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Video: The World Of Blooming Rhododendrons
Mustila arboretum rhododendrons
If you drive from Lappeenranta towards Helsinki for about 100 km, you can get to an amazingly beautiful place - the Mustila arboretum.
In the very first days of June, there, in the Valley of Rhododendrons, you can observe a colorful sea of flowers, when hundreds of these beautiful evergreens, brought from all over the world and acclimatized in northern Finnish conditions, bloom at the same time.
At this time, the arboretum is crowded, because tourists from different parts of the country and even from abroad come to Mustila to admire the lush flowering of rhododendrons and azaleas. The entire arboretum can be divided into several zones. Moreover, the trees there are planted in large areas, which creates the effect of homogeneous and in places mixed forests.
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In this area of the arboretum, the first conifers were planted in the early twentieth century in order to expand the variety of wood species in Finland's northern climate. And today you can already see here rolled broad-coniferous pine, Siberian and Sakhalin fir, various types of larch and thuja.
This part of the arboretum is warmer and more fertile. It is here that a large number of exotic trees and shrubs from the Northern Hemisphere have been planted since the beginning of 1920. For example, several types of walnut, red oak, hornbeam, Korean fir appeared here. A large number of hardwoods from warm countries are adapted to grow under the protection of pine trees. These are bearded and three-flowered maple, actinidia kolomikta, high aralia, Japanese scarlet, beech, Siebold's magnolia, Amur velvet, sumach-leaved lapina.
This is a sunny area with well-drained soils. Since the beginning of 1990, about 4,000 plants of azalea hybrids have been planted here (azaleas are members of the rhododendron family - ed.), Obtained from the crossing of Canadian, Japanese and yellow rhododendrons.
The Valley of the Rhododendrons This is by
far the most attractive part of the arboretum. Most of these beautiful plants grow here under the canopy of the pine forest, which provides shade and protection from the cold and wind.
Today in Mustila you can see more than 100 species and varieties of rhododendrons, and one of the first varieties is named after the creator of the arboretum - Axel Fredrik Tigerstedt - "Tigerstedt".
Here you cannot do without a small digression into history. The fact is that since 1902, State Councilor Axel Fredrik Tigerstedt begins to plant various types of ornamental trees and shrubs brought from North America, the Alpine regions of Europe, the Far East on the Mustila estate. In 1917, he retired and devoted himself entirely to experiments in the transplantation and acclimatization of plants.
Together with his son Karl Gustav, in 1920 he founded the Mustila Arboretum. For more than a hundred years, about 2000 species of plants have been planted here, many of which have not taken root, but some of them have successfully passed the test of time. Today, on an area of 120 hectares, visitors can see more than 100 species of conifers and 130 deciduous tree species, as well as numerous shrubs.
The arboretum is widely known all over the world for its unique collection of rhododendrons. The first planting and research on the selection of evergreen varieties of rhododendrons with increased winter hardiness were made by Karl Gustav.
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In recognition of his work in forestry and horticulture, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki. In 1981, the Mustila Arboretum was declared a national reserve, and in 1983, the Mustila Arboretum Foundation was established to preserve the heritage of the research work of the three generations of the Tigerstedt family. Until recently, this arboretum was open only to specialists, but today it welcomes everyone who is ready to see its unique beauty.
Getting lost in Mustila is difficult as there are signs on all routes.
The routes start and end at a small office building, where, after an informative walk, you can have a cup of excellent coffee and get advice on soil preparation, planting and growing rhododendrons (although so far only in English and Finnish).
I think if you also decide to take a short trip to the Mustila arboretum, you will get the most positive emotions at the beginning of summer. For example, I am very glad that I discovered the wonderful world of flowering rhododendrons.
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