Americká zahrada National Nature Monument

The Americká zahrada Garden, covering an area of 1.89 ha, was declared a protected area in the category of national nature monument by the Ministry of Culture in 1969. The arboretum is currently owned by the Forests of the Czech Republic State Company and the monument is managed by the Administration of the Český les Protected Landscape Area. This exceptional dendrological collection is of natural and cultural value and serves as a study ground for the ecological valence of introduced tree species in central European conditions.
 
The American Gardens can be found in the Žďár forest complex under the Bolfánek lookout tower and around 2 kilometres from the small town of Chudenice and not far from the town of Švihov in the Plzeňský kraj (Plzeň Region). It was originally a part of the American Garden, which was founded in 1828 as a nursery for foreign plants for the extensive parklands around the nearby Lázeňský dům (Spa House) in Chudenice. From 1832, the gardens were used as a supply garden (to provide replacements for the dead trees in the park) and between 1841 and 1848 was gradually developed into a collection of foreign, predominantly North American tree species. The foundation of the arboretum can be dated to 1842. The instigator was Evžen Černín – the co-founder of the Dendrological Society in Průhonice. Work to found the arboretum was carried out by the gardener Karel Zahn, in co-operation with the forester Basel and the famous Czech botanist Professor Ladislav Čelakovský. In the years 1847–48 a total of 143 tree species were planted here and during the second quarter of the 19th century more than 600 decorative tree species had already been planted here. Many of these were attractive trees with coloured or decorative leaves, unusual flowers or unusual growth patterns.

The Americká zahrada NNM is the most complete collection of introduced tree species in the country. Some of the trees were planted when the American Garden was first founded. Among the most significant tree species in the Americká zahrada we can find the:

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii); a North American species which is the state tree in Oregon.

  • “Černín’s Douglas“ – a unique, 165-year-old example of exceptional size (height 39m, circumference of the trunk more than 5m), which was brought here as a 3-year-old tree from Flottbeck near Hamburg in 1842, making it one of the oldest Douglas firs in Europe. This tree is named after the founder of the arboretum. In its homeland it can grow to a height of 60m.

Flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida) – a North American species which is the state tree in Virginia and Missouri. The tree-sized example in the American Garden is unique within Europe. The flowering dogwood decorates the garden in several seasons of the year. It flowers in May and June, but the blossom is not what instantly catches our eye. The flowers are quite small, but they are surrounded by four to six large, white bracts. This gives the impression that the tree has flowers of up to 10cm in diameter. The flowering dogwood bears oval-shaped, scarlet-coloured stone fruits.

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) – a North American tree species in origin. A massive multi-trunked example from the original plantings from 1842. In its homeland this species can grow up to 45m in height.

Hiba tree (Thujopsis dolabrata) – the species comes from Japan. A unique example from the original plantings from 1842. A sensitive tree species which rarely survives in the central European climatic conditions.