About the Kumpula Garden

In Kumpula Botanic Garden, you can easily walk from one vegetation zone to another, draw inspiration from the garden of useful plants or smell the heirloom roses of the manor garden. This six-hectare open-air laboratory investigates how well plants from other parts of the world thrive in Finnish conditions. The results benefit home gardeners too.
About the garden

Kumpula Botanic Garden is located on the historic grounds of Kumpula Manor. The area is divided into a geobotanical collection and a garden of cultivated plants. Come and learn more about plants from distant lands or gain ideas for your own garden.

In the geobotanical garden, plants are arranged according to their geographical origin in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere. A one-hour tour takes you around the world of plants.

The garden of cultivated plants is represented by not only the medicinal plant patch, but also the old garden surrounding the main manor building as well as the useful plants section, which is at its peak in late summer and early autumn. The plants include a range of cereals, vegetables, root crops, dye, fragrant and forage plants, berry shrubs and fruit trees, aromatic and medicinal herbs, and old rose varieties. The useful plants are grouped according to their geographical origin.

Geobotanical collection

Plants in the geobotanical section of Kumpula Botanic Garden come from climates similar to Finland in eastern and western North America, distant Japan and the Far East, as well as various parts of Europe, and are arranged according to their native areas. Called Hortus geobotanicus, this section of the garden provides a comprehensive presentation of species in the Northern Hemisphere.

The European section of the garden also features typical Finnish vegetation, including characteristic forest species and, on land sloping downward from the manor, a mire with Finnish wetland plants, such as the unusual-looking hare’s-tail cottongrass, marsh Labrador tea, cloudberry and cranberry.

The geobotanical collection has been designed specifically for the micro-climate of the Vallilanlaakso area: the garden rises from the old Vallilanlaakso marine clay soil up a gently sloping southern moraine cliff to a rocky hillock and mounds in the northern part of the area, and culminates in mounds formed in the area of the former plant nursery. As the geobotanical sections spread out like a fan from a pond to a rocky area, they are suited to both water and shoreline plants and forest and meadow species.

Collection of cultivated plants

The garden’s comprehensive collection of cultivated plants acquaints the visitor with medicinal, food and ornamental plants.

The medicinal garden was modelled on the first scientific herb garden in Finland, situated next to the Royal Academy of Turku in the 17th century. The plants have been grouped and planted according to their purposes of use as follows:

  • Plants enhancing the immune response and general health
  • Plants alleviating respiratory problems
  • Plants used for skincare
  • Pain-relieving plants
  • Plants used for treating cardiovascular diseases
  • Plants promoting gastric function and digestion 

The garden of medicinal plants is where the botanic garden returns to its roots. It is not known exactly which plants were contained in the collection when Professor Elias Tillandz was granted permission in 1678 by the Royal Academy of Turku’s Senate to fence in a herb garden for educational purposes, thus establishing a botanic garden. However, the early garden probably included many of the same species as the current Kumpula medicinal garden, as botanic gardens originally played a significant role in teaching medicine.

The display order of the medicinal plant collection honours the roots of academic gardens. However, as research over the centuries has proven many traditional treatments to be ineffective, the usage-based grouping has been changed. 

Food plants are grouped according to where in the world they were domesticated, i.e., first taken into cultivation. If you are standing on the southern edge of the area and looking up the hillside, you can imagine yourself at the South Pole with a map of the world spread out before you.

  • On the left you can see maize plants domesticated by the Indigenous peoples of South America thousands of years ago.
  • Straight ahead of you are the cereals originating from the Middle East that remain important to modern Finns too.
  • On the right are various onions with origins in Asia.
  • Growing at bottom right is New Zealand spinach, which Captain Cook is said to have fed to his crew to fight scurvy.

Humans are naturally curious. Over the millennia, we have learned to eat a variety of plants. The plant parts we use for food include leaves, petioles, seeds, fruits, stems, rhizomes, roots, bulbs, and even inflorescences or flowers.

Plants suited for human consumption and thriving in Finnish conditions are grouped according to their geographical origins. 


The age of the current-day manor buildings has been taken into account in planning the ornamental plants section. The collection mainly comprises flora typical of a 19th century manor environment.
The collection includes ornamental plants that had found their way to Finland before the 1800s, such as the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) and the hawthorn (Crataegus grayana), but the focus is on species that spread throughout Finnish parks during the period of Russian rule in the 19th century. These include the sturdy poplar (Populus balsamifera ’Hortensis’) to the west of the main building and the plumleaf crabapple (Malus prunifolia) standing between the manor buildings.