Scottish ecologist, Ian Mitchell, one of the founders of the Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival, has been visiting Slovenia for 34 years. In Bohinj, he is known by the nickname Oce za Festivala - Father of the Festival
Over nearly 100 visits to Slovenia, Ian has become a strong advocate for the development of sustainable, green tourism in the country and has also been actively helping to raise awareness, both in Slovenia and abroad, of the outstanding nature, landscapes and culture that can be found there.
He first visited Slovenia in 1982 and has now travelled the country extensively, making a string of friends en route “Slovenia has some truly outstanding nature, awe inspiring landscapes, a clean and peaceful environment and welcoming, friendly people.”
Speaking on the 10th Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival, Ian explained:
“Botanists and lovers of nature from all over the world visit Bohinj and many are coming now for the Festival as it becomes better known nationally and internationally. This year, a group from the Scottish Rock Garden Club will come to Slovenia to enjoy the nature and culture of Bohinj’s beautiful countryside and help celebrate its wild flowers and meadows.”
“But let’s not forget these wild flowers and their meadows are not just there for visitors.” he added, "They are there because of hundreds and hundreds of years of careful and sustainable alpine agriculture. Farmers, foresters, cheese-makers, iron smelters, mountaineers, and of course, tourists have all left their mark on the Bohinj landscape. The success of the Festival also comes down to the ingenuity, enthusiasm, creativity and determination of the Bohinj people, both young and old."
About the festival
The Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with the theme ‘Wild Orchids in Bohinj’.
Visitors will be treated to a ‘bouquet’ of wild flower themed events including guided botanical tours on horseback, lectures on natural and cultural history, artistic exhibitions including traditional embroidery workshops, special events for children and families, and wild flower cookery demonstrations.
There are painting and photography exhibitions, musical concerts, many activities especially for children and families, culinary workshops and wild flower foods, illustrated talks, workshops, seminars and a major annual Festival Conference attracting international speakers and Slovene Government Ministers.
The Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival is being recognised more and more around the world. In October 2011, Dr Bob Gibbons, a noted botanist and author, published a book in the UK and America called Wild Flower Wonders of the World. In it he lists the top 50 wild flower sites in the world. It was good news to read that the Julian Alps are in there with the Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival cited as one of the reasons to visit Slovenia.
The festival is running from may 21st to June the 5th, to find out more please visit the website here