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5 great gardening experiences in Southwest Germany

Baden-Baden, Rosenneuheitengarten

Garden of new roses in Baden-Baden | © TMBW

SouthWest Germany, the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg, is the sunniest part of the country. No wonder locals are passionate about gardening.

Heilbronn: Germany’s No 1 Garden Festival (April 17 - October 6)

This year, Heilbronn hosts BUGA, Germany’s biennial National Garden Show. In the old harbour, former wasteland has been turned into a green landscape, with dazzling gardens, plus recreational and adventure areas. Reflecting the 2019 Bauhaus centenary celebrations, the show focuses on the built environment. So, for the first time in the National Garden Show’s 70-year history, gardening skills have been combined with leading-edge urban planning and architecture. Enjoy garden designs and displays. Discover how new technology is changing urban life: innovative solar thermal systems and photovoltaic panels for power; new lakes providing irrigation for trees and plants. This new Neckarbogen Quarter is a bold experiment in contemporary living, with eco-friendly ‘green’ buildings, condominiums and student housing. www.buga2019.de

Schwetzingen Palace: Exotic and whimsical

With more than 100 sculptures and statues, Schwetzingen Palace’s 18th-century gardens are a classic example of late-Baroque design. Only 15 minutes west of Heidelberg, see a temple dedicated to Apollo, an elegant Italianate bath house with its own garden, a ruined Roman aqueduct and a Temple of Mercury. Schwetzingen is just one of half a dozen glorious properties administered by SouthWest Germany’s castles and gardens heritage organisation. www.schloss-schwetzingen.de/en/palace/

Karlsruhe: Botanical Gardens

These 200-year-old Botanical Gardens are also part of SouthWest Germany’s castles and gardens heritage organisation. The rulers of Baden loved plants; their legacy includes conservatories with cacti, orchids and tropical greenery from every continent. A number of rare trees collected by the rulers still grace the park. For many, the highlight is the beautiful cast-iron glasshouse. Built in 1863, it was a wonder of the age – and is still impressive! www.karlsruhe-tourismus.de/en

Weilheim: The Black Forest’s village of roses

One of the biggest horticultural surprises in the southern Black Forest is in tiny Weilheim-Nöggenschwiel. From late May to autumn, this “Rose Village” boasts 20,000 rose bushes from a wide range of varieties. One garden alone has 1,800 bushes featuring 187 varieties. Stroll through village; join a guided tour for the main blooming periods (late May to mid-July; early September); hike all or part of the 20-mile/32-km Rose Hiking Trail, with its wild roses. Along the way are glorious views of the Black Forest and even the Swiss Alps. www.rosendorf.de

Reichenau: Smell the herbs

On Lake Constance, the ancient monastery on the island of Reichenau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But for gardening enthusiasts, the monastery gardens are the must-see. Some 1,200 years ago, Abbot Walafrid Strabo wrote a poem in Latin all about the monastery’s garden. In 444 verses, he described the 24 medicinal and culinary herbs, as well as the ornamental plants. In 1991, the abbot’s garden within the old monastery walls was recreated, using the herbs and plants described in that historic text. www.reichenau-tourismus.de

Did you know?

…that Freiburg has an authentic Japanese-designed Japanese Garden in the city’s Seepark? https://visit.freiburg.de/en/

…. that Baden-Baden’s Lichtentaler Allee is planted with 64 different varieties of dahlia? https://visit.baden-baden.de/en/