Where to Find Blooming Cherries & Piano Recitals in Warsaw
This spring, apart from sporting blooming plants like magnolias and white forsythias, the Powsin Botanical Garden, a beautiful 40-hectare area on the outskirts of Warsaw, has much in store for culture vultures. Get ready for outdoor concerts organised by the Fryderyk Chopin Society, photo exhibitions and… a festival of carnivorous plants!
The scent of almonds
There aren’t many better ways to celebrate spring than being around nature as it reawakens. Few places are better for this than the Botanical Garden in Powsin, a neighbourhood on the southern outskirts of Warsaw. The beautiful 40-hectare green area began its 2017 season on 1st April, meaning that it is now open to the public for visits until the end of October.
Even though it’s early on in the season, there are already some pretty spectacular sights to behold. The garden’s arboretum, where many unique woody plants can be found, charms with its blooming almond-scented white forsythias as well as different kinds of blooming magnolias, including Japanese and star varieties. The botanical park is generally well-known for its vast collection of magnolias that counts nearly eighty different varieties and attracts visitors especially when everything is in bloom in April and May.
Some early action can also be observed in the Polish Flora Collection, thanks to the appearance of white and pink February daphne flowers . The collection’s sub-section of mountain plants, picturesquely located on three artificial hills and a natural escarpment, is where Tatra scurvy-grass and Alpine rock-cress are currently presenting their white blooms. Due to its diversity, including hundreds of seashore, forest, meadow and other kinds of wild species (many rare and protected), the Polish collection offers an excellent chance to quickly get a sense of the richness of Poland’s plantlife.
Among the other, numerous collections at the botanical garden, exceptionally noteworthy are the apple trees, 500 types of which are historical, some even dating back to the 12th century. Also, the National Collection of Roses ought be mentioned here as it is the biggest of its kind in the country, consisting of countless varieties. But returning for a moment to the plants that are exceptionally beautiful at this time of year, it’s worth adding that some of the cherry trees are currently putting on a natural display. Their blooming, as well as that of the Japanese magnolias, harmonises nicely with the fact that the Garden is currently hosting its Japanese Month.
This cultural event revolving around the Land of the Cherry Blossoms includes two photo exhibitions held on the park’s premises. Sakura i Nie Tylko - Japonia w Kwiatach Wiśni (Sakura and More: Japan in Cherry Blossoms, ed.) presents pictures of cherries blooming in gardens in Japan, taken by Stanisław Roszkowski, a long-term photographic collaborator of the Powsin park. It can be seen at the building of the Nature and Ecology Education Centre from 1st April to 7th May. Japonia na Nowo – Po Raz Pierwszy Odkryta (Japan Anew – Discovered for the First Time, ed.) features photos from the same country, but these are impressions that encompass a broader set of themes, e.g. urban landscapes. They were taken by Ludmiła Kot and Romuald Zabielski, who last year published a book combined with a photographic album under the same title. The latter exhibit is on from 6th April to 3rd May at the historical manor Fangorówka.
The Funeral March… for a mouse
The terrace of the Fangorówka is where piano concerts take place during the season. These are organised annually by the Fryderyk Chopin Society into a festival called Music Floralia which features performances by top-notch musicians of pieces by the great Pole and other Romantic composers. The exact programme of this year’s edition isn’t known yet, but the concert dates and the names of the pianists on the line-up have already been released by the society. May will see two recitals: one by Anna Maria Stańczyk, the artistic director of Floralia on the 21st, and the other by Italy’s Antoni di Cristofano on the 28th. Further concerts are scheduled for June.
A very different event will take place at the garden’s Green Paradise greenhouse which is home to an abundance of tropical and subtropical plants. From 3rd to 7th May, it will be the arena of the Carnivorous Plants Festival featuring as many as a couple thousand specimens belonging to such genera like sundews, pitcher plants and sarracenia. Apart from seeing these curious organisms, at the festival you’ll also have the occasion to witness how they’re fed during special shows. However, before you decide to attend one, be advised that some of these plants are capable of devouring a whole mouse…
Protecting endangered species
The park in Powsin is a department of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and it’s full, official name is: The Polish Academy of Sciences Botanical Garden - Center for Biological Diversity Conservation in Powsin. As such it takes part in various scientific activities, the aforementioned conservation being one of the most important among them. That’s why the garden’s employees focus on protecting hundreds of species threatened by extinction in the wild by growing them on the premises and also by storing their seeds in extremely low temperatures. The garden is also involved in research on how plants can be used as bioindicators of pollution.
The Botanical Garden is located at 2 Prawdziwka Street, Warsaw. It’s usually open 7 days a week from 10:00 to 18:00. For more information, visit the garden’s official English website.
Author: Marek Kępa, Apr 2017