The Laarmantuin is a 3 hectare area within the Botanical Gardens in Haren.
What is the special value of the Laarmantuin collection for the Netherlands?
The Laarmantuin collection is spread over three areas, namely the ‘Open Area of the Laarmantuin’, the Pinetum and the Arboretum. The special value of each of these areas is discussed below.
To the best of our knowledge there are no other similar collections in the Netherlands. The combination of a Pinetum, an ecological garden with rare vegetation and unusual species from the Northern Hemisphere (Northwestern Europe, Asia and North America), and an Arboretum with a semi-
The Open Area of the Laarmantuin
Ever since it was laid out in the 1920’s, this part of the Laarmantuin was designed to be viewed as an exhibition garden founded on two basic principles. On the one hand it is a formal garden, firmly rooted in a centuries-
In the 1920’s and 1930’s there was a greater awareness in some quarters of society about how plant communities developed together. The creation of the Laarmantuin must be viewed in the context of its time; the garden is an early expression of a revolution in thinking about nature and how plant species behave. So the Laarmantuin can also be seen as a cultural-
The ‘Open Area of the Laarmantuin’ consists of various (semi)natural types of vegetation from the Northern Hemisphere. Many of these are rare specimens originating in Northwest Europe and other temperate zones (Asia, North America). In this way the Laarmantuin presents a broad overview of species and vegetation from the Northern Hemisphere.
The types of vegetation to be found here are often rare. There are various plots with wet heathland, dry and wet chalk grassland, nutritionally-
The aim was to create a great variety of groups. There had to be room for peat mosses, liverworts, lichens, horsetails, clubmoss, ferns, conifers, sedges, grasses, rushes, annuals, biennials, bulbs, rosettes, orchids, carnivorous plants like sundew and butterwort, etc. In order to maintain this variety, much attention was paid to the natural placing of species. Of course this doesn’t always succeed completely but plants that are not wanted or that spread too much are removed so that the desired species can be seen.
On the other hand, an attempt was made to maintain ecological principles in the planting. Methods of control are strictly specified, including mowing, turfing, irrigation and fertilising. The results can be seen in the species which react positively, whether exotic or native plants. The rule here was also: weeding and planting were necessary to create the best effect.
This double purpose has much to do with the period in which the Laarmantuin was laid out. In the 1920’s and 1930’s there was a greater awareness in some quarters of society about how plant communities developed together. Science became far more involved. At that time in the Netherlands there arose a movement in favour of active nature management, because people realised how much the landscape and nature in the Netherlands owed its shape to human intervention. It is thanks to this realisation that we can now enjoy such magnificent areas of nature which depend on good management.
The garden is an early expression of a revolution in thinking about nature and how plant species behave. For that reason adopting two basic principles in laying out the garden was normal and logical. A Botanical Garden had always been seen as a display garden, designed with an educational function in mind. This meant that there always had to be many different species on display. One can still see the commitment and insight which was applied to show off the relationship between plant development and the prevalent circumstances.
So the Laarmantuin must be viewed as a monument of national significance, in the same way as every other monument or artwork which displays an important and fundamental change in human thought. In this case it is a monument to a new approach to nature, which resulted in significant advances in the way in which nature is managed in this country. This has had an enormous influence on our present-
It must also be remembered that the gardens play an important role in the region, and above all in Haren, in enabling people to experience nature at first hand. It goes without saying that the Association of the Friends of the Hortus comprises many members who live in Haren. For this large group of people the gardens play an important role in finding peace and tranquillity.
The Pinetum contains a rich collection of pine trees and conifers, a large number of which were planted more than 70 years ago. The collection gives a broad overview of this family with specimens from East Asia, North America and Mid-
The Arboretum presents a representative overview of broad-
The Laarmantuin area of wild plants in the Hortus botanicus Haren becomes part of the National Plant Collection.
There was much rejoicing in the Hortus Botanicus Haren, when it was announced in December 2013 that the wild plant garden (the Laarmantuin) had been approved as a part of the National Plant Collection. The status, which is awarded by the Dutch foundation ‘Stichting Nationale Plantencollectie’, emphasises the national importance of the Hortus Haren as a botanical garden.