ARBORETUM OF DAGMAR AND VÁCLAV HAVEL
“The best moment to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best moment is now.”
– Chinese proverb
About trees & Arboretums
People have planted trees throughout the ages. Commemorative trees have always reminded us of past events, with avenues leading us through the countryside and helping us remember past generations. The idea of collecting special tree specimens in one place stretches back centuries, with Arboretums established in many countries. Trees are our lifelong companions.
During the historic presidencies of Václav Havel in The Czech Republic (1998-2003), he and his wife Dagmar accepted a large number of specimen trees as gifts from many world leaders and other dignitaries. The nursery collection has been carefully tended by Mrs. Dagmar Havlová in the chateau grounds of Lány Castle and now a unique Arboretum is being established in Ostrá near Lysá nad Labem where the trees form the initial section of the Arboretum. Such figures as Hillary Clinton, Christiane Herzog, the wife of the German president and Tomáš Baťa are among the world´s prominent people who have contributed to the collection .
The Arboretum of Dagmar and Václav Havel is not only a unique botanical collection of rare tree species, but it is also significant from the cultural and historical point of view. It reminds us, and the next generations, of the past and prominent members of our society, as well as of the moments which – commemorated by the symbolic planting of trees – should not be forgotten. The Arboretum becomes a lasting historical record, as well as a meeting place and an extensive botanical garden; a garden for leisure and appreciation of nature, and an opporutunity for future botanical research. Its significance reaches beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. The mission of the Arboretum project is not only to expand the collection of trees, but also to promote the idea of learning about nature and having a responsible approach to the landscape and the whole ecosystem in the heart of Europe. You are most welcome to visit.
People & Arboretum
“When my wife Dagmar brought the first tree – taxus marci – from Taiwan in 1998 (by the way, its needles are used in the treatment of cancer), it became the first collection item in the newly established botanical gardens which she dreamed about and finally located in the Lány Castle. In the course of time, she approched no less than fifty prominent people: Hillary Clinton, the Jordanian queen Noor, Tomáš Baťa and others, and in the following six years, new trees were added to her collection. Even the actual planting of the donated trees was done by famous cultural and political figures. After the end of my presidency, it seemed right that this collection would be looked after with real loving care. Therefore, it was entrusted to the world renowned company Botanicus from Ostrá near Lysá nad Labem and the avenue has thus become an integral part of their gardens. I believe that the Arboretum will be a place of beauty, peace and meditation enjoyed by many generations of visitors“, Václav Havel.
“It has given me great pleasure to witness the world-wide resurgence of interest in the role of Botanic Gardens in recent years. Paradoxically, I suspect this might be the result of increasing awareness in society of loss of potentially important botanical resources through the direct and indirect activities of Mankind. It is therefore very encouraging to see the proposals for the Dagmar and Václav Havel Arboretum, to be sited within the organic Horticulture complex of the Botanicus organization in Bohemia. When I visited the garden complex some two years ago, I was struck by the contribution it was making not only to local rural regeneration, education, awareness of sustainable horticulture and other major botanical issues within the Czech Republic, but also by the strong positive influence its success was having on like-minded groups through Central and Eastern Europe. I am confident that it will continue to exert considerable influence far beyond its Bohemian origins.”
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
Other notable personalities who have donated trees:
Souha Arafat – Eliška Balzerová – Tomáš Baťa – Hillary Clinton – Táňa Fischerová – Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson – Dagmar Havlová – Christiane Herzog – Královna Paola – Diana Fowler LeBlanc – Lidra Meidani – Milka Mesi– Sam Nujoma – David Oddsson – Jón Olafsson – Miroslav Ondříček – Václav Postránecký – Yohey Sasakawa – Irena Schusterová – Ahmet Necdet Sezer – Sigfús R. Sigfússon – Jadran Šetlík – Aina Ulmanego