Kumpula Botanic Garden, Helsinki, Finland
Kumpula Botanic Garden was founded in 1987 on the grounds of an old manor estate. The garden is not particularly big but it was designed and subsequently realised with ambitious scientific and educational goals. It is divided into two main parts: the geobotanical garden and the garden of cultivated plants. The plants in the geobotanical garden are grouped according to their origin and are acquired according to rigorous criteria: only wild-collected plants are accepted and the source areas have been chosen on the basis of the Bioclimatic Zone System that Finnish researchers have been developing since the 1930s. The collection is thus exceptionally valuable for research and conservation. It has already been used for statistical tests on the validity of the bioclimatic vegetation scheme on which it is based. The road from an ambitious vision to a plant collection that is of a scientifically high standard yet also aesthetically pleasing has been long and winding. Here the history and design of the garden and the build-up of the plant collection is described, concluding with a brief account of the inauguration for the general public in June 2009.
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