The unrestrained thirty-something did not even hesitate to swear at the President. What does Juuso, the sulphur-crested cockatoo, who has lived in the botanical gardens for the past twenty years, think about the new flourishing of Botania? The world’s northernmost garden of tropical butterflies is a memorable meeting place.

What’s in a name, thought Juuso the cockatoo, when he laid an egg. Many other things in Botania are different from what they first seem. The botanical garden’s collections were established in 1957. There are over 1000 plant species indoors, and over 1600 in the outdoor area covering over 3 hectares. And these plants are not ordinary plants, but fascinating treasures of tropical, subtropical and desert flora. The botanical garden is also home to an intoxicating mixture of nutritious, aromatic, poisonous, medicinal and decorative plants.

The sulphur crested cockatoo Juuso, in turn, is not the only representative of the animal kingdom: in Botania, you can also admire tropical butterflies. And Botania is not just an alluring garden for visitors, or the largest communal living room in the Joensuu region: it is also a biological learning environment. Botania is no longer a botanical garden owned by the university, but a dream come true of entrepreneur Kari Kola. A place that was rescued from an almost certain destruction.

– I couldn’t just watch it happen, entrepreneur Kari Kola says.

Events and seasonal themes

Well-known for his uncontrollable courage, the visionary decided to turn an entirely new leaf in the story of Botania. At the beginning of 2018, Kola announced that he had bought the garden with two business partners. In autumn 2018, he was the sole owner of the place. According to the entrepreneur, this change was positive – this way, the development can take place at a faster pace.

I can see more fantastic opportunities in Botania than in any of the 58 countries I have visited

The plan is to double the size of the greenhouse and build a lot of new: visuals, aesthetics, events. Every Saturday is dedicated to children. On Saturday evenings, there will be an open fire outside, inviting everyone to sit down and tell stories, or to barbecue sausages. The weekends will also include different music and arts events, taking into account all of Botania’s target groups.

These promises have already started materialising in Botania. During the first year, Botania has offered classical music concerts and a festival of visual arts. Children have also been taken into consideration in various ways. Organised on Saturdays since October, Children’s Saturday offers a family brunch and supervised activities for children. Once Botania is fully up and running, it will offer over 150 events to visitors from near and far every year.

Taking an entrepreneurial risk

– A big risk, a big opportunity. I see more fantastic opportunities in this place than in any of the 58 countries I have previously visited! Botania has the potential to become an international tourist attraction.

Entrepreneur and light artist Kari Kola has created huge international networks throughout the years. He trusts in precisely those networks when envisioning Botania as a major tourist attraction in Joensuu. He will send invitations to guests abroad as soon as the place is ready to enter the international dimension.

Behind these big visions is also a humble business man, who knows the importance of support.

– There is a positive vibe, and the operators in the region have a positive attitude. Ultimately, people in the region will decide about the future of Botania. I warmly welcome you all!

Who knows what Juuso the cockatoo will still have a chance to see – sulphur-crested cockatoos can reach the age of 90!