Haaga Rhododendron Park, Helsinki, Finland
© Samuli Vainionpää/Getty Image
Cool bloomers. Haaga Rhododendron Park
This stunning display of colour in Helsinki began life as a science experiment – to create rhododendron plants that would thrive in Finland’s northern climate. Back in 1975, it was a research location for the University of Helsinki which planted about 3,000 species of a Japanese variety of the plants here. These were then selectively bred to produce eight new varieties over the years.
Fast forward a few decades, and the explosion of summer colour at the Haaga Rhododendron Park draws thousands of locals and tourists each year. In 1996, the park was expanded to include azalea plants which are in the same rhododendron family and bloom at the same time. Since the gardens were planted, a bit of fluctuation has been noted in the blooms’ performance. A vibrant year is usually followed by a more modest one. So, if you’re ‘rhodo-loco’ and planning on making the trip, try to time it right.