Photo: Ciril Mlinar Cic


From May 1st to September 30th,
each day from 8.30 to18.30 hrs.


Albert Bois de Chesne chose his site on Tožbar’s land, 50 metres above St. Mary’s Church, where the Soča River runs 30 metres below. At an altitude of 800 metres, the site lay on a slope of Mt Kukla, and measured 2572 square metres in extent. Thanks to the humidity, light and shade, shelter from the winds, variegated tarrain, and scattered rocks of different sizes, this piece of land was most suitable for his intentions. Several trees already grew there: spruces, larches, white beeches, small ashes, and beeches. The land was cleared and a few of the trees cut down. As there was no water source in the Garden, a reservoir was put in below the waterfall on the slopes of Mt Kukla, pipes installed, a cement cistern built, and from there water was drawn through pipes into the Garden. Now it only needed to be enclosed and by autumn the of 1926 all the preliminary work had been done. During the winter, Bois de Chesne studied works on the Julian alpine flora; in the spring of 1927 he undertook the field work. He began to bring specimens from the mountains and transplanted them into the garden. The plants, after they had been cleaned at their sites of origin, were brought in knapsacks and baskets individually wrapped in damp moss. Bois de Chesne tried to create environmental conditions similar to those of the natural environment for the plants, basing the Garden on the achievements of the biological and geographical sciences. Kugy had stated that a garden should represent a botanical journey from the valley onto some Julian peak and that the vegetation belts should succeed one other just as in nature. Thus, the fence at the lowermost part was surrounded by valley flora, while higher up the land was planted with the high alpine flora of the undergrowth found in beech and spruce forests; the damp-loving marsh marigolds and butterworts surrounded the trough, and above were the tall plants and the dwarf pines; just under the peak there were stone crevices and screes where the high alpine flora was given its niche.

Albert Bois de Chesne took great pleasure in his garden, although he also had many disappointments. He transplanted ferns carefully, but by no means did they want to flourish, and it was only when he used roofing paper to separate the ferns from neighbouring tree roots that he stopped them from withering away. There were difficulties with plants that preferred to grow in acidic soil. Bois de Chesne's workers had to remove a part of the limestone undersoil, lay down two layers of roofing paper, followed by porphiry and rocks from the Werfen layer at Rabelj, while the soil was unmodified humus, dug from under dwarf pines at an elevation of 1600 metres, and mixed with peat. Those plants known to be acid-loving were watered with rain water only.

The majority of the plants in the Garden were brought from the eastern and western Julian Alps, the Friuli hills, the Karst meadow, and the prealpine world; a few were from the Karawanken and Kamnik Alps. To the left of the entrance, plants of foreign origin obtained from the Western Alps, the Pyrenees, the Apennines, the Atlas, and Caucasus, were planted.

Bois de Chesne chose one of the Tožbar family, Anton, as the gardener, a grandson of "Death-of-a-Bear" and sent to him to school in Padua (Italy). Later he was helped in the Garden by Ančka Kavs. Both remained faithful to Juliana for many years after the Second World War, when its founder could no longer visit it.