In Western Bulgaria: The botanical garden of love

Written by on June 1, 2017 in Leisure - Comments Off on In Western Bulgaria: The botanical garden of love

Note: This article was previously published on F&F Magazine, which is now part of The Sofia Globe.

Yasen Ivanov opens the gate to his garden shortly before 10:00 am. He seems to be surprised that there are visitors from Sofia this early. But he has been up for hours, working on his creation, his own botanical garden. It is a garden of love, for several reasons.

The young master student built this impressive garden on his own. He transported tons of tiny stones, for the nice paths leading through this paradise of flowers and other plants. He brought in all the earth needed, walking back and forth hundreds of times with his wheel barrow. He ordered seeds and planted them. It took several years to build Borika Botanical Garden. Yasen Ivanov is the only one in Bulgaria, and probably on the entire Balkan peninsula, who can say he built a botanical garden on his own. And it is the nicest one, on top of that. It is a garden of love. At age 5, Yasen developed his love for plants.

Just one of thousands of beautiful flowers at Borika Botanical Garden.
Just one of thousands of beautiful flowers at Borika Botanical Garden. Photo by Lea Marcus.

He told The Sofia Globe, he wanted to purchase another piece of land, adjacent to his vicinity, for even more plants. But that would cost money, and he already invested a lot. His father, who works in Ghana, already supported the project. Yasen Ivanov is hoping to make a living with this garden soon, through admissions and by selling honey. The approximately one million bees he harbors, in 13 beehives on the premises, are doing a good job. But, in order to obtain permissions, he will have to go through an exhausting bureaucratic process. Getting through the latter is his next goal.

A total of 250 kinds of plants are here, one more beautiful than the other. It is mostly flowers, but also bushes and trees. These plants come from all corners of the world. Some flowers, from South America, Africa and Asia, are so sensitive, they will have to be accommodated in the basement of his house during the cold Bulgarian winter. There are many Mexican plants, including cacti. These Agave are one kind of 20 existing ones. It is not the kind they make Tequila from.

Photo by Lea Marcus.
Photo by Lea Marcus.

Countless kinds of exotic flowers seems to be looking at the visitors walking the garden’s paths this morning. If the plants could only talk, they would be able to tell tales of long journeys and the beauty of their countries of origin. Apple and pear trees are standing there. Those tiny apples are delicious indeed. And they do not need to be washed, since Yasen Ivanov does not use any pesticides or comparable chemicals.

Photo by Lea Marcus.

There it is, a paradise in the middle of nowhere. Borika village has 100 inhabitants in summer, and far less in winter. Yasen Ivanov lives in one of the two houses belonging to his family, on his own. Borika is located some 15 kilometers from Ihtiman. The road to this village is narrow, old and full of potholes. Visitors will learn about plants, because Yasen Ivanov likes explaining everything to them, to both children and adults. They will see and experience the beauty, to quietude, the excellent air and the pond he built. It already houses some frogs, who came here, when the near-by river dried out.

Borika Botanical Garden’s Facebook page can be found here.

Photo by Lea Marcus.
Photo by Lea Marcus.
Photo by Imanuel Marcus (applies to all pictures below as well).
Photo by Imanuel Marcus (applies to all plant pictures below as well).

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He built the most beautiful botanical garden ever: Yasen Ivanov. Photo by Yasen Ivanov.
He built the most beautiful botanical garden ever: Yasen Ivanov. Photo by Yasen Ivanov.

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com