Summer — the Time to Visit Gardens and Parks

The summer this year is a hot one, and unsurprisingly travellers are seeking respite from heat during their trips. This is why a visit to gardens and parks is an appealing destination, because there you can simultaneously enjoy the beauty of nature and weather the heat.

In the vicinity of Tukums, you can find manor estates from various ages and gardens of various types. Meanwhile, in Tukums — the town of roses — you can get familiar with and enjoy the scents of the special Route of Roses, and there are a number of collections or demonstration gardens. Whereas, for several years now, the month of July in the area of Tukums is the month of events of gardens and parks.

The Most Beautiful Rose Blooming Season in Tukums has Arrived!

It is now that thanks to the warm weather the rose aroma is the strongest. In continuation of rose cultivation traditions and honouring the fame of Tukums as the town of roses, nearly 20 beds of roses are set up all around the town, where you can admire the widest range of varieties. Rose plants are gifted by local residents and businesses, as well as obtained during the traditional Rose Festival campaign “Give a gift of a rose to the town”. The first rose beds were set up back in 2009, and each year they are supplemented. The most recent rose beds are found in the Veļķi suburb and at the Z. A. Meierovics Square by the monument dedicated to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

What is something special you can find in the town? The architecturally most lavish street of the town — the Pils Street — for the second year now has turned into a Rose Street of sorts, because in the summer time, large rose pots stand guard of every building, as if guarding the beauty of the town. Here, the roses are blooming in the widest range of colours — from rose to yellow, from deep red to orange-hued.

To help you explore the most beautiful rose locations, we have created a Route of Roses.

Demonstration Gardens and Collection Gardens in the Vicinity of Tukums

Decorative Garden of Dace Lukševica

The decorative garden of the landscape architect Dace Lukševica in Tukums, on the edge of the Veļķi pine-tree forest is an example of a low maintenance, economic and aesthetic garden, which can simultaneously boast with a vast collection of plants. The garden promises a special treat to those, who like hostas, offering to admire 95 different varieties of the plant. 11 types of wintergreen hydrangeas also grow here.

Dace’s parents like many in Tukums were cultivating roses in Tukums already back in the Soviet times. On their land lot, they built a greenhouse first and then, in the evenings and during vacations, they built the house, where Dace’s family now lives. The land lot is not large — only 1000 square metres. 15 years ago, it was transformed, and, as Dace says, the garden is made like from a book — with a front garden, the living area and the domestic facilities. In order to make it appear visually larger, various tricks and special effects have been used. For example, there are no pathways in the garden as these would visually divide the garden and it would appear smaller. The sense of space is also created by raised tree and shrub beds that restrict the view from one end to the other. Dace tells that her idea of the garden was very simple — it must be economic, ecological and aesthetic. “I would like to show people that you can have a beautiful garden that does not enslave you.”

Throughout the summer season, you can purchase perennial landscaping plants in pots here. The visitors can also hire Dace as a guide for a tour around gardens and parks of Tukums and vicinity.

The visit must be arranged in advance.

Address: Lejas iela 1, Tukums. Tel.: 29177195, www.skaistiedarzi.lv

Rose Collection Garden “Rozītes” in Sēme

The rose collection garden — the rose grower “Rozītes” in the Sēme rural municipality is the love-child of Daila and Bruno Trubiņi. They are a third generation rose growers here. It was all started by Daila’s grandfather Pauls Salmiņš, who was a gardener at the Strutele Manor Estate. During the first period of Latvian independence, he taught many gardeners and also set up his own plant nursery.

Even though after World War II a lot of family’s investments had been destroyed, the love for land and flowers remained. In the nursery “Rozītes”, the Trubiņi family cultivate, test and select for a collection only the most beautiful and resilient rose varieties, buying the young plants from the largest European and best Latvian rose growers. The visitors can explore the plant nursery and receive consultations about rose cultivation, as well as buy rose plants. The visitors can also check out about 400 different varieties of roses.

It is recommended to arrange the visit in advance.

Address: “Rozītes”, Sēme parish, Tukums region. Tel.: 26469604, www.dailasrozes.lv

Decorative Garden of Ligita Čukure — Magnolia Garden in Engure

The garden of Ligita Čukure — a resident of Engure — was created as a landscape garden offering scenic views from various viewpoints. The garden boasts with many exotic trees and bushes, and, alongside magnolia of various species, there is a small collection of peonies, a beautiful selection of English roses and other interesting plants. Each plant has its own story of how it reached the garden.

The decorative garden together with buildings takes up an area of 2000 square metres and is situated very close to the seashore. The garden is changeable and keeps developing every year with an increasing range of plants. The garden owner will gladly share practical advice in cultivating and tending to magnolia.

Those who wish to spend some time in Engure can not only visit the garden but also stay at Ligita’s, because the family have set up a tourist spot, too — accommodation to enjoy the beauty of the garden and the nearby sea.

Potential visitors are asked to arrange the visit in advance.

Address:Jūras iela 59, Engure, Engure parish, Engure region. Tel.: 29424424, FB: Magnolia Park - holiday huts

“Garden of Irises” of Laimonis Zaķis

The garden of irises in the area of Kandava, which was set up in 2006, is owned by the selectionist of gladiolas and irises Laimonis Zaķis, who has been selecting plants for more than 30 years. In the second part of the 1990-ties, Laimonis Zaķis was the first who introduced and popularised the dwarf bearded irises in Latvia and started their selection.

A new stimulus for a more active work with large-leaf irises was the visit to the Florence iris competition garden in 2006. It was back then that Laimonis decided: “I, too, will have an iris garden, which not only I will enjoy, but that I can share with other flower-enthusiasts, too, by opening the garden to visitors during the season!”. As a result, the first furrows were made on an empty lot — at the territory of an old apple orchard — in the fall of 2006, and within three years, the entire collection was moved to the new location; the collection was supplemented through selection work, by intensively crossing the most recent foreign varieties to create new, resilient and lavishly blooming varieties suitable for the climate of Latvia.

Today, Laimonis Zaķis is the owner of the largest dwarf bearded iris collection, and he has created several dozens of dwarf iris varieties, whereas the total number of bulbous plant varieties created by him now exceeds several hundreds. During the flowering season, the owner organises open door days in his garden. Here, the visitors can feast their eyes not only on irises at the beginning of the summer, but also on gladiolas at the end of the summer. Whereas at times, when there are fewer chores in the garden and less work on the collection, Laimonis Zaķis can be invited to speak about his collection and the beauty of bulbous plants.

Even though the owner this year can be found on site nearly all the time, it is recommended to arrange the visit in advance.

Address: “Intes”, Kandava parish, Kandava region. Tel.: 29286353, www.irisgarden.lv

Garden of Jānis Auziņš “Hederas”

Over a period of more than 15 years, the seedling grower Jānis Auziņš has turned an empty field near Tukums into an admirable garden. Everything in it has been created through own efforts to bring plans and dreams to life. Gradually, the garden acquired the appearance that the owner had wanted: with the rich plantations, ponds, streams, bridges and masonry garden elements.

Decorative plants are cultivated at the farm “Hederas”. This is where various thujas, junipers, decorative spruces, false cypresses, decorative shrubs, as well as wintergreens are cultivated. A total of about 200 varieties. The owner Jānis Auziņš offers to explore the farm and to share advice in cultivating decorative plants.

It is recommended to arrange the visit in advance.

Address: “Hederas”, Tume parish, Tukums region. Tel.: 26434558

Garden of Inta Seredjuka in Vāne

At the garden of Inta Seredjuka in the rural municipality of Vāne, around 150 dahlia varieties are flowering from the end of summer until frost sets in. The owner has been a collector of vegetables and plants for 20 years now, and at least 1000 tomato varieties and 50 potato varieties, alongside other unusual vegetables, are cultivated in this garden. Here, you will be surprised to see white cucumbers, purple tomatoes, goji berries, melons and watermelons.

In this garden, the owner also pays a lot of attention to cultivating ancient varieties of fruit and vegetables. Here, the old apple-tree varieties are cultivated to ensure their survival. With admirable love, even the most fragile varieties are nursed and cherished. The ambience at the farm is reminiscent of an old farm house with industrious Latvians at work.

In one part of the garden, a recreational area is set up with a bonfire site, where you can enjoy a meal brought along without haste.

Inta is shy and humble — characteristics typical of a Latvian — because when travellers stop by at her garden, she tends to say: “It’s not that much to look at here.”

Potential visitors are asked to arrange the visit in advance.

Address:“Attiņi”, Vāne parish, Kandava region. Tel.: 22192013

Jānis’ Garden in Vāne

The retired teacher Jautrīte Ozola and her family have been cultivating roses in large greenhouses since the 1980-ties. During the summer season (May-September), you can visit the greenhouses, buy roses and rose plants.

Jānis, the son of Ms Jautrīte, has joined her to work at the garden, which means that soon we will be referring to this garden as Jānis’ garden.

The owners of the garden — a retired teacher Jautrīte Ozola and her son Jānis — are predominantly working with cultivating rose plants both in greenhouses and outdoors. This is the right time to buy rose plants, and the owners also offer individual and group consultations about the most suitable varieties. The flowering season in the garden starts after the summer solstice, so all you have to do is make arrangements to go on a visit.

Potential visitors are asked to arrange the visit in advance.

Address: "Sarmas", Vāne parish, Kandava region. Tel.: 29324193, 26335583

The Garden of Grosi Family in Kandava

The garden featuring architecturally beautiful shapes and colours where the lavish flowering season starts with the red trillium. The springtime splendour is manifested in the blossoming cherry tree alley, beautiful sceneries of euphorbia, candytuft, and primula. The early rhododendrons are in full bloom, but any time now, the high season and late will follow.

This is the first year of the white trillium flowering in the garden. A beautiful carpet blooms around the broom (cytisus decumbens). During the summers, tree like peonies add to the flowering chorus. The garden landscape changes every fortnight.

The owner gladly welcomes individual and group visitors. Potential visitors are asked to arrange the visit in advance.

Address: Vidzemes iela 5, Kandava, Kandava region. Tel.: 26486451

Historic Gardens and Park

Durbe Manor Park

The Durbe Manor Park in Tukums was created from 1918 until 1838, when Count Medem carried out reconstructions of the Durbe Manor and improved its surroundings. The park was created in line with the designs of English landscape parks as large tree-covered areas are replaced with small clusters and free-standing trees, which together with small ponds, uneven terrain and a web of winding footpaths along vast lawns and the manor as the centre piece constituted an inimitable scenery.

Trees brought from Siberia and Germany were planted in the park. This is also the home to the biggest Weymouth pine (Pinus strobus L.) in Latvia. Its circumference measures 3.18 metres.

Address: Durbes pils, M.Parka iela 7, Tukums

Tukums Town Park

The town park was set up in 1869 near the Lielā Street at the proposal of the Governor of Courland. The park was set up and gifted to the town by the owner of the Durbe and Šlokenbeka Manor Baron von der Recke, who was a passionate tree grower himself. Countless species of trees used to grow in the park. Initially, it only had walking paths, but already in late 19th century, an open-air stage and a dance area was set up there, whereas in the first half of the 20th century, a small restaurant adorned with wood carvings was built and it became a favourite place of relaxation for the local residents of Tukums. Since then, the park has stood witness to innumerable festivities and romantic nights. In early 20th century, an orchestra used to play at the pavilion during the summers. There were carousels operating in the Soviet times.

For a long time, the park had been forgotten, but in the summer of 2016, it was restored, and now visitors have access to one of the oldest parts of the park, where extensive playgrounds have been set up for children of various ages, along with walking trails and benches. A summer café “Kates krepes” has been set up at the park where you can enjoy a refreshing drink and delicious pancakes.

In the winter season, the Christmas Tree Forest enters the town and elves build a village, which during the Advent season is visited by the Father Christmas. Whereas, during the Easter, rabbits take over the park. In the summer, the largest town festivals — the Rose Festival in Tukums and the Marriage Games — are celebrated in the Pauzers meadows, which sits next to the park.

It is planned to completely restore the old section of the park and make improvements to it for nature lovers; a new part of the park will be set up for the sportier visitors to the park.

Address: Lielā iela 36a, Tukums

Vecmokas Manor Park and Alleys

The park of Vecmokas was set up in the first part of the 19th century, when the Vecmokas Manor was owned by the Barons von Oelsen. At the park, local and introduced tree species grew, among them for example, the European larch (Larix decidua), box elder (Acer negundo) and the sycamore (Acer pseudoplanatus), hawthorn (Crataegus alemanniensis), honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), silver willow (Salix alba ‘Sericea’), black and red lace (Sambukus nigra and Sambukus racemosa), the Swedish whitebeam (Sorbus intermedia), the Hungarian lilac (Syringa josikaea), common (English) elm (Ulmus glabra) etc.

Even though the former Vecmokas manor park has not been kept up and is now overgrown with local species, it still stands out and attracts attention with several particularly lavish and long lime tree (Tilia x vulgaris) alleys. Three lime tree alleys lead to the manor buildings. One of them is the longest Dutch lime tree alley in Latvia (around 1 km).

Address: Vecmokas Manor, Vecmokas, Tume parish, Tukums region

Jaunmokas Manor Park

The first records about Jaunmokas date back to the mid-16th century, but a more rapid development of the manor took place later on. The park was set up in mid-19th century. Soon afterwards, the manor estate was bought by George Armitsted (1847–1912), who at that time was still a town councillor, but later became the most noteworthy Riga City mayor and, in 1901, according to the design by Wilhelm Bockslaff (1858–1945) built the currently standing Jaunmokas Palace.

Even though it appears that the park is only of secondary importance, nevertheless, its serene ambience and shade offered during the sweltering heat of the summer has always been an important part of the palace estate. The manor flourished at a time when uncountable exotic tree species were imported and introduced in Latvia, some of which were successful to adapt to our cold and changeable weather conditions.

Even though there is not a lot of written or photographic evidence about the park, it appears that the oak-trees and ash-trees witnessed how our reddish brown palace was built, while some of the apple trees and sweet cherries, which still bloom and yield harvest today, gave fruit to palace residents already back in the first half of the 20th century. Likewise, bright yellow wild tulips still adorn the lawns in the springtime.

A particular source of pride of the park is the centenarian lime tree alleys, which in mid-July are buzzing and on sunny days exude a mind-blowing scent.

Today, the palace is surrounded by lush rose bushes, vines, while apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, cherries and berry bushes ripen their fruits, bunches and clusters of herbal plants radiate aromas, while rhododendrons in the springtime prepare their brightly coloured blossoms, planted one-by-one by people important to the palace and to Latvia, as well as young couples that have celebrated their wedding day in Jaunmokas.

Address: Jaunmokas Manor, Tume parish, Tukums region

Jaunpils Manor Park

The creation of the Jaunpils Manor landscaping park started in mid-19th century during the reign of Kristoff von der Recke (1836–1899). Legend has it that the nobleman had instructed the gardener to plant the trees in a way that, upon bloom, they would form the coat of arms of the Recke family. In late 19th century, gravel-covered pathways criss-crossed the park. There are curious objects of interests in the park — several heritage trees and a stone bridge with an engraved monogram of the castle owner Baron Georg August von der Recke (1871–1905), who died prematurely at the Karlsbad Resort, along with the year “G. A. v. d. R. – 1905”. A romantic path along the riverside will take you to the Love Stone, which back in the day used to be a popular place to rendez-vous.

Since 2018, the scenery of the Jaunpils park is dotted with a herd of sheep. The idea of these “lawn mowers” was borrowed from England and Ireland, where this practice has been preserved since time immemorial. Besides, grazing is the best way of restoring biodiversity of flora in the lawn. The sheep can be spotted in the park from the warmer spring days until October.

The park is an architectural monument of national importance dating back to the mid-19th century. Within its territory, the watermill of Jaunpils, built more than 200 years ago, can also be seen, but next to the park is the most notable building of Jaunpils and the most frequently visited tourist object — the Jaunpils Castle, which still has preserved its historic air of the medieval era. The Medieval Festival is celebrated here at the beginning of August.

The Jaunpils Manor Park can also be seen in the film by the Latvian director Arvīds Krievs “Dancis pa trim” (2011).

Address: Jaunpils, Jaunpils parish, Jaunpils region

Aizupe Manor Park

Aizupe Manor Estate near the Imula River was built between 1820 and 1823 during the times of Adolf Georg Hahn. Some sources say that the creation of the park started already in the 18th century, while others claim that it was formed around 1830 covering an area of about 14 ha, with local and exotic tree and bush species. Here, you can find beautiful alleys of thujas, oak-trees, beech and chestnut trees.

Thujas of all species found in Europe grow in this unique park. In the front of the manor building, once stood a front yard with exotic plants, on the western side, a landscape park with viewing perspectives, but on the eastern side, a long alley and to the south — a dendrological alley along the road and a dendrarium, in which plants are arranged according to the geographical principle.

The park once was a vast landscape park with a rich dendrological composition; it also served as the training base of the former Aizupe Forest Technical School. After the Technical School was moved to Ogre and the property changed hands several times, the park was no longer cared for or maintained.

The Aizupe Manor building is an architectural monument of national importance. The building is one of the most notable examples of classicism style in Latvia, which has fully maintained the building scope and layout of premises.

The Aizupe Manor Estate is a private property and therefore can only be viewed from the outside.

Address: Aizupe Manor, Aizupe, Vāne parish, Kandava region

Dendrological and Exotic Plantations

Lāčupīte Dendrarium

The scenic Lāčupīte Dendrarium — full name “Lāčupe dendrological plantations of Igors Mednis” — is a particularly protected natural territory, and it was granted the status of a natural monument to ensure the preservation and proliferation of the valuable foreign tree plantations in the territory. The dendrology enthusiast, whose day job was a building engineer, Igors Mednis (1891–2001) started developing the plantations in 1959, when he planted the walnut tree that he had obtained from the garden of the sculptor Kārlis Zemdega. The objective of creating a dendrarium was propagate foreign trees and shrubs to observe the interaction between various species uncharacteristic of Latvia with local biotopes.

Plants for the dendrarium have been sourced from 68 different locations in Latvia and abroad — Estonia, Lithuania, Crimea, the Caucasus region, Far East, Poland, Germany and elsewhere. I. Mednis created and assessed the tree collection in co-operation with the National Botanical Garden (Salaspils) and the Latvian Society of Dendrologists.

The current area of plantations is 7.2 ha, and approximately 60 species of conifers and 350 species of deciduous trees grow here. Several of the trees planted here, such as the sweet or edible chestnut, the rhodiola semenovii and others, are among the most notable examples of the species in Latvia. Owing to the moderate maritime climate, such species that struggle to survive the winters of Latvia elsewhere, feel at home in the dendrarium, including, for instance, the Japanese cedar, oplopanax, Korean maple, etc.

However, the most lavish display here can be observed in May and June, when rhododendrons are in bloom.

You can reach the dendrarium by foot from the Riga-Talsi highway, as it is situated in the dune zone, where entry by car is forbidden. A sign is set up on the roadside, from where a forest path leads towards the sea. A pedestrian bridge is built across the Lāčupīte stream, after which turn left and walk another 150 m on the forest path until you reach the plantations.

Address: Between Klapkalnciems and Apšuciems, Engure parish, Engure region

Pūre Alpinarium

The Pūre Alpinarium is a rock garden with extensive plantations of conifers, deciduous trees, decorative shrubs, wintergreens, bulbous flowers and summer flowers.

The Alpinarium is situated in the Pūre Manor Park, where it was set up in the 1960-ties by the gardeners of the Pūre Horticultural Experimentation Station. Approximately 100 species of trees and shrubs grow here each identified with informative signs.

It is believed that the Pūre Manor Park itself, however, was set up in the 19th century, when the masters’ quarters underwent major reconstruction. The park had renaissance style terraces facing the River Abava. An alley led into the park ending in a round reception yard. The plantations of the manor park predominantly included local deciduous trees — maples, birch, lime and elm, as well as around 100 various introduced tree and shrub species. The park is set up as a scenic composition that leads to the manor and the vault.

A wonderful scenery opens up from the Alpinarium and the manor park over the Ancient Abava River Valley.

Address: Next to the Pūre Manor, Pūre, Pūre parish, Tukums region

Mulberry Plantations in Cēre

Mulberry trees are found in abundance in such Far East countries as Japan, China, Korea and India, but they not at all common in Latvia. The oldest known plantations in Latvia are found in the Cēre municipality. The exotic mulberry trees were planted in the Cēre rural municipality at the “Vīnkalni” homestead in 1930. The mulberry is cultivated in its country of origin China to provide food for silkworms, and back then they thought that silk could also be made in Latvia. With the support of the government, the owner of the house at the time Anete Cute purchased seeds in Northern Italy and started developing a mulberry tree plantation, however World War II interrupted these efforts.

From the original plantations, 43 black and white mulberry trees (Morus nigra, Morus alba) still remain in Vīnkalni, and, having weathered very rough climate, continue growing and have now reached the height of 4–8 metres. Nevertheless, these only represent a fraction of the plantation created at that time.

Mulberries blossom in late May, simultaneously budding leaves and blossoms, and every year they give a yield — the deep purple sweet-and-sour berries that resemble brambles. The mulberry flowers are clustered in drooping catkins. The flowers are greenish-white. Mulberries ripen gradually from mid-summer onwards. When the berries are very ripe, they fall off.

The owners at “Vīnkalni” pick the berries and freeze them, so they can also be tasted in the off-season. Mulberry tree leaves can be made into a tea and are recommended for diabetes patients.

By making arrangements in advance, you can also go on a short walk around the garden. The most suitable time for a visit will be the flowering season or when the fruit are ripe.

Address: “Vīnkalni”, Cēre parish, Kandava region

The Wind Garden in Smārde

Not far from the Smārde railroad station, next to the monument of the outstanding Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle, is the Wind Garden. It is a park-dendrarium created according to the project of the landscape architect Dace Lukševica.

At the scenic park, you can see more than 100 various species of plants, trees and shrubs with the total number of around 550 units covering an area of 1.9 ha. Each group of plants is accompanied by a unique name. The Wind Garden was planted by the locals of the Smārde rural municipality themselves, which is why you will find the good thoughts, positive energy and love of industrious people at the park unveiled in the fall of 2012. The bright aura permeating in the park is strengthened with ancient Latvian songs of fertility, harmony and love.

The park is a great place to spend time together with children. From the artificial hillock, you can see the great swing set, the sport trail loaded with fun activities and paths where you can spend enjoyable times.

Address: Smārde, Smārde parish, Engure region

Come for a visit to discover the beauty of Tukums!