HISTORY OF THE ARBORETUM VILLAGE
It was in 1995 that the Mayoress of the village, Mrs János Hegedűs, and the proponent of the idea, László Radvány, signed an agreement to establish an “arboretum village”. The main goal of the project was to introduce special plants in the village, either non-existent or rare in Hungary, and to disseminate information about them. The project indirectly contributes to the long-term development of the village, the establishment of a more liveable environment, the embellishment of the village and to the growth of tourism. Despite successive changes in the mayor’s position, local councillors and the Radvány family have remained committed to the project.
The geographic situation of the village is highly favourable in terms of the landscape: a beautiful and peaceful area between the river Tisza and its backwater. By contrast, the climate is extremely continental with severe winters as cold as -25 to -28°C on occasions, and hot summers with long heat waves (28 to 33°C) and several months of droughts. This is a major disadvantage, particularly for establishing plants that are not accustomed to such weather conditions. The project was preceded and accompanied by extensive and thorough preparations (e.g. a search for seed and plant suppliers, studies of winter hardiness and climatic conditions, intensive examination of propagation techniques and technologies, creation of conditions for cultivation, etc.).
The development of a “collection garden” had a major importance among the initial plant establishments. The first plants in the garden were acquired through the hard work and donations of a high number of people. With the direction of Dr László Orlóci, then Chief Gardener of the famous Budapest Botanical Garden, local people bedded the plants donated to the village of Tiszaug by Dr László Orlóci, Weltra Kft., László Radvány and a Dutch botanical nursery called Zwijnenburg. The Local Government made efforts to provide due care to the area and the plants, but they were insufficient. As a result of poor watering, plant injuries caused by lawn mowing, and the reckless behaviour of certain visitors, the vast majority of the valuable plants had died out by 2007.
The collection garden has become a classic example of problems. Its sad story provided an opportunity to summarize experiences and draw conclusions. Since it was obvious that the voluntary contributions and donations should not be lost and public funds should not be wasted without proper results, new solutions had to be found. This was also necessary due to the Local Government’s gradually deteriorating financial situation.
Finally, a decision was made to involve the population of Tiszaug in implementing the “arboretum village” more than originally planned. The idea was to rely mainly on people who felt strongly about the public interest and were willing to devote their time and energy to improve and embellish the village or even to make a part of their gardens available for this noble objective.
The so-called PATRONAGE SYSTEM was introduced for plant establishments. Specifically, people were encouraged to patronise the plants, in their plots or the adjacent public areas, and to look after and take care of them. Patronage means taking due care of the plants, establishing a much higher number of ornamental trees and shrubs than before, increasing safety, and reducing the number of thefts. Caretakers confirm their commitments by signing a deluxe album, which will be preserved for posterity in the Mayor’s Office. The number of plants under patronage is rapidly increasing and has considerably surpassed the number of those under Local Government care within a short time.