Where spring begins earlier
Albert Bois de Chesne had worked to organize the Garden on an ecological basis, by associations, so that each individual flower bed would represent a cross-section of the natural environment, while the entire Garden would be a colourful mosaic of the flora of our Alps. We have already mentioned the difficulties he had. The strong influence of the Mediterranean can be felt thoughout the Soča valley as its climate is much milder than in Kranjska Gora on the other side of Vršič. The submediterranean flora extends far into the interior of the Julian Alps. Even the location of Juliana itself, lying on the southern slope of Kukla, offers far better conditions for karstian plants than for the high alpine flora. Much work and love was necessary to bring Juliana to life and to keep it flourishing. We can hardly imagine how difficult it was to transplant the modest little plants, used to a bare handful of soil in rocky crevices and to the bitter spring winds, into Trenta, onto a windless slope, where spring started a month or two earlier. In such a garden it was necessary to create an environment similar to their natural habitats. Despite all efforts, many plants do not flourish because of the draught in summer, while during the past few years the snowless winters have had an adverse effects. Perhaps the plants do not like the soil, and sometimes they are displaced by competitors .The king of the Alps, a cushion-forming plant with pale blue flowers and the moss campion usually cease to flourish after one year. Their site are rocky crevices and gravel just below the mountain peaks, so it is understandable that they find it difficult to acclimate to an altitude of only 800 metres. Other less sensitive plants survive several years, while others still undergo changes. The white of the edelweiss turns pale green in a few years. The Triglav cinquefoil whose large flowers remind us of the Zlatorog’s bloody trail only rarely blooms in the Garden.
Most of the flowers are perennials while a few are annuals or biannuals. These are taken care of in the nursery. The gardeners patiently gather seeds which they plant in this Garden. Thus, they avoid carrying a large number of new plants from the mountains every year. Some perennials are also started from seeds. A portion of the seeds are sent to the Ljubljana Botanical Garden which every year publishes the Index Seminum, including the list from Trenta. Seeds are also sent to other botanical gardens around the world in exchange for others.
The only alpine garden in Slovenia
Juliana is the first and only alpine garden in Slovenia. Despite some deficiencies that cannot be avoided, it does contain the most characteristic and most beautiful examples of the flora of the Slovene Alps, foothills, and the karst.
The Garden is not only meant for botanists who study flora professionally, but particularly for people who love the mountains and the outdoors. Only they will know to stop at a minute blossom of Zois’s bell flower or by the cushions of the "squarrose saxifrage". Many who come by chance in July or August, still all agog at the colourful meadows of Kriški podi or Sleme, will be disappointed. Although high in the mountains the summer has barely begun and only the earliest plants have flowered, in the Trenta valley the visitor is greeted by the first harbingers of the fall. The majority of these visitors give a cursory look at the flower beds and barely stop for a moment at the belvedere where they do not even notice the rare blossoms of the Triglav cinquefoil. Then they hurry onwards, perhaps to the sea, perhaps to collect a new stamp (a collector's item from mountain huts). Truly, Juliana is at its most beautiful in May and the beginning of June, when the primroses and gentians are in bloom, and a little later the daphnes, the saxifrages, dianthuses, and rhododendrons. However, there are many other small, perhaps less noticeable plants that are equally beautiful and worthy of the visitor's attention.