Horticulture in Brijuni

The design of green areas was approached differently during historical periods, and garden art in Croatia developed simultaneously with the European art and under its influence. In our country, it has been present since Roman times, which is proudly witnessed by Veli Brijun with its Roman Villa in Verige Bay.

Today, the island of Veli Brijun is the most important piece of park architecture in the area of Istria thanks to its arrangement in the spirit of park art of the landscape style developed in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, which aimed to create an idealized natural beauty. This cultural and historical wealth reminds us to always be aware that Brijuni to our country is much more than the presidential summer residence, and that we should treat this nature gifted to us with respect and protect what is valuable.

The Brijuni residential complex along with state residences and villas extends over three islands (a part of Veli Brijun, Vanga and Galija) and it represents a protected cultural heritage. Other than properties, which are under the protection of cultural monuments as individual goods and protected entities and of inestimable cultural value, nature and horticulture also have a special protection status.

Preservation of the natural environment is one of the essential functions of the national park in accordance with all legal guidelines for management and the Spatial Plan of the Brijuni National Park. In the management of the gardens of residential villas and the surrounding parks and forests, it is a big challenge, while preserving the traditional, not to prevent the development and opening up to the new, and to include contemporary trends in garden art while preserving key features of the natural and cultural heritage and the harmony between natural and human intervention.

The total area of the parks that we manage as part of the Zagreb residence, the Hvar villa and the Brijuni residences is about 60 ha. Of this, a third belongs to the green areas of Veli Brijun, dominated by forests of holm oak and coniferous trees, as well as areas covered with maquis and low vegetation. In the area around Bijela Vila, there is a specially protected zone where everything is subordinated to the preservation of the fundamental holm oak ecosystem and the strict preservation of the achieved harmony of forests, water and commercial areas in relation to buildings.

The flora of the Brijuni Islands mostly has true Mediterranean characteristics, so it is interesting to follow new ways of shaping Mediterranean aromatic plants as well as fresh ideas for arranging flower beds in front of residences, and also explore new varieties of perennials that have been adorning park and garden areas of residential buildings for many years.

Given that residences are huge and impressive buildings, they require equally large and decent flowers in a harmonious relationship with them. They require elegance and classics, and in Brijuni they have been recognized in hydrangea flowers for half a century. Other than grandiose round flowers, hydrangeas are also special in the flora because they can change the color of their flowers depending on the soil pH value, so for the royal blue color, the soil pH value should be lower than 5.5. These are flowers that should be treated with respect.

Whether it is an outdoor or indoor space, brightly colored flowers incredibly enhance any space and in combination with natural materials, which we have in large amounts in Brijuni, truly take your breath away and stimulate creativity, which is why there is no shortage of new visions in designing flower beds. Exotic plants for themselves tell the story about the regions from which they originate, and there is no shortage of them here either. Ever since the middle of the previous century, the flora of Brijuni has been enriched with gifts from all over the world, so even today feijoa trees, Lebanese cedar and many others proudly stand in Brijuni.

Published 7. February 2019.