Posts Tagged ‘naturalistic planting’
It was a stunningly hot and lovely summer’s day as we ventured north from Hockenheim in Germany, past the famous racing track. M and I were heading south-west of Heidelberg to reach the town of Schwetzingen. She had come to visit me for the weekend as I was holed up for two weeks in the Rhine Valley. I was determined that we would see the best of the sites in the area, and had been recommended the castle of Schwetzingen as it was reputed to have some extensive and well-designed gardens. How true!
The town is dominated by a castle that reminded me of The Palace of Versaillesin the grandeur and resplendence of its gardens. As the visitor’s web site states the gardens are divided into two main sections: a symmetrical french design of ornate manicured flower beds and ornamental trees, and a naturalistic English designed that orms the outer areas and incorporates the main water features of the gardens. Frankly, the English design is also the most visually and aesthetically appealing to me. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, I was so enthralled by it that I forgot to take any pictures of that bit, so you’ll have to make do with the French bits!
The garden design incorporates elements that any druid owuld recognise. Here’s a quote from the web site :
“The baroque garden is divided into the parterre, hedge zone and forest section. An unusual feature in Schwetzingen is the circular parterre formed by the “Zirkelbauten” (Quarter-Circle Buildings) and the vine-covered galleries, which distinguishes it from all others of the period.”
The quartered circle should strike a chord. As should the alignments, the correspondences, the nature of the tree planting, the labyrinthine beech maze, and a host of other esoteric elements that any studious druid would prick up their ears at. There was evidence of a great deal of sacred geometry in the design of the gardens, and I was interested to see what effect this woudl have on people. universal joy and contentment would be an apt description!
The gardens contain temples to several Greek God archetypes including Mercury (communication) and Minerva (wisdom). Here’s a link to a photo site giving you one of the pictures I should have taken of the rear of the Temple of Minerva: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/4143935
There are many old and tall trees in the outer established (and less manicured) areas surrounding a beautiful lake. I was so entranced by the delightful asymmetry and naturalistic planting of the woods that I singularly failed to take a single picture of the best bits, but trust me – these pictures even fail to do justice to its majesty and beauty.
Just sitting beneath an old oak tree that hosted a thick old vine snaking up its trunk left M and I in a torpid state of semi-trance. Almost immediately for me I was beginning to venture down a corridor punctuated by doors of various rainbow colours. Interesting! I mused, however the reverie is soon broken by the joyous shouts of excited children let loose in the huge playground that the gardens provide – and who would deny them that joy? Not I.
If you happen to be close to Heidelberg, why not venture off the motorway a little way in order to visit this wondrous place? You can hardly fail to be disappointed. Four euros will bring you all the earthly delights you could take in.
Seeing both sides at once