By Halyna Mackay
A truly enchanting garden with thousands of colorful plants in the foothills of Lapta opens its ‘doors’ to visitors once a year for 15 days in Spring. The incredibly knowledgeable, warm welcoming and hospitable host Hikmet Uluçam, welcomes guests to peruse the jaw dropping displays in his collection of flowers, trees and ancient stones.
Hikmet Uluçam, a talented Artist, Plantsman, Designer and University Lecturer has devoted almost all of his life to growing many species of flowers, Cacti and other plants. The vision to create this magical oasis began over 30 years ago in Lapta when Hikmet brought plant seeds from different countries, nurturing and cultivating them to create what is today, without a doubt the most unique and charming garden on the island.
Hikmet talks fondly, with a nod and smile to the early days – “in 1985 there was nothing at all in the garden apart from a few trees, my wife used to tie cotton cloth from poles as a screen when sunbathing as there’s a bus stop at the end of the garden”.
The collection includes 6-7 thousand Cyclamen, Anemones and Tulips, alongside various sweetly perfumed Citrus trees. There are also about 600 species of Cacti, for which Hikmet hold a particularly special love. Some of them are over 40 years old!
We are guided towards some ancient fossilised stones dating back more than 30 THOUSAND YEAR from the Missouri River floodplain which once split the island into two. Hikmet points out the fossilised imprint of a shell – “you would think this came from the sea, in fact it comes from the Missouri River, at one time Cyprus was once two small islands”. These stones have tremendous vitality and energy, you just need to be able to feel them, learn to listen and hear.
There is something magical and fabulous about this place and it’s custodian. Hikmet reminds me of a wizard from cartoons, or a character in Harry Potter. Rarely does one find such spiritual people who live in harmony with nature and the outside world.
After meeting with this extraordinary man and visiting his magical garden, I was left with the impression that I had spent the afternoon in a fairy tale …
There is also a gallery of paintings by Hikmet himself, as well as other talented artists. You can purchase paintings, as well as flower seeds and cacti.
The garden is open to visitors until the 31st of March from 10.00 to 17.00. Alternatively you can pre-arrange another time with the host.
Address: 64, Ismail Beyoğlu Caddesi, Lapta