with many curiosities in it. It’s open for everyone, and it’s an excellent place to spend a lazy afternoon.
While many would think that it’s boring to spend time with trees the entire day, you’ll likely beg to differ. The air is fresh, there is ample shade from the sun, and the breeze is chilly sometimes.
If you’re the type of person who wants to unwind, the garden is big enough to obscure you from people. It’s also small enough to find your way, especially if you have kids with you.
If you want to spend some sit-down time, you can do so in its Outdoor Tea House. Čajnica Primula or the Primula Tea House offers delicious and healthy treats all year-round.
Due to the pandemic, the Tea House will stay closed until March 2021. Once it opens, fans can expect delicious meals and teas from endemic plants. They offer delicious yogurt fruit bowls, delicious coffee with pastries, and some freshly squeezed juice.
Things To Remember When Visiting
The gardens offer educational events almost year-round, both for students and civilians alike. Their website hosts news about the plants blooming all year, so if you want to see something, in particular, you’ll find the right time to visit.
There are a few things to remember, however, when visiting the Botanical Gardens. Most of it is on proper decorum and what you should expect when you get there.
Visiting the gardens is generally free, but the glasshouse has a small admission fee. The money goes to the maintenance of the greenhouse itself, which can be very expensive. Growing tropical plants in a temperate environment can be a challenge.
The gardens generally open at 7 AM and close at different times, depending on the season. You’ll likely see many endangered and endemic plants in the garden, so it’s best to keep yourself from plucking the plants.
Among their best exhibits in the garden are the Japanese cherry blossoms. They show a beautiful reddish hue in the autumn and pink petals in the spring. Around mid-year, you can expect to see the cacti blossoming almost every day.
The garden also has several blooming events every year. They are generally open to the public, so it’s best to find schedules on the official website.
The garden also sponsors many green events available all over Ljubljana. If you happen to find your way in them, you’ll likely see more greenery from the garden.
The Ljubljana Botanical Garden is rife with natural beauty and history. Generations of dedicated care came to this botanical garden, and it will likely stay that way. If you’re in Ljubljana, set aside some time and give the garden a visit.
The botanical garden is a great place to slow down, enjoy nature’s bounties, and learn more about the world. It’s an oasis in the middle of a bustling town and solace to a weary heart.
If you’re looking for more places to visit in Ljubljana, check out other locations in and around Old Town. There are just so many things to do, from shopping to enjoying a cup of coffee.
Check us out today and see what tickles your imagination. Ljubljana has a lot for you to love.