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19/06/2021

Garden Pearls in Tukums and Vicinity

A visit to gardens and parks is an appealing destination, because there you can simultaneously enjoy the beauty of nature and weather the heat or hide from sudden downpours.

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 Pils Street 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.

Meanwhile, in Tukums — the town of roses — both in the summer and autumn, 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 around the town. In the vicinity of Tukums, you can find manor estates from various ages and gardens and parks of various types surrounding them. Whereas those who enjoy decorative gardens, can see numerous collection gardens, decorative gardens or nurseries.

Collection Gardens and Decorative Gardens

The decorative garden of Dace Lukševica in located in Tukums. A scenic and well-considered garden around the house, whose owner is the landscape architect and where each plant finds its place in a well-considered and ideally suiting overall garden ensemble. The lavish decorative garden will welcome everyone with a vast collection and diversity of plants, accompanied by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the owner. The largest collection of the garden — more than 120 hostas.

Magnolias across the globe are referred to as the tree queens, because their rosy white and pink blossoms do not leave anyone unimpressed. There are only about 120 magnolia varieties across the globe, but only a bit more than 10 of these are able to grow in Latvian climate. It is a true joy to see the magnolia blossoms at the Magnolia garden of Ligita Čukure in Engure, where a lavish decorative garden is set up in an area of nearly 2 ha with the main focus on magnolias. The whole garden is a true scenic pleasure also during the rest of the summer because the owner is very fond of horticulture. You will be able to find many beautiful roses or peonies in the garden.

The focus of attention of Daila and Bruno Trubiņi — the rose garden “Rozītes” in the rural municipality of Sēme has been cared for already by three generations. During the rose blossom period, eyes are dazzled by the bright range of rose colours. Nearly 450 varieties of roses are found in “Rozītes” and overall nearly 5000 rose plants are growing in the garden. A leisurely walk and getting away from the busy urban life — this can be the objective of visiting this garden. The owner will offer to buy rose seedlings for your garden and happily advise about growing roses.

At the Vāne rural municipality house “Sarmas”, where a third-generation rose grower Jānis Blūms has created a splendid rose nursery “Jāņa Dārzs”. Here, the grandmother of Jānis — a retired teacher — started working here in mid-1980-ties, and with her enthusiasm she drew in both her son and grandson. Today, you can see 150 different rose varieties at the garden, including hybrid varieties obtained from world-renowned rose selectionists and they are given the names of outstanding artists.

From the end of the summer until the first frost, you can visit the garden of Inta Serdjuka near Kandava to see the spectacular dahlias — nearly 150 varieties, as well as many different tomato varieties and other interesting plants and vegetables. The visit must be arranged in advance, and during the visit, the guests will be accompanied by the owner’s enthusiastic narrative and the humility typical of Latvians. “Oh no, I don’t have anything particularly noteworthy here!”

In 2006, Laimonis Zaķis from the region of Kandava visited the Florence International Iris Competition, and this gave him impetus to create his own iris garden. So today, at the Garden of irises of Laimonis Zaķis, you can see the largest dwarf bearded iris collection, of which several dozens have been selected by the owner of the garden himself. Apart from irises, there are also other bulbous flowers at the garden of Mr Zaķis. During the time of bloom of irises and gladioli, Laimonis welcomes everyone to attend open days at his garden.

Over 15 years, out of nothing and in the middle of an empty field, not far from Tukums, a local of Kurzeme Jānis Auziņš has created a splendid garden with nearly 200 various coniferous plant species, including thuja, junipers, decorative trees and shrubs. At the farm “Hederas” you will have the opportunity to explore the farm and see how the dream and vision have become a reality. The garden is speckled with little ponds, wooden bridges and various masonry elements.

Historic parks and alleys

The Tukums Town park, like the phoenix, has arisen from ashes. In 1869, the park was created by the then owner of the Durbe and Šlokenbeka manors — Baron von der Recke. Back in the day, the park was boasting with versatile dendrological plantations, an open-air stage and walkways. In 2016, the park was revived with new-found enthusiasm, and now there are various species of exotic decorative shrubs, restored walkways and benches to bring joy to walkers and cyclists alike. The park also has a modern playground with various activities and a summer café.

Durbe Manor Park in Tukums was set up in the 1930-ties when Count von Medem completed extensive reconstructions of the manor building and improvements of the surrounding area. The park is created following the design of English landscape parks with an infrastructure of windy paths accompanied by large tree stands. The largest Weymouth pine in Latvia grows here, and the architectural monuments that were built during the reconstruction still stand here — the park rotunda and the large masonry bridge across the ravine.

An open-air stage is nestled in one of the park’s ravines; it was set up here already back in 1920-ties, when the Tukums Community Centre organised summer solstice festival celebration here to cultivate the local social life. In 1928, the poet Rainis, the President of the State Gustavs Zemgals, alongside other prominent officials took part in the first song festival of the Tukums region. In 1957, the open-air stage of Durbe was destroyed in the storm, so in 1963 the wooden structure of the Durbe stage as it stands now was built. It suffered in January 2011 due to the heavy snowfall, when the roof of the stage caved in, but, according to music specialists, it has made the acoustics at Durbe stage even better.

A historic ambience will be awaiting you while enjoying a walk at the Jaunpils Castle park surrounded by centenarian trees. The creation of the park was started in mid-19th century during the rule of the von der Recke family. According to stories, the park was created to replicate the coat of arms of the von der Recke family. Here you will be able to spot several heritage trees accompanied by a range of historic objects, gravel paths and a romantic stone bridge. Since 2018, starting with the first warm days of the summer until nearly October, you can spot some sheep at the park, who are in charge of “mowing” the lawn.

Jaunmokas Manor - a lavish and elegant red brick building near Tukums. Even though the manor is elegant, the park and the newly created garden give it the right ambience during a visit. The manor park boasts with a grandiose lime tree alley spanning several dozens of metres, as well as the rhododendrons blossoming beautifully in the early summer; these were planted here by prominent people of Latvia and newlyweds. The park ensemble is accompanied by the large pond with a fountain in front of the manor, as well as ornamental flower beds established in 2020.

The alleys of the Vecmokas Manor park were created in the 19th century when the manor was owned by Baron von Elsen. Only ruins remain from the manor, but the splendid lime tree alleys are still worth visiting and are particularly scenic under any weather conditions. The more than a kilometre long Dutch lime tree alley is the longest in Latvia with about 300 exceptional trees growing there.

The Aizupe Manor on the banks of River Imula was constructed in early 19th century. There is a unique park within the manor territory containing all types of thuja varieties growing in Europe. The park covers an area of nearly 14 ha, and apart from the grandiose thuja, oak tree and horse chestnut alleys, there are also various exotic plants and a dendrarium planted according to a geographic principle. The manor and the park are currently under private ownership and can only be viewed from the outside, while respecting private property.

The 1820-ties are claimed to mark the beginnings of the Kukšas Manor park when the manor was owned by the von Betiher family, for whom the gardener Jākobsons worked. Initially, it was a free layout scenic park rich with exotic plantations to the east and north side of the manor. Today, this historic garden has acquired a different appearance. Thanks to its current owner Daniel Jahn, several garden areas are created around the manor, one of which is the so-called kitchen garden with a number of various herbs that come in handy in the day-to-day life of the manor kitchen.

The beautiful landscape of the Rūmene Manor is enveloped by a park that is believed to be designed in 1890 by the gardening architect, the director of Riga’s parks Georgs Kūfalts, who was among the most notable landscape architects and is also the author of the Viesturdārzs and Arkādijas park. There are no written records of it, however upon surveying the structures and layout of the park plantations, you can spot certain composition approaches that are typical of Kūfalts’ works of the time in Riga and Latvia, as well as in Estonian and Russian manor parks. When restoring the manor complex, the park reconstruction works were led by the landscape architect Daiga Veinberga in co-operation with SIA “Vides projektu studija”, preserving the gravel roads that are very typical to the rural scene, alongside 364 rare trees which the park could boast about in the early days. The Italian renaissance style terrace that connects the manor building with the park and the pergolas covered with wines will create a special air in festive moments. There are three glass sculptures designed in a unique technique by the Latvian artist ernestO (Ernests Vītiņš).

Dendrological Plantations and Gardens

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore rare plants along improved walkways in the dendrological park “Vāgneris” near Tukums. The creation of “Vagner’s Garden” was started here in 1890, and over the years a large farm was established here owned by the enthusiastic Fridrihs Vāgners. Today, you can see several species of lime trees, elms, spiraea and rowan trees here. The pride of the garden is, of course, the large beech tree with its hanging branches.

Whereas on the seashore, the dendrology enthusiast Igors Mednis established the Lāčupīte Dendrarium in 1959 which covers more than 7 ha along the banks of the small River Lāčupīte. The best time to visit the dendrarium is from May until June when rhododendrons are in bloom. Whereas the small forest trails and the mild sea air are perfect for a romantic walk also during other times and for enjoying the beautiful plantations. In 2020, the Lāčupīte Garden of Well-being was set up near the dendrarium, creating 15 areas each having a different ambience: the Forest Fairy’s garden, the Solar Bay, the Shore of Inspiration, the Valley of Truth, the Air Road, the Relaxation Zone and the kinetic trail, the Power Forest, the Peace Harbour, the Forest of Thoughts, the Dream Valley, two labyrinths, the Snake’s Nest, the Dragon’s Kingdom, the Dwarf for the inner child. There are various signs, direction markers, pedestrian walkways, recreation sites, as well as a playground.

The creation of “Wind Garden” in Smārde was started in 2009 during the Great Clean-up, and it was set up and created by the locals of Smārde in line with the design by the landscape architect Dace Lukševica. There are about 700 different varieties and species of trees and shrubs in the garden. The garden covers a total of just under 2 ha with an artificial dam from which a beautiful scenery opens up of the Wind Garden, the Sports Trail for children and the large swing set.

China, Japan, Korea — lands of the Far East where mulberry trees are common and grow nearly in every garden. The further north, the less common they are, and in Latvia they are considered exotic plants. Yet, unique mulberry plantations can be found in the Cēre municipality homestead “Vīnkalni”. A total of 43 black and white mulberry trees are preserved here and show off their beauty in late May and early June.

An Alpinarium is set up in the centre of Pūre — a rockery that seamlessly blends into the landscape with rich plantations, starting with decorative shrubs, conifers and deciduous plants to flowers and perennial plants. The Alpinarium was created in 1960-ties by the horticulturists of the experimental horticultural station of Pūre, by planting more than 160 various plants typical in Alpine meadows but that were available right here in the Baltic region, such as ivies and yew trees from the Blue Mountains of Dundaga, leymus from the Couronian dunes, sprouting house-leeks from Estonia, wild lilies and carnations, anemones, hyacinths and other bulbous plants. The Alpinarium was left abandoned for many years, but now it is receiving the care and is being renovated again.

Family owned decorative gardens

At the Pūre municipality, in the territory of the guest house “Ružciems”, you can explore the decorative garden of the artist Laila Kelle, both equally bright and colourful. The garden here is filled with colourful flowers, several decorative shrubs and fruit shrubs that melt with the surroundings and allow enjoying a calm peace.

Windy lines and well considered plant bed compositions can be enjoyed at the decorative garden of the Grosi family in Kandava. The creation of the garden around the house started in 2011, and it features an excellent gradual plantation: from very low open space plants to decorative shrubs. The garden is unique with the choice of plants because it is bright and colourful throughout the blooming season from early spring until late fall.

Ziedonis Garden in Mālkalns

Mālkalns (the Clay Hill) in Tukums earned its name because it has lots of clay deposits at its base. A beautiful scenery opens up from here onto the town and Jelgavas street. The creation of the cherry orchard in honour of the outstanding poet Imants Ziedonis was started in 2010, and it is expanded each year with various cherry varieties. Today, there are nearly 700 cherry trees which blossom in the springtime like white snow heaps, and about a half of these start bearing fruit around mid-summer.

In the future, it is planned that a special garden is created on Mālkalns — a museum of Imants Ziedonis in Tukums “Ziedonis Garden in Mālkalns” where you can simply experience the beauty of nature, attend a Garden and Forest School, learn about different types of gardens and even participate in their creation or maintenance.

Rose Route of Tukums

Tukums has long been known as the Town of Roses. 70–80 years ago, there were several active plant nurseries in Tukums. After World War II, they formed the basis of Tukums’ model nursery, which was renowned far and wide for its skills and expertise in growing roses and other flowering plants, as well as breeding new cultivars.

Today, Tukums is renowned as the Town of Roses due to its Rose Festival, which includes making the largest wreath of real roses in the world. Sēme Rural Territory on the outskirts of Tukums is where ArB Agro, the largest nursery of roses, as well as Rozītes, ones of the largest rose collection gardens, are located.

To make it easier to navigate the Town of Roses, we have developed this special Rose Route.