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A Secret in Haren. The Hidden Empire of Ming, Hortus Haren, Haren, Groningen, The Netherlands | by Rana Pipiens
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A Secret in Haren. The Hidden Empire of Ming, Hortus Haren, Haren, Groningen, The Netherlands

Splendid weather again today! Good for cycling down to Haren, just south of Groningen to visit the Hortus Haren.

By 1917 the University's original garden (1642) founded by the first professor of botany Henricus Munting (1583-1658) had become far too small for the explosive expansion of botanical studies in the nineteenth century. The University found a new location for botany in the large country estate De Wolff just north of the village of Haren which it acquired in 1917. By 1966 the move had been completed but the Garden's fortune was bleak. In 1985 botany was scratched from biological studies in Groningen as an independent course, and there was no longer need for a researching garden. So as those things go, the University got rid of it. Today the Hortus is in the hands of a private foundation. It remains a wonderful - and very large - place to visit.

Of course, visitors have to be drawn in. Many activities are hosted for that purpose, and there are also theme gardens. One of these is this pretty Chinese Garden.

"The Hidden Empire of Ming" is one of the largest Chinese gardens in Europe. It's worth a visit in any kind of season and kind of weather. Even in snow and rain the lines and colors or lack of them are fascinating. Of course, today everything was truly resplendent! Henricus and his son Abraham Munting would no doubt have been fascinated. They had a love not only for local plants with medicinal qualities, but were also 'stunned' by exotics...

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Taken on May 24, 2012