Saturday, June 8, 2019

A yearly attraction: the Rhododendron Park in Helsinki

There are attractions that are mainly for tourists and others that give enjoyment to everybody. One of these is the National Rhododendron Park in Helsinki. Every year at the beginning of June, the park offers, to the eyes of the beholder an explosion of colors and scents.
And every year, people are gathering in the Park to enjoy the full flowering of the rhododendron.
In the beginning, the first rhododendron was planted there in 1975, where the city of Helsinki, together with the University of Helsinki started a project for the Helsinki’s plant breeding program. At the same time, were planned and constructed paths along the area.
There, 3000 rhododendrons were planted for research purposes, in order to create a variety that could stand the Finnish climate and produce flowers in different colors.
Rhododendron Park is the only park in Helsinki where special uplifted view platforms were built. Those platforms give the possibility to admire from a better vantage point the beauty of the blooming.
In 1996, the park was extended adding a section where Azaleas were planted, which were the result of another breeding program started in 1986. The park offers a view of many crossbreeding species.
When I arrived in Finland, in 2004, the section was quite small, if we compare it with the extension, it has reached in the late years.

Nevertheless, I considered it large enough to keep me there for most of the summer days. I was lucky enough to live just close by so that my daily strolls would have brought me right there most of the times.
As the years passed by, I have seen the park growing slowly but steadily, until the extent it has reached nowadays. I have no idea whether there are any plans to enlarge it, but since the crossbreeding project gave spectacular results, at least from the beholder’s point of view, I hope more species and colors will be added to the Park.

Personally, I hope there will be added new parts to the park as I believe you never have too much beauty, particularly when we talk about colors and flowers. Then let’s not forget the contribution those flowers give to the pollinator’s colonies.
It is an oasis of peace, where to get connected with nature and, having at hand your mosquito repellent, that is the ideal place to stop by with a book and enjoy your time.
So here is to you another reason to visit Finland, and preferably in early Summer. One suggestion, for those who intend visiting this fantastic country, is to get at least two or three weeks time in June between 1-23.6 because there are a lot of things to be seen.
This is the period with the longest day of the year, and if you push yourself to the north, you will experience the 24h sunlight.
Here in Helsinki, the length of the day during this period is of about 18-20 hours, but the nights are mostly looking like dusk, and not particularly dark.
For the longest day of the year hosting the midsummer fest (Juhannus) you definitely want to participate in the celebrations around the country. Then, of course, the Rhododendron Park, where to chill out and relax, before heading to all the music happenings around the country.

And that will be all for the moment, I wish you a great time and an awesome weekend!


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