Autumn fairy tale: Botanical Garden breaks all attendance records after its reconstruction

The Botanical Garden was visited by 5,000 people over October weekends – earlier such figures were registered only after its opening, when visits were free of charge. To avoid ticket office queues, the Garden launched online sales of tickets.

After the reconstruction initiated and sponsored by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, the Central Botanical Garden of Almaty became the favourite place for the city inhabitants to visit. The number of guests does not fall down even with the first cold spells. People come here to escape from the city hustle and bustle, walk outdoors, enjoy the autumn beauty and just take pictures in the bosom of nature.

“In summer, after the opening, access to the garden was free of charge for a while. Naturally, everybody wanted to see how the garden changed, and the attendance on those days was record- breaking – 5,000 people a day. Then the access became chargeable and the flow slightly decreased at first, but it constantly grew from month to month. The average attendance in summer was 3,400 people a day, in autumn – 2,600. But there were spikes on weekends, when the number of visitors again reached 5,000 people,” says Director of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction Gulnara Sitpayeva.

To avoid crowds at the entrance, the Botanical Garden management introduced the online
purchase of tickets. So far the service is available for Beeline subscribers, from mid-November it
will be available in the Kaspi.kz mobile application too.

“For the convenience of our visitors, we have launched sales of entrance tickets by means of text
messages sent to a short number 5505. This mode can so far be used by Beeline subscribers only.
From 10 November sales of tickets in Кaspi.kz and My Beeline applications will start,”
continues Gulnara Sitpayeva.

In October, for the second time after the opening, the Botanical Garden management held yet another fair of plants where the city people could buy house flowers.

“The has being held for a week, next to the conservatory. We were selling pot plants grown in our conservatory and greenhouses. Succulents were in the greatest demand. Prices varied from 500 to 2,000 tenge. We plan to hold such sales on a regular basis. You also can buy from us some planting material for allotment gardens – there are various kinds of trees and shrubs, the survivability of which we guarantee,” emphasizes the head of the institute.

In addition, they resumed excursions carried out in the Botanical Garden. The management hopes that the excursions will be popular among schoolchildren. The groups are meant to be small due to the epidemiological situation in the country. Compliance with sanitary standards is strictly monitored: entrance is allowed only in a face-mask, markings for social distance and sanitizers for hand treatment are available.

“We are launching regular excursion days from November: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Excursions are conducted by our dendrologists in the Russian and Kazakh languages. Several routes have been developed. The tour lasts an hour and a half. During the excursions, you can learn a lot of interesting things about the history of the Botanical Garden itself, as well as about individual plants, which we are especially proud of – because we have plants from different continents; we have rare Red Book plants. A publication dedicated to excursions in the Botanical Garden will be released by a publishing house in the nearest future,” says Gulnara Sitpayeva.

Currently they are preparing the garden for winter: cutting roses, covering them with chipped wood. Works will be carried out to prevent freezing of the root system of magnolias and sakuras planted during the reconstruction, crowns of Japanese maples and rhododendrons will be sheltered for the winter. Swans from the restored pond have already been transported to the zoo’s covered pavilions for the winter. Fish will stay in the pond for the winter, just like out in the wild.

“In the nearest future we plan to hold master classes for visitors, fairs, arrangement of topic- specific picture zones. Only outdoor leisure events are envisaged in the garden, therefore all activities will take into account weather conditions. And we also have no objective to turn the Botanical Garden into the place for entertainments, our primary mission is scientific research and environmental protection, and the purpose of events is to raise the level of the ecological education and the environmental culture,” notes our interlocutor.

Unlike parks, the Botanical Garden has documented collection funds of plants that is the heritage and pride of Kazakhstan. The plant funds are dated back to 1932. In the near prospective, the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction plans to undertake:

  • research of plants for greening of various regions of Kazakhstan;
  • renovation of laboratory buildings and equipping them with modern scientific equipment and special machinery to take care of plants;
  • overhaul of the conservatory and greenhouse complex and replication of the commercially valuable assortment of indoor plants.

“After the completion of the Botanical Garden reconstruction project, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation is financing the drawing up of the design and estimate documentation for the conservatory renovation. Also, landscape architect Nelly Lapteva continues to support and provide expert advice on some works related to completed plantings. We will continue the work through collaboration with partners and our own events to strengthen the garden’s position as the favourite place to visit for inhabitants and guests of Almaty and as a place that promotes raising both educational and cultural levels of the population. We believe that the entire culture of the society starts from the culture of attitude to the environment,” summarised Gulnara Sitpayeva.

Reconstruction of the Botanical Garden was initiated in 2018 by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and completed in June 2020. The purpose of this project was restoration of the Botanical Garden while preserving its territory entirety and distinctiveness, infrastructure modernisation and multiplication of the green reserves. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocated for the reconstruction 15 million dollars.