Berlin Warsaw 2016 Logo©Nils Klaeser
Logo art work by Nils Kläser

Part 3

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 Poznań

After 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©Ken Woolfenden The kitchen©Ken Woolfenden

German Sausage lunch cooked by Tomas, our bus driver

The kitchen

Clematis orientalis©Ken Woolfenden Clematis orientalis'©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis orientalis

Arboretum Kórnik

After 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©Ken Woolfenden We go exploring Arboretum Kórnik©Ken Woolfenden

Arboretum Kórnik sign

We go exploring Arboretum Kórnik

Arboretum Kórnik©Ken Woolfenden Pictures in Arboretum Kórnik©Ken Woolfenden

Arboretum Kórnik

Pictures in Arboretum Kórnik

Poznań Market Place

We 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©Ken Woolfenden Poznań Market Place©Ken Woolfenden

Poznań Market Place

Poznań Market Place

Poznań Market Place©Ken Woolfenden Poznań Market Place©Ken Woolfenden

Poznań Market Place

Poznań Market Place

Church in Poznań Market Place©Ken Woolfenden Restaurant Brovaria©Ken Woolfenden

Church in Poznań Market Place

Restaurant Brovaria

Beer making equipment in Restaurant Brovaria©Ken Woolfenden Restaurant Brovaria©Fiona Woolfenden

Beer making equipment in Restaurant Brovaria

Restaurant Brovaria

Warsaw City Tour

The 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:
Memorial to Fryderyk Chopin©Ken Woolfenden Memorial to Cardinal Wyszyński©Ken Woolfenden

Memorial to Fryderyk Chopin

Memorial to Cardinal Wyszyński

Warsaw City Walls©Ken Woolfenden Warsaw Central Square©Ken Woolfenden

Warsaw City Walls

Warsaw Central Square

Our group in Warsaw Central Square©Ken Woolfenden The River Vistula from the City Walls©Ken Woolfenden

Our group in Warsaw Central Square

The River Vistula from the City Walls

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.
Clematis surrounding the courtyard©Ken Woolfenden Statue Group©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis surrounding the courtyard

Statue Group

Clematis 'Beautiful Bride'©Ken Woolfenden Looking up from below at the clematis fence©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis 'Beautiful Bride'

Looking up from below at the clematis fence

Chopin Concert

Our 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.
The Łazienki Palace©Fiona Woolfenden The piano in the Łazienki Palace©Fiona Woolfenden

The Łazienki Palace

The piano in the Łazienki Palace

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

Warsaw Rising Museum

On 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.
Krystyna Krahelska - Danuta©Fiona Woolfenden Warsaw Nike©Fiona Woolfenden

Krystyna Krahelska - Danuta

Warsaw Nike

For more information, please visit

Warsaw University Botanic Gardens

The 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.
C. integrifolia©Ken Woolfenden C. recta©Ken Woolfenden

C. integrifolia

C. recta

Clematis seed head©Ken Woolfenden Formal flower bed©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis seed head

Formal flower bed

C. 'Arabella'©Ken Woolfenden A yellow rose under planted with C. 'Arabella'©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Arabella'

A yellow rose under planted with C. 'Arabella'

C. mandshurica©Ken Woolfenden Stone ornament©Ken Woolfenden

C. mandshurica

Stone ornament

For more information please visit

Warsaw University Library Roof Garden

We 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©Ken Woolfenden Climbing up to the roof©Ken Woolfenden

Warsaw University Library

Climbing up to the roof

Interesting structures©Ken Woolfenden C. tangutica on the way up©Ken Woolfenden

Interesting structures

C. tangutica on the way up

Yellow and green on the top©Ken Woolfenden C. tangutica on the railings©Ken Woolfenden

Yellow and green on the top

C. tangutica on the railings

Red roses on the roof©Ken Woolfenden A view of Warsaw©Ken Woolfenden

Red roses on the roof

A view of Warsaw

Next Month

Next 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.
Clematis at Źródło Dobrych Pnączy©Ken Woolfenden C. 'Kryspina', bred by Brother Stefan Franczak©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis at Źródło Dobrych Pnączy

C. 'Kryspina', bred by Brother Stefan Franczak

The Secretary and President admiring Clematis©Ken Woolfenden Clematis at Źródło Dobrych Pnączy©Ken Woolfenden

The Secretary and President admiring Clematis

Clematis at Źródło Dobrych Pnączy

For my other reports, please click Berlin and Warsaw - Part 1, Berlin and Warsaw - Part 2 or Berlin and Warsaw - Part 4.

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