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The Garden

Thanks to the eminent German pastor, linguist, ethnographer, folklore, and history researcher August Bilenstein (1826-1907), Dobele became one of the first places in Latvia where lilac planting, cultivation, and selection began in the late 19th century. He established a park in the German manor with many rare plant species, including lilacs.

The founder of the Institute of Horticulture's lilac garden is the notable gardener and breeder Pēteris Upītis (1896-1976). He dreamt of turning Latvia into a lilac powerhouse and Dobele into the lilac capital.

Now Dobele has become the lilac capital of Latvia, just as Pēteris Upītis dreamt. The cherry garden of the Institute of Horticulture is the most significant lilac viewing collection in Europe. Now, on a 5-hectare area, more than 300 lilac varieties and hybrids grow. The collection includes varieties bred by Latvian breeders Pēteris Upītis (1896-1976), Laimonis Kārkliņš (1923-2005), and Sarmīte Strautiņa, as well as enriching with excellent foreign breeders' (Lemuan, Kolesnikov, Mars, Preston, etc.) varieties.

The goal of the collection is to preserve and maintain the fruits of the hard work of Pēteris Upītis and other breeders, to introduce visitors to the diversity of lilacs and the achievements of breeders. Since its establishment, the lilac plantation has become a popular visiting place in Dobele, attracting a wide range of visitors.

In June 2019, the Institute of Horticulture gifted six lilac varieties bred by Pēteris Upītis and one by Laimonis Kārkliņš to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for the arrangement of Latvian plant collections, so that Latvian-bred lilacs would delight visitors from all over the world.

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