’So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.’1st letter of St Paul to the Chorintians, chapter 3
’Trees do not lie’
Dr. Folly Gyula
’Our botanic garden is not simply an arboretum of many. It is not only a unique collection of cedars and cypresses, but our family history.’
dr. Folly Réka
The arboretum has been part of the highly protected area of the Balaton Uplands National Park since 1997. The oldest planted trees are 115 years old. Although the arboretum is small, its dendrological values are internationally recognized. The collection of evergreens offers a great opportunity for a botanical demonstration of pines, therefore it can also serve as an educational base area.
The permian red sandstone creep inside the fences and the oak woods, which can be regarded as original plant community of the area, add to the nature conservation value of the arboretum.
The Folly family besides running the botanic garden grows herbs and runs a tree nursery, where visitors can buy saplings and shrubs of different size.
The quality and variety, represented by the arboretum, relates to Folly’s own products, as well, which represent a significant source of income.
The exhibition ’Folly - One garden, one family’ has been displayed on the territory of the arboretum in a former wine-press house, already marked on property sheets of 1858, and served as a wine cellar of Folly until 2020. As a result of conversion and modernization of the wine cellar, the exhibition venue now has educational and event space functions.
The central element of the exhibition is an interactive projection – a series of videos with the help of which we show the flora of the garden and the history of the Folly family and the arboretum. You can wander over the area following a route of your choice and you can learn about what Folly Arboretum really means – has meant for 115 years now - in an entertaining way.
Have a nice time!
Coordinated work of many trades makes it possible for our guests to enjoy their stay and feel the same as we do:
Folly- it is the Garden of Eden of lake Balaton
ˮMy father devoted a lot of time and energy to maintain and develop the arboretum. I am proud that he struggled hard to purchase back the estates lost because of the nationalization, therefore in Hungary only our family managed to preserve, tend and develop the garden founded in 1905 by our great-grandfather. This sense of responsibility was the most determining when I said yes to his question whether I would help to continue this work. Originally, I obtained my degree on a general medical faculty, then I got married and during the time my children were born I completed my studies on a dental faculty. I was planning to take the professional exam of maxillofacial surgery, which I could have done in Budapest, but 10 years ago we moved back home from Budapest with my husband and our three children, since then we have been running the arboretum.
Our great-grandfather planted the first trees, our grandfather continued the work despite all the troubles communism meant at the time, then our father regained possession of the stolen estates and opened the family’s treasure to the public. We, the fourth generation, strive to live up to their example.ˮ
dr. Folly Réka
In the 17th century Kisörs already belonged to the Eszterházy family, however, as Károly died without an heir, the area of nearly ten hectares was sold by auction and Csigó István, landowner, mill owner obtained it and later it became the possession of his son, Csigó Pál, member of parliement. At the University of Vienna Pál’s son, Csigó Kálmán became a close friend of Folly Gyula Mátyás, who visits the family on their estate in Gyulakeszi. The history of the Folly arboretum actually begins here, as this visit will be followed by love and marriage: dr. Folly Gyula Mátyás, the doctor of the Zsolnay family in Pécs marries Csigó Elza in 1889. Elza’s sister, Aranka, who never got married, cultivates vines on the hill of Kisörs at this time, the founder gets the area of today’s Old Arboretum from her as a present.
It was Folly Gyula Mátyás who discovered the deep-valley-like protection of the territory and in 1905 planted the first pine trees ˮindulging in his crazy passionˮ, thus creating the central part of today’s unique Folly Arboretum. He bought pine seedlings, which were then unknown in Hungary, from different parts of the world. At the time the major part of the area was a vineyard and initially it was only possible to plant the submediterranian plants on a smaller area of the estate, on the place of today’s Old Arboretum, around the present statue of Virgin Mary.
Later his son, dr. Folly Gyula and the grandson, Folly Gyula, agricultural engineer, continued the work, while the territory was nationalized.
After the change of the regime the family did not get back the nationalized areas as compensation, so they bought back the territories earlier belonging to the family.
In the Folly family Gyula followed Gyula – until the fourth generation. Today the founder’s great-grandchildren own the arboretum with the winery, managed by Folly Réka and her husband, Werner Péter. The arboretum employs 50 people. On the territory of 5 hectares, which can be visited all year round, you can see 400 variants of conifers, 200 different types of deciduous trees and shrubs and thousands of perennial flowers. The arboretum is situated in a microclimatic corner, therefore there is a higher level of humidity in the air on its territory, which is especially favorable for the submediterranean plants.
ˮTheir love, faith and hard work are preserved in the trees, instilling in them a much deeper meaning for us than mere dendrological attractions. This is what makes our garden special for our visitors, too, who will instantly feel the special atmosphere!ˮ
dr. Folly Réka