The Volčji Potok Arboretum is the most popular botanical park in Slovenia. It is easily accessible from the capital city Ljubljana, and makes a great day out at any time of year. It is especially enchanting right at the time when spring is fully awakening, as April shifts into May, when the traditional display of tulips involves the blooming of more than two million flowers. This year’s tulip exhibition will be the 20th in succession.
The Arboretum is laid out over more than 80 hectares, and is home to 4,500 plants from all corners of the world, including perennials as well as bush and tree species. The Arboretum is also supposedly subject to an energy field beneficial to all of a person’s bodily energy centres, and the park’s attractions are supplemented by numerous events for all generations.
The now traditional spring display of tulips and flowers, which will be held this year from 23 April to 2 May, has earned special acclaim. The beauty of the gorgeous tulips – each year more than 250 different species bloom in a diversity of colour – is complemented by other attractions. This year, starting on 1 April, following last year’s great response the dinosaurs are returning, and they will be bringing with them some Ice Age giants. They will be displayed up until 14 June. A large number of activities will take place alongside the exhibition, and the Arboretum will keep people informed about this on its website and in the Facebook group Friends of the Arboretum (Prijatelji Arboretuma).
Each year Volčji Potok Arboretum is visited by between 70,000 and 150,000 people. One special feature of the Arboretum is that right from the beginning, it was designed as a park intended for the public. The Arboretum was basically conceived as a study institute and a cultural monument of national importance, but today it is a whole lot more. It is also the venue for numerous events and workshops throughout the year. The topics of the workshops and lectures differ greatly – observing the spring night sky, an Earth Day workshop, getting to know the only Slovenian native dog breed, amphibians, the fun of checking out vintage vehicles, bat fun for kids, summer yoga workshops in natural surroundings and more – but the thing all these events share is that they take place in the wonderful natural setting of the Arboretum.
The location was first mentioned in 1220, when a castle stood here. In the 17th century, below the nearby hill a two-storey manor house was built, and of this the only parts preserved and maintained are the garden pavilion, the castle chapel and staircase leading to the former castle park, in the area of which is the present-day Arboretum. Stretching out in the middle of a pine forest next to the Arboretum there is also a large golf course, which provides a nice finishing touch to these green outskirts of Ljubljana.
There is another such popular spot in Slovenia, Mozirski gaj in the Lower Savinja Valley. People even refer to it as the child of Volčji Potok. At the same time, between 23 April and 8 May, it will host its own tulip display. A special feature of its spring floral display is the different types of tulips, with pride of place going to the very special “Mozirski gaj” tulip, a native species of tulip that grows only at Mozirski gaj.