Kestutis Labanauskas

Palanga Botanical Park, and fragment of the sculpture EGLE, QUEEN OF THE SERPENTS. Photos by Danute Mukiene, 2003
There is a unique combination of values in Palanga park. It was created by French landscape architect Edouard André combining nature and cultural values. Here mythology is connected with science, the legends continue and supplement living history, unique relictive pinery blends with rare flora, chosen by experts known all over the world. Ancient archaeological art merges with the greatest contribution of modern artists. The most famous historical symbol is the hill of Birute, announced as an archaeological monument of republic matter. Values of Birute hill inspired the later expression of creation (chapel, image of Lourde, composition “Tau, Birute” (For you, Birute).
In the respect of composition very suggestive place is given to a palace, built and projected by architect F. Schwechten, neorenaisance style in 1897. For forming their terrace soil was taken from a nearby marshy pit establishing picturesque ponds of the park with an island.
Looking from the ponds palace is very notable. Raise into 4,5 metres height and overt compositions maintains a perfect visibility from the park.
The favourable precondition to park's projection was the acquaintance of F. Tiskevicius with E. André and F. Schwechten. They were collaborating in native to Antanina Tiskeviciene Poznane great duchy, where they have restored the palace and park of Samostrzele. Then F. Tiskevicius invited F. Schwechten and E. André to Palanga.
His son René André helped his father with his projects (his article about this work is very important). Planting lasted for several years at the end of the 19 century receiving help from Belgian planter Buyssens de Coulon. It's necessary to accentuate father's and son's André attentiveness to relictive Palanga pinery: the most important aim was to leave the forest untouched, to keep its wrath and majesty.
The wiseness of the project needs to be accentuated: a marsh was drained according to this project and a pond was established instead of it. The soil for seedlings was improved by peaty black earth taken from that pond.
The unique for Lithuania dendroflora assortment was applicated in the part of Palanga - about 500 species of trees, bushes and convolvulus. So for serious reasons a park of Palanga is one of the parks of landscape standards.
By his example my teacher dendrologist L. Cibiras later grounded comprehensive method of old green plantations research and application.
It's a pity that an original list of assortment used by E. André hasn't been found yet.
Only half of its species survived - some of the plants didn't pass the exam of the climate, the others were ruined by vandalism and neglection during two World wars and hard post-war times.
The sources of research during post-war years in Palanga park present 255 species and forms (among them 43 spontaneous, 212 introducted which include 35 new, 12 doubtful and 2 extincted).
It seams that comprehensive explorations and the search of dendrological sources would ground the renovation of Lithuania's parks projected by E. André with authentic plants.
For that reason the collection of Palanga park dendroflora is a fund of gold for Lithuanian dendrology.
Palanga park is unique considering the architectural, dendrological artistic values, also archeological and historical heritage. So because of that it deserves an international importance (it was created by specialists of different nations). That's why on the occasion of centenary a conference should send a resolution to Lithuania's Government and ICOMOS service suggesting that Palanga park should be included into the World's Heritage list.
Prepared by: Labanauskas K. The review and conclusions of the values of Palanga park // Lietuvos zeldynu ateitis /sud. Regimantas Pilkauskas. - Vilnius: Publishing Office of  Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, 2001. P. 38-39

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