World's largest crocus collection in bloom in Latvia

Even though this year's winter has yet to depart, at the "Jaunrūjas" farm in Cēsis district, spring has already arrived with the blooming of what is claimed to be the world's largest collection of crocuses. Owners Guna and Jānis Rukšāns are inviting visitors to enjoy some early-year color for a fifth time.

The landscape is still reminiscent of Christmas time, making the contrast is even greater when you open the greenhouse door, and see a brightly blooming floral carpet.

"It rarely happens when there is half a meter of snow outside, but here, inside, it's paradise, spring, real spring!" says Jānis Rukšāns. "The first [flowers] appeared at the end of February, when there were a few warm days, and then they immediately appeared."

"If you count the collection as a whole, there are 1,700 crocus specimens, but, you see, there are green leaves, they bloom in autumn, I haven't counted, but about a third of them bloom in autumn, the rest are those that bloom in spring. It's the largest collection in the world, yes, there is no other collection where there are so many crocuses," says the owner.

The eyes of visitors are immediately drawn to one of the flower beds dominated by yellow and blue blooms.

"It turned out very well! It has come together completely by chance, you see, the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine," says Rukšāns. "I have just published a book, an addition to my first crocus monograph, and I have dedicated this book to the Ukrainian army, to the Ukrainian struggle for our freedom. From every book sold, 5 euros will be donated to the Ukrainian army, so practically, for me, it comes out as a non-profit publication, because its profits will be given to the Ukrainian army."

New visitors come to the greenhouse from time to time. Five years ago, it was the idea of ​​Jānis' wife Guna to give an opportunity to see this colorfulness display. 

"Well, why not?" she tells Latvian Radio. "I'm already very proud of those open doors. One day I told Jānis, listen, no one sees this, I'm on Facebook, let's put it here, it will be full of people – and it was."

Among the visitors, two women look at and photograph each flower with great interest. Inonanta and Ināra say that when they come here every spring.

"We are from Sigulda, we traveled for some Spring, so that at least it would feel like Spring in our hearts, because there is 30 centimeters of snow outside in Sigulda," they say.

The crocuses are now blooming, and they will be followed by larkspur, and then it will already be June with the anual peony festival. 

Visitors are accepted during daylight hours when the weather is good, but they are asked to inform about their visit at least one day in advance. More details are available at: http://www.rarebulbs.lv/index.php/en/ and by emailing: [email protected]

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