Exposition of Turkish and Mediterranean Flora

The exposition of Mediterranean and Turkish flora was opened for visitors in 1997. It is located on a sunny hillside below the Japanese Garden. At the entrance to the exposition, there are two cultivars of the Cappadocicum maple (Acer cappadocicum), the yellow-flowered aureum, and the crimson fountain grass in spring.

The steep slope below the Japanese garden is planted with plants native to Turkey. The base of the display is made up of low cushion-shaped rock plants, such as ‘prickly thrifts’ (Acantholimon), ‘stonecresses’ (Aethionema), or blue-flowering ‘globe daisies’ (Globularia), yellow-flowering ‘Golden Drops’ (Onosma) and Alyssum, or two species of low creeping coneflowers - Scutellaria orientalis with yellow petals and Scutellaria diffusa with blue petals. Almost all season long, the small flowers of Petrorhagia bloom. But there are not only rock plants here, you can also find larger perennials, such as poppies (Papaver orientale and P. bracteatum) and eastern cattail (Crambe orientalis) planted here. Under a big stone grows an interesting plant - Peganum harmala. It has been cultivated since ancient times as a utility plant. Its roots were used to produce red dye for cotton, known especially from Persian carpets. The seeds were used as a medicine, spice, and narcotic (they are poisonous), and the leaves were used for heating. Near the fence, we can see two young trees of Cedrus libani (Cedar of Lebanon) and the exceptionally cultivated thermophilous Oriental Alder (Alnus orientalis), which comes from Cyprus.

Heading down under the concrete path, the visitor is introduced to the flora of the Mediterranean. At the entrance to the exposition grows the Montpellier maple (Acer monspessulanum), which is somewhat similar to our typical field maple, and not far from it the rarely cultivated Mediterranean subspecies of the Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna subsp. azarella), which has narrower and more dissected leaves. The display is dominated by the Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), a typical conifer planted throughout the Mediterranean, as the name suggests. In early summer, Spartium junceum blooms with its typical yellow berry-like flowers. Nearby, the ‘laurel-leaf cistus’ bush Cistus laurifolius, the only member of the genus that tolerates our winters, blooms with bright white flowers. Above the bench grows the winter-hardy bush yellow jasmine (Jasminum fruticans).

In the individual rockeries, we have the opportunity to get acquainted with a variety of perennials and perennials native to the Mediterranean. Most of the plants come from the 1995 and 1996 expedition collections. There are species of rock steppes, as well as mountain species, such as cushion-like ‘woodruff’ (Asperula) or sandwort (Arenaria). Linum salsoloides in white and Linum dolomiticum in yellow bloom here. On the rock gardens grow prickly cushions of ‘Horrible broom’ (Genista horrida) and several other smaller species of cresses and chilies, and the hornwort (Cerastium tomentosum) crawls with silver leaves. On warm, sunny days, the scents of Thymus, Satureja montana, lavender, Micromeria thymifolia, and Acinos alpinus will remind us of holidays. Grasses, the tall spring-flowering Sesleria insularis, and, above all, a number of fescues (Festuca) complete the display. Several species of cornflowers bloom among the grasses during the summer.

The vineyard wall is planted with an assortment of ivy, of more interesting herbs are here several representatives of hellebores, such as the black hellebore (Helleborus niger) from the southern Alps. It blooms in early spring with white or pinkish flowers, the name is referring to its black-colored roots.

The limestone stones used for the construction of the rockeries come from the Kosov and Mořina quarries in the Czech Karst. In some of them, you can see fossils of the primordial cephalopods of the Orthoceras genus.

Thermophilous shrubs are planted on the slope above the iris display. One of the most beautiful is the early May blooming Cercis siliquastrum, which we have both in its wild pink-blooming and even its white-blooming form. According to a legend, Judas hanged himself on this species when he betrayed Christ. In spring, the manna ash (Fraxinus ornus) also blooms here with its striking whitish inflorescences. Under the path to the vineyard gate grows the rare, slow-growing ‘oriental sweetgum’ (Liquidambar orientalis). The balsam, which is extracted from the wood of this species, serves as incense.

A field of Lavandula angustifolia was planted in the lowest part of the exposition in 2012 and the slope above it was reconstructed and replanted in summer 2013. There are several dozen lower herbs and shrubs, mostly of Turkish origin. For example, several subspecies of ‘yellow helmet flower’ (Scutellaria orientalis), aurinia, yarrows, cornflowers, phlomis, and many other species.

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