Urban Jungle Budapest came to life in February 2018 as a hobby project on Instagram, dedicated to the celebration of all things plants-related in the city. Since then, the group has gained nearly 4,000 followers. Quickly expanding into workshops, lectures and nature walks, the success of these ventures led UJB to host events in English. And with the coronavirus keeping everyone indoors, they are now sharing their knowledge online, beginning this Sunday, 19 April.

Founder Nóra and self-proclaimed plant nerd Viktor are eager to bring their love of plants to the people of Budapest. In early March, they led a 1.5-hour Springtime Plant Nerd Walk through the ELTE Botanical Gardens, where far-flung climates and exotic lands are brought closer to home in steamy greenhouses.

More workshops were scheduled for next week, until the spreading coronavirus brought Budapest to a standstill. The group is now presenting their courses and workshops online, beginning this Sunday, 19 April, with How to choose houseplants and How to keep your houseplants alive

Tickets can be purchased from the Facebook event pages, with instructions for joining the virtual tours. Leading these workshops is Viktor Grásztity, and he is a wealth of information when it comes to plants. His engaging, charismatic attitude is the hallmark of his lectures, and he is always happy to answer any questions that participants may have. 

Once quarantine measures are lifted, the group will resume its in-person tours, like the educational and breathtakingly visual ELTE Botanical Garden walk-through. In this tour, participants get close to a variety of carnivorous plants, which are always fun to gawk at, and learn about the creative deceptions they employ to lure in prey. It’s forbidden to touch any of the plants, but we can study all the details with our noses only a few centimetres away. In the Viktória House, the tour winds around a giant pond, in which grows the largest water lily species in the world. The leaves of this plant can actually support the weight of a human baby!

Other rooms house ferns – some of the oldest plant species in the world – as well as Spanish moss, cacti, and even food-producing plants such as cocoa, coffee, black pepper and banana trees.

Once the tour has concluded, participants are welcome to stay in the Gardens until 4pm, when they close. There is also a shop, where workers sell plants propagated from those in the greenhouses. Sometimes, you can find plants here which might not be available elsewhere in the city.

The upcoming virtual lectures take place this Sunday. How to choose your houseplants begins at 2pm, and How to keep your houseplants alive starts at 4pm. Those interested should reserve their places now. 

For more information on Urban Jungle Budapest, check them out on Facebook and Instagram, or see their full website here.