2016 saw the Society visit Berlin and Poland. The meeting was in two locations; initially based in Berlin, Germany and then in Poznań and Warsaw, Poland. The Society has visited Germany a number of times before but never the area round Berlin. We visited Warsaw in 2000 prior to the Conference held that year in Dresden and visited Poland again in 2002 so it has been a number of years and another visit was well overdue. In this, the third of my four informal reports on the meeting, I will concentrate on the first half of our visit to Poland saving our final day for my last report next month. For my other reports, please click Berlin and Warsaw - Part 1, Berlin and Warsaw - Part 2 or Berlin and Warsaw - Part 4. Please note that these reports have been written by myself, Fiona Woolfenden.
Travel to PoznańAfter four enjoyable days in Berlin we set off early in the morning for Poznań which is a town on the way to Warsaw. Our bus driver, Tomas, was actually Polish so we had no qualms about the journey, knowing that he would look after us. At lunch time Tomas suggested that he could cook German sausages for us and a number of people were pleased to accept the offer. Tomas had done this before when he was our bus driver on our 2013 German Tour. We had sausage, bread, mustard and a gherkin all produced from the very small kitchen that none of us had realized was there until today. At our motorway stop to eat our sausages we were all pleased to note that a tall wire fence behind the facilities has been planted with a number of what looked like Clematis orientalis plants. These were a little past their best but a lovely surprise for us clematis fanatics.
German Sausage lunch cooked by Tomas, our bus driver The kitchen
Arboretum KórnikAfter our Bus lunch we travelled to the Arboretum at Kórnik, 20 km south-east of Poznań and the largest and oldest arboretum in Poland. Our organisers had planned this stop so that we could enjoy the arboretum and stretch our legs after the long bus journey before traveling onto Poznań. We all dispersed in different directions to investigate the Arboretum, which was big enough that we could all walk and explore at different speeds and feel that we were on our own as we rarely saw the rest of our group. The philadelphus plants were in flower and smelt very good. I have no idea which varieties we saw and could smell but they had a very strong lemony scent. We could see that there had been a number of rhododendrons and azaleas out in flower earlier but these had now finished.
Arboretum Kórnik sign We go exploring Arboretum Kórnik Arboretum Kórnik Pictures in Arboretum Kórnik
Poznań Market PlaceWe then travelled to Poznań where we stayed the night just outside the town. Poznań is one of the oldest cities in Poland and the fifth biggest today. We were able to go and visit the old Market Place and we had a guided walking tour of this lovely town centre. There were a number of market stalls selling craft items and many of us came away with a purchase. The old Town Hall in the centre was very fine. The first version of the building was completed in about 1300 but the current form dates from about 1555 and it has been successively rebuilt after then, the latest rebuild being completed in 1999. You may be able to make out the dates 1555 and 1999 on either side of the building. Afterwards we went into Restaurant Brovaria and admired their beer making facilities before trying some ourselves. You may notice the big screen above our table in the picture below which was showing a UEFA football match (it was that time again!) The match was Austria vs. Hungary. Austria lost much to one of our members' chagrin, Werner Stastny, who although has lived in Sweden for many years, is Austrian by birth. Werner, unfortunately, had a prime seat to see Austria defeated.
Poznań Market Place Poznań Market Place Poznań Market Place Poznań Market Place Church in Poznań Market Place Restaurant Brovaria Beer making equipment in Restaurant Brovaria Restaurant Brovaria
Warsaw City TourThe next day we set off for Warsaw and arrived early afternoon so we had time for a guided tour of the city. It was another opportunity for us to stretch our legs after travelling for most of the day. As part of our Warsaw City Tour we specifically visited the memorial to Fryderyk Chopin as we were to enjoy a piano recital later and later we passed the memorial to Cardinal Wyszyński. Brother Stefan Franczak introduced clematis which he named after both these famous Polish people. Our guided tour took us to the Warsaw City Walls and then into the central square in Warsaw. It was quite busy with Tourists and we had to keep up with our guide so that we did not lose one another. The central town area including the market square was rebuilt after the Second World War to look as it did in the late 18th century as most of it was completely destroyed during the Second World War, as we saw at the Warsaw Rising Museum the next day. I understand that the late 18th century was chosen as the period for reconstruction as that there are drawings and documentary evidence of what it looked like available. The centre of Warsaw is now a UNESCO world heritage site. For more information: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/30
At the end of our City Tour we had a lovely clematis surprise. Szczepan and Barbara Marczyński had joined us for the Tour and Szczepan took us into a Monastery or Convent along from the Warsaw Palace and through to a small square at the back where there were some clematis planted on a fence surrounding a little courtyard with a lovely white statue of a group. The courtyard was built on the edge of a slope so that the ground dropped away towards the River Vistula. We descended some steps at the side of the courtyard and were able to look back and upwards and the clematis looked even better from below. What pleasure the clematis flowers must give to those who use the courtyard.
Memorial to Fryderyk Chopin Memorial to Cardinal Wyszyński Warsaw City Walls Warsaw Central Square Our group in Warsaw Central Square The River Vistula from the City Walls
Clematis surrounding the courtyard Statue Group Clematis 'Beautiful Bride' Looking up from below at the clematis fence
Chopin ConcertOur first day in Warsaw ended in style with a Chopin Piano Concert, just for us. Our guided walking tour of Warsaw ended at Łazienki-Park, where we were invited by Szczepan Marczyński and his Business Partners of Clematis Container Nursery Źródło Dobrych Pnączy to a Fryderyk Chopin piano recital by Maria Skurjat-Silva at the Łazienki Palace. The recital was very good, melodic music in lovely surroundings.
For those of you who would like to hear a little of Fryderyk Chopin's music and enjoy a number of photos of Polish Clematis please click on the following link below http://www.clematis.com.pl/en/vines-in-garden/video-tutorials/994-clematis-chopin.
The Łazienki Palace The piano in the Łazienki Palace
Warsaw Rising MuseumOn the morning of our first full day in Warsaw we headed for the Warsaw Rising Museum dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. I have been here before and I find it a traumatic experience to see what the people of Warsaw suffered both from the German and Soviet occupations. Events that hopefully will never be repeated. Looking for clematis interest I saw the following commemorative memorials. Brother Stefan Franczak named a clematis after both Krystyna Krahelska, known as 'Danuta' who was a Polish poet, ethnographer, member of the Home Army, and a participant in the Warsaw Uprising, and Warsaw Nike who is used in the Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw.
For more information, please visit http://www.1944.pl/en/
Krystyna Krahelska - Danuta Warsaw Nike
Warsaw University Botanic GardensThe next stop was the Warsaw University Botanic Gardens, founded in 1818 but was completely destroyed in the Second World War. It has been rebuilt and the original plant collections redesigned and expanded. We did find a number of clematis which is always a bonus. As I have said before, often Botanic Gardens do not contain many. The gardens consisted of some pretty formal parts and other more functional areas where there were examples of the different groups of plants. There were also some sculptures or statues present to give a mix of interest. On our arrival we were given a lovely little guide book in English containing a lot of information and a number of postcards of botanical drawings. It was a nice and interesting memento of our visit. There were a number of early small and large flowering clematis but these had all finished flowering. There were some varieties by Brother Stefan Franczak but again these had finished flowering. Those I noted in flower were C. integrifolia, C. recta and C. mandshurica. One other clematis in flower was, I think, C. 'Arabella'. This was used to under plant a yellow rose and looked very effective as you can see below. I had heard of C. 'Juuli' being used as under planting so I was interested to see C. 'Arabella' used in the same way.
For more information please visit http://www.ogrod.uw.edu.pl/aktualnosci/aktualnosci_eng.htm
C. integrifolia C. recta Clematis seed head Formal flower bed C. 'Arabella' A yellow rose under planted with C. 'Arabella' C. mandshurica Stone ornament
Warsaw University Library Roof GardenWe stopped to visit the roof garden of the Warsaw University Library opened in 2002. Not exactly the place you would expect to see clematis but we did. Admittedly all the clematis apart from a few early flowering members of the atragene group all the clematis were clematis tangutica seedlings but they had found places to grow and used the available supports. I understand that originally C. 'Aureolin' had been planted but the plants that were there now were all now seedlings. The path upwards to the roof was to the left of the dome on the first picture and the steps took us up and behind onto the roof. On our visit the overall effect was harmonious planting of green and yellow which the clematis tangutica complemented. Although much of the planting was low growing, for example yellow flowering cistus plants, there were a number of taller plants such as conifers. As a complete contrast there was also a bed of red roses. The view of the City of Warsaw from the top of the Library was interesting as well and well worth the climb.
Warsaw University Library Climbing up to the roof Interesting structures C. tangutica on the way up Yellow and green on the top C. tangutica on the railings Red roses on the roof A view of Warsaw
Next MonthNext month I will cover our final day in Warsaw at the Clematis Container Nursery Źródło Dobrych Pnączy (Source of Good Climbers) of Szczepan Marczyński and his Business Partners and our visit to Brother Stefan Franczak's garden. Here are a few early photos of the final report.
For my other reports, please click Berlin and Warsaw - Part 1, Berlin and Warsaw - Part 2 or Berlin and Warsaw - Part 4.
Clematis at Źródło Dobrych Pnączy C. 'Kryspina', bred by Brother Stefan Franczak The Secretary and President admiring Clematis Clematis at Źródło Dobrych Pnączy
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