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The Kórnik Arboretum

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KÓRNIK

Kórnik is a ‘municipal locality’ – a small town situated ca. 20 km south-east of Poznań.

The first garden mentioned in preserved accounts or records was established in 18th century by the famous local ‘White Lady’ – Teofila Szołdrska-Potulicka, nee Działyńska. That French-styled garden was full of romantic alleys, footbridges, small architectural features. This nice picture was complemented by aviaries, fountains, glasshouses or conservatories, even silkworms were bred there. Today, apart from an old pond, nothing survives out of that arrangement of yore.

A new shape to what surrounds the Kórnik castle was given past 1830 by Tytus Działyński, the then-proprietor of Kórnik. The old garden was considerably expanded and transformed into an English-style park whose dendrological value was very high. As creation of the garden was the passion of his life, as was collecting national souvenirs and establishment of a library. He would import seedlings and cuttings of trees, bushes and shrubs to acclimatise them there.

These actions were for most part frustrated in the time of Władysław Zamoyski, the last proprietor of Kórnik. This was not, however, owing to him: forced to leave the Grand Duchy of Poznań due to the ‘Prussian expulsions’ [Polish, rugi pruskie], he was to spend twenty years of his life in Galicia (the Austrian Partition territory), managing the Kórnik estate from there. However, it was not quite easy to care for the park at such a distance. When Zamoyski transferred his entire estate to the Polish nation in 1924, almost everything had to be started anew about the park.

The man who embarked on restoring the park’s former splendour was Antoni Wróblewski who, as part of ‘Zakłady Kórnickie’ Foundation, was established as a manager for the gardens in 1927. During dozen-or-so years between the two World Wars, he has managed to increase the number of tree and bush or shrub species to some 3,000, up from the former 216.

Today, the Arboretum of Kórnik, owned by the Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, encompasses an area of ca. 40 hectares, featuring therein some 3,500 species and varieties. It is not merely a scientific/research unit: beyond this, it is a great tourist attraction. Along with many indigenous trees and bushes, exotic species imported from China or Japan, among other places, also grow there. Each single specimen is described which makes a stroll through the Arboretum very much like a walk across botanical gardens.

A symbol of the Kórnik Arboretum is swamp (or, bald) cypress with its pneumatophores, i.e. aerial roots springing above the ground level. But it is in May, the magnolia blossoming season, that tourists are attracted to the place in great numbers.

For more on the Institute of Dendrology and the Arboretum, see:
http://www.idpan.poznan.pl/index.php/home.html

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