Following the example of Versailles, a park was created in Schwetzingen under the direction of Elector Carl Theodor that is unparalleled in Europe.
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The beginnings of the palace garden
Elector Carl Philipp laid the foundation stone for today's palace garden. When he moved into Mannheim Palace in 1731, he had Schwetzingen extended as a summer residence and hunting lodge. The garden was much smaller than today and extended only as far as the Arion Fountain. This is where the old orangery used to stand, because the Elector valued exotic plants.
The palace garden blossoms
Carl Philipp's successor, Elector Carl Theodor, initially had the garden of the summer residence extended in the French Baroque style. In 1753, court gardener Johann Ludwig Petri designed the parterre in the middle of a circular space enclosed by circular buildings and arcades. The main axis running from the palace to the west was lavishly decorated with flower borders, water features and hedge zones.
The pinnacle of garden art
Within 50 years, Carl Theodor had the garden extended by his architect Nicolas de Pigage and furnished with numerous sculptures and refined garden architecture such as the impressive garden mosque. In addition, the sovereign showed himself to be at the cutting edge of the times: the garden artist Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, trained in England at the Elector's expense, realised one of the first English landscape gardens in Germany in Schwetzingen.
The palace garden in Baden times
In the course of the reorganization of Europe under Emperor Napoleon, the Electoral Palatinate on the right bank of the Rhine fell to the House of Baden in 1803. Johann Michael Zeyher became the garden director in Schwetzingen. He was primarily engaged in forest botanical research. In the garden itself, Zeyher redesigned the large rectangular pool into a pond with natural shorelines. He also changed the seahorse garden into a landscaped area. Otherwise, the garden was hardly changed in the 19th century.