This year Mėnuo Juodaragis will take place in the Skinderiškis Dendrological Park, Kėdainiai District – the creative space of the forester Kęstutis Kaltenis. You may not be able to find it marked on the current online maps. In 1971, Kęstutis Kaltenis started planting trees within the territory of a former manor and restored its ancient name. But apparently it did not make its way to the administrative lists…
The Skinderiškis Park is located on the bank of the Šušvė River (Angiriai Reservoir) between the villages of Pilsupiai and Pajieslis, 25 km from the town of Kėdainiai and 10 km from the town of Josvainiai.
Park coordinates: 55.316944, 23.652778
“I was born in the forest and I have seen the terror of the war”, says Kęstutis trying to think of the reasons behind the foundation of the park. “I love Lithuania very much, and I wanted to do something for her.”
The tree of love for the Homeland took root in the heart of the man and bore seeds that sprouted in the fertile soil of Kėdainiai region – right in the middle of Lithuania. Here, the forester founded the striking Skinderiškis Dendrological Park matching all botanical gardens. The first of the tens of thousands of bushes and trees were planted in 1971 and now the park covers an area of about 120 hectares. The guests of the Festival will have an opportunity to see plants from different geographical regions, including Europe, Siberia, Caucasus, Central Asia, Far East, and North America. Their names are as mysterious as the narrow paths of the park covered with green foliage: Osage orange, Sweetshrub, Honey locust, Spikenard, Canadian maple… The park has about 60 species of maples alone, and more than a thousand tender magnolias come to bloom in spring – they were planted here to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Lithuania. The park has over 100 conifers and a number of species of oaks, ashes, lilacs, rowans, lindens, hawthorns, honeysuckles and other tree and bush species that form dense canopy and blend into the shrubbery of the Šušvė Valley.
The park is dotted with Ice Age boulder, ponds and wood carvings, and draped in a romantic opportunity to get lost in the maze of greenery.
“I dream of it often. In those dreams I clean the ponds, I work, plant, mow, I move the boulders to find the perfect spots for them”, says Kęstutis. The forester was not surprised at all about the question whether he dreams the park. The founder of the place lives here day and night and dedicates his entire time to the park.
This miraculous green creation of a single man will host the 17th compact version of Mėnuo Juodaragis festival. We believe that the dreams seen here among fantastic vegetation will be vivid and unforgettable.
More information about the Skinderiškis Park can be found in the Wikipedia