The history of the Arboretum and Count Pepi’s garden can be traced back to the Bolza family of Italian descent. In 1798, General Péter Bolza married Antonia Stockhammer, the granddaughter of János György Harruckern, and he became a landlord in Szarvas. Their son, József Bolza, and his wife, Count Anna Batthyány, started planting the Anna grove. The Körös-Maros National Park Directorate currently operates in the Anna grove and castle.
The young József Bolza, Count “Pepi”, planted a few trees in the highest areas of today’s Arboretum. Afterward, Pál Bolza (1861-1947) inherited from his uncle the Szarvas castle and estate, the “grove, wooded pasture” in the area of the current Arboretum, where in the 1890s, after completing the Körös river regulation, he began a larger-scale plantation. Many valuable arbors were relocated to the Arboretum from the Anna Grove, and numerous plant rarities were brought from all over the world.
The daughter of Count Pál Bolza, Mariette, was born in 1911, and she spent her childhood in Szarvas. She was a private student who took all of her classes in English, German, Italian, and French. She also received an art education, beginning at the age of ten. Mariette adored the arboretum and knew the Latin names for all of the plants. Despite her difficult life, Bolza Mariette’s artistic activity was surrounded by significant professional success. Some of her paintings are displayed in the Arboretum Guesthouse, which can be visited periodically.
In 1940, Pál Bolza donated the Arboretum to the state. Following nationalization, the arboretum had several owners. The park has grown in size, and new collections have formed. In 1940, Pál Bolza donated the Arboretum to the state. In 1985, it was transformed into an independent institute within the University of Horticulture and Food Industry. It currently belongs to the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences as an educational and research center.