Lots of lilac and then some

18.05.2012 | By Nikolay Polichshyk

In May Kyivites head to the nations main botanical garden like pilgrims to holy sites

For most of Kyivites, May is associated with the blooming of lilac bushes, which adorn the hills above the Dnipro River, but the largest amount of lilac grows in the M.M. Hryshko Botanical Garden of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in the Pecherskiy district. But the garden is known not only for lilac blossoms

This garden has the status of a national natural monument, and the diversity of its plant collection, the size of its area and level of scientific studies and research works make it one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe. There are more than 11,180 species of plants belonging to 220 families and 1,347 genera in its collection. It takes far more than a day to see all of these wonders but in this article Kyiv Weekly takes you on a tour of its main places of interest.

Monastery amidst the greenery

You can get to the Botanical Garden from the Pecherska metro station by trolleybus #14 or bus #62 their last stops are right in front of the main entrance. Admission is UAH 20 and you can order a special tour for UAH 150200, depending on the number of people in the group.

You should also check out historic buildings on the gardens territory. Right in front of the entrance there are remains of a fortress wall built around the city 200 years ago. To the left from the entrance there is a church surrounded by several buildings the remnants of the St. Jonas Monastery, which were conveyed to the botanical gardens in Soviet times. Today, the buildings belong to the church and services are held in the temple. One of its buildings is used as a refectory, which is the only place that visitors can have a bite.

Next to the refectory there is a labyrinth of juniper and thuja bushes pruned in spirals and circles. The labyrinth is one of the novelties of the garden created last year for its 75th anniversary. Right behind the labyrinth there is a rosary a ball-shaped glass building. The admission fee to the rosary is UAH 30-90.

Greenhouse in blossom all year round

Azaleas and camellias that bloom in spring were planted in the main hall of the greenhouse complex. More than 500 flowers can be grown in this hall at the same time over several months. The second section of the hall is decorated with tropical plants and fruits, such as pineapples, lemons, cacti and agave. Many of the plant species are older than 50 years and are grown and nurtured in an area of 358 sq.m. The collection of 650 species of orchids is the gem of the collection.

Now lets leave the greenhouses and take a walk through the pine trees to the magnificent lilac garden that is always crowded in May. It boats more than 1,500 lilac bushes with 28 species of wild lilac and more than 90 hybrids in its collection. When designing the lilac garden architects paid attention to the original landscape of this area located on a steep hill above the Dnipro River. It was designed to give the impression that the lilac garden is hanging over the Vydubytsky Monastery like a huge colorful flower bed. From the lilac garden you have a picturesque view of the majestic Dnipro.

In conclusion, noteworthy is the fact that the Botanical Garden is quite a liberal place for recreation on weekends as compared to the other parks in the city. There you can not only breathe in some fresh air, but also have a picnic or even play volleyball or badminton. The garden staff always keeps the place prim and proper, which, unlike in other parks in Kyiv.

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