The same point of view: MU Faculty of Science then and now – the area in front of the greenhouses

The year 1997 saw the rebuilding of the so-called plant system’, now situated in a regular series of flower beds in the middle of the garden. The ‘plant system’ is an example of the systematic division of plants, where plants are placed in flower beds according to their family relationships. The beds host more than 85 families, representing more than 1,500 taxa. 

3 May 2021 Magdaléna Chytrá

The original garden, which comprised a series of rectangular flowerbeds bordered by concrete curbs in front of the old greenhouses, was based on Takhtajjans plant phylogenetic system, based on a comparison of the morphological features of different plants. This system was in use in our country until about the turn of the millennium, after which molecular methods for examining species relatedness became more common. These methods reveal the true genetic relationships between species. In todays flower beds, the families are based on the system created by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) published in the 14th version on the APWeb (Angiosperm Phylogeny Website). Research on these plant relationships is still ongoing. 

The area in front of the greenhouses has been dedicated to the plant systemsince the 1920s. Photo: MU Archive, undated. 

In the area in front of the greenhouses, four stone fountains designed by the sculptor Jan Šimek were installed in 1997, which were then ceremoniously opened to the public. The four fountains, which are constructed from different types of rock (limestone, slate, sandstone and granite), are called the springs of the Earth. Originally, there was a fifth fountain made of wood in front of the tallest greenhouse; however, the sands of time took their toll and the wooden structure eventually had to be removed. The ground space in front of the greenhouses visually resembles the shape of the greenhouses themselves, as if their facade had been laid on the ground. Within the arched spaces there are benches surrounded by a hedge of European privet. 

Since 1997, the area in front of the greenhouses has been decorated with four stone fountains known as ‘The springs of the Earth. Photo: Libor Teplý, 2019. 

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