In Full Bloom: Poland’s 10 Most Beautiful Gardens
#travel in poland
small, In Full Bloom: Poland’s 10 Most Beautiful Gardens, Łazienki Park, Palace on the Isle, photo: Wikimedia Commons, palaceontheisle.jpg
An explosion of scents, a spectacle of colours, an architecture of the senses... Culture.pl invites you on a walk through 10 Polish gardens that count as works of art.
1. Helena Radziwiłł’s romantic park in Arkadia
‘Arkadia may be regarded as an ancient monument of beautiful Greece,’ wrote the Duchess in her garden guide.
The garden is a combination of design by Szymon Bogumił Zug and the romantic vision of Henryk Ittar, bringing together mythology, literature and Masonic ideals. The main alley through the garden is designed in such a way that successive landscapes evoke changing emotions.
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Ancient, and not only ancient, works of art gathered since 1778 by Helena Radziwiłł in Arkadia make up a museum collection in the garden’s Temple of Diana.
2. The Branicki Palace gardens
Here, English romanticism is contrasted with French regularity. This 18th-century, late Baroque terraced garden was designed asymmetrically. The geometric design of the upper terrace was to contrast sharply with the lower terrace, which housed a zoo and a theatre.
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The Branicki Palace and park in Białystok have since been known as the ‘Polish Versailles’. After its reconstruction, this historic complex represents only an echo of its former splendour, yet it remains impressive.
3. Łazienki Park
Let’s stay with the aristocratic spirit and visit Łazienki Park in Warsaw. The total area of its gardens spans 76 hectares. The 18th-century Royal Garden, situated close to the Palace on the Isle and the Amphitheatre, is the oldest part of Łazienki.
The Chinese Alley separates the Royal Garden from the Romantic Garden, adjacent to the Belvedere. It’s covered with poplars, oaks and acacias that evoke the 19th century, as well as with lilacs and English dogwood mock orange flower shrubs.
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The rhythmic composition of the Modernist Garden, in turn, is watched over by a statue of Frederick Chopin.
4. Łańcut Castle park & gardens
Back in the 18th century, the magnate residence in Łańcut resonated with music. Looking at the walls of the Łańcut Palace, overgrown with ivy that turns red in the autumn, it’s hard to resist the impression that the residence was built in the middle of a garden.
Once the court life in Łańcut focused in the Italian Garden where festivities, parades and cruises in gondolas from Venice were organised. Today, the romantic nature of the garden is emphasised by the blooming geraniums and old sculptures. In front of the orangery, however, in the rosarium, a single plant reigns in all its varieties.
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The refined composition is highlighted by a linden alley, created on the initiative of Izabela Lubomirska.
5. The palace-garden complex in Wilanów
Duchess Lubomirska was also the owner of Wilanów Palace, before which she commissioned an English and Chinese plant composition. Based on original designs, a neo-renaissance rose garden has now been reconstructed there.
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The palace gardens in Wilanów are, first and foremost the crowning achievement of King Jan III Sobieski’s passion, however, and they are Italian in style. Two garden terraces are connected by stairs with a stone balustrade, which is adorned with four sculptures – allegories of the four seasons and four stages of love: Fear, Kiss, Indifference and Frey.
Hortulus in Dobrzyca (the Hortulus Spectabilis or Themed Gardens), photo: Jerzy Undro / Reporter
Fragrance, Aroma, Light, Shadow, Swoosh, Rustle – these are just a few of almost 30 themed gardens in Dobrzyca. They’ve been cultivated for over 25 years, the result of a love of nature and the need to share beauty. They have been inspired by not only the human senses, but the landscapes and cultures of different nations.
Around two kilometres away from the themed gardens, visitors may admire the Hortulus Spectabilis Garden. Here, they can wander in a hornbeam maze, boasting more than 3.2 kilometres of corridors. At the centre stands a 20-metre tall tower, in the shape of double DNA strands. From the tower, you can admire the gardens of Magic,Time and Illusion – and in good weather you can even see the Baltic Sea.
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7. The Bolestraszyce Arboretum
Colour, fragrance and texture also characterise the Sensual Garden in Bolestraszyce. This part of the arboretum is designed to meet the needs of people with limited mobility or sight. The entire complex serves educational functions, whereas its irregular ponds and rock gardens add to its charm. In Bolestraszyce, many rare and endangered flora can be found – including old apple varieties, such as Ananas Berżenicki, Oliwka Czerwona (Red Astrachan) and Truskawkowe Nietschnera.
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8. The Japanese Garden in Wrocław
It is known as Hakkoen or white and red – like the colours of the flags of both Japan and Poland. The garden in Szczytnicki Park represents the essence of Oriental culture. It’s permeated with philosophy, and each of its rocks, streams and trees have a specific place and meaning.
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Two streams flow into a pond, symbolising the ocean of the world –- a rapid, ‘masculine’ cascade and a slow, ‘feminine’ cascade. From the bridge, you can see a stone tower; over the bridge, you can find a tea pavilion and relax in harmony with nature.
9. The University of Warsaw Library Garden
The Warsaw University Library Garden, photo: Adam Stępień / AG
As Cicero once said: ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need’. The University of Warsaw fulfils these wishes, offering an oasis of quiet on the roof of its main library. The garden’s upper level shimmers with gold, silver, carmine and azure thanks to the dominating hues of its plant varieties. The upper level is connected with the lower one by a cascading rivulet. Metal pergolas, skylights and small bridges provide an ideal complement to the building’s architecture.
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10. Frank-Raj (Frank-Garden of Eden)
Frank-Raj (Frank-Garden of Eden), a miniature garden park in Frank village, Kociewie, photo: http://www.frank-raj.pl/kontakt2
Garden-goers with little time to see all the most beautiful gardens in Poland should simply visit Kociewie. In the village of Frank, a paradise for the lovers of landscape architecture has been created – a miniature garden park. Its creators have offered a journey through several epochs and styles.
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Originally written in Polish by Agnieszka Warnke; translated by ME, Feb 2018