Indulge in flowers, plants and nature – Top ten garden highlights of 2020
Text: Nane Steinhoff
1 March marks the beginning of spring, according to the meteorological calendar, and with spring comes the warm sun rays and the early songbirds right outside our windows. But nothing says spring more than the first wonderful flower buds and the much-anticipated colourful displays in our gardens and parks. That’s why we now celebrate the arrival of all that horticulture with the following feature where we present the top ten garden highlights across the DACH region.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden, or even a balcony, so heading to public parks and gardens, as well as fascinating garden shows is a must – not only for horticulture fans. Even though one would associate garden shows more with England, as the country is notorious for its large and extravagant garden shows, the countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland have, in fact, quite an impressive garden show portfolio on offer, too. Let’s therefore take a look at the top ten gardens and garden shows.
1) English Garden, Munich
A large public park in the centre of Munich, the English Garden was created in 1789 by Sir Benjamin Thompson, later Count Rumford, for Prince Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria. It stretches from the city centre to the north-eastern city limits and counts as one of the world’s largest urban parks. No wonder, then, that it has a lot to offer for horticulture fans. Not only does it boast beautiful beer gardens, the possibility to go surfing and numerous other leisure activities, but it has a lot to offer for plant enthusiasts, such as vast flower displays, lush plant mazes and beautiful landscape architecture.
(Open all year round, admission free. The closest subway stop – U3, U4, U5 and U6 to ‘Marienplatz’.)
2) Jardin Anglais, Geneva
This great green space is iconic because of its beautiful flower-clock sculpture. But the Jardin Anglais in Geneva has far more to offer than merely this, such as an 1862 fountain, as well as beautiful views across Lake Geneva. No wonder it’s a tourist hot spot! Dogs are welcome, too, as long as they’re kept on a leash.
(The closest bus station is Horloge Fleurie – 131 metres away from the flower clock. Open 24 hours, seven days a week.)
3) Garden Fair, Rheinberg (6 – 8 March)
The ‘Gartenträume’ trade fair in Rheinberg will be held from 6 to 8 March this year. The horticultural fair is perfect for hobby and professional gardeners and impresses with its big showcasing of products and trends in garden design, plants and stones, as well as garden equipment, garden furniture and garden accessories. It’s perfect to get some inspiration before the start of the gardening season, while picking up some new products and some great plants. Workshops, show gardens, lounge corners and various demonstrations round off the programme.
(www.gartentraeume.com, 6 – 8 March. Daily from 10am – 6pm. Publicly accessible.)
4) Linz Botanical Garden
Head to Austria’s Linz to experience lush gardens and no less than five greenhouses, filled with rare, wild plants, cacti and orchids, as well as hosting open-air concerts during summer. One highlight here is the orchid collection which comprises more than 1,100 orchid types – this means that the collection is one of the most significant in Europe. Another highlight is its changing exhibitions, and there is much more on offer all year round.
(www.botanischergarten.linz.at. The closest bus stop – ‘Botanischer Garten’, reached via bus line 27.)
5) China Garden, Zurich
Located right by the lake at the Zürichhorn, the Chinese Garden in Zurich was a gift from the city’s Chinese partner town of Kunming. At the centre is a pond with a small island, pavilions and even a small palace on the banks. It is classed as a temple garden and is one of the highest-ranking gardens outside of China. Definitely a thing to put on your Zurich to-do list.
(19 March – end of October, 11am – 7pm, daily. Entry fees: 4 CHF (adults), 1 CHF (children, under 14).)
6) Kunst und Gartenzauber fair, Sankt Barbara in the Mürz Valley (19 – 21 June)
Looking for an art and garden exhibition in wonderful surroundings? Then, head to Pichl Castle in Austria’s Mürz Valley, where the ‘Kunst und Gartenzauber’ trade fair will be held in June this year. The art and garden exhibition invites you to stroll in and enjoy the beautiful grounds of the castle park. Expect exceptional art, crafts, high-quality garden furniture, décor for the garden, and much more. Culinary highlights round off the offering.
(19 – 21 June. Publicly accessible. Take the train from Vienna, journey time is around 1.5 hours.)
7) Palmengarten, Frankfurt
Nothing beats a great botanical garden, are we right? In Frankfurt you can find an especially beautiful one. The expansive 19th-century Palmengarten in the Westend-Süd district covers a surface of 22 hectares and sports impressive palm and orchid collections that are displayed in greenhouses. Discover a fascinating display of beautiful plants and almost any kind of exotic flora from around the world in the Tropicarium, which perfectly simulates different climates to host a variety of international plants. The Palmengarten is a highlight for Frankfurt locals and visitors alike.
(www.palmengarten.de, Monday – Sunday: 9am – 6pm. The closest subway stop – U4, U6 and U7 to ‘Bockenheimer Warte’.)
8) Giardina Zurich (11 – 15 March)
‘Live your garden’ – that’s the slogan of this year’s Giardina trade fair in Zurich. The landscaping trade fair is known well beyond Switzerland’s borders due to its gorgeous displays and sheer size. On an area of around 30,000 square metres, leading suppliers in the sector will present their new products, upcoming trends in garden design, and much more. Explore spectacular sample gardens and artistic installations. Garden lovers – rejoice!
(www.giardina.ch, 11 – 15 March. Publicly accessible. Take the S-Bahn 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 19 or 24 alighting at Zürich Oerlikon.)
9) Hofgarten, Innsbruck
The city of Innsbruck is well worth a visit for a multitude of reasons. For nature enthusiasts, we have a special tip, however – the Hofgarten. It’s a protected park that is located on the edge of the old town. Covering an area of around ten hectares, the park invites visitors for either extensive walks or extensive relaxation – all inclusive of gorgeous flower and plant displays, as well as lush green fields and woods.
(Opens 6am daily. Depending on the season, the park closes from 5.30pm – 10.30pm.)
10) Japanese Garden, Leverkusen
If you have always wanted to go to Japan, but were never able to afford the plane ticket, why not head to Leverkusen’s Japanese Garden instead, for a couple of hours? Here, you can find an authentic Japanese experience – without ever leaving Leverkusen. Throughout the year, visitors can marvel at a delightful range of colours here, through a wide variety of indigenous and exotic plants, such as grasses, golden-leaved Japanese maples, redwood trees and more. Koi carps and turtles are found here too, of course.
(Monday – Sunday: 9am – 8pm from May to September. Entry: free of charge.)
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