Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Travels 2010 - Part 5: The Palmengarten in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

I apologize for not having posted anything substantial in quite a while; I have been traveling and often lack the internet access and time necessary for longer posts. However, I will try to do a bit better in the coming days. Right now I am in Chandigarh, the beautiful joint capital of the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, and I hope to post about the parks and gardens here soon. For the sake of keeping things chronological, however, I have decided to report on the earlier stations of my trip first and I hope you will find them just as interesting. The first stop on my itinerary was Frankfurt, Germany, due to day-long layover. I chose to use the time to visit the Palmengarten, or "Garden of Palms", a magnificent botanic garden which I had visited a few times with my dad when we still lived in Germany and I was a little kid but had not been to in years.
One of the many outdoor gardens at the Palmengarten, with a formal lily pool, Magnolia grandiflora, and Cupressus sempervirens

A flower of Magnolia grandiflora with the pink blossoms of a Geranium hybrid
Flowers of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) - I was surprised how late these were flowering despite Frankfurt's relatively mild climate; in Boston they usually bloom about a month earlier

The Palmengarten was founded in 1868 by Frankfurt nurseryman and landscape architect Heinrich Siesmayer and opened to the public in 1871. Its original basis was the large collection of exotic plants amassed by a local nobleman, the Herzog or "Duke" Adolph von Nassau, and the garden was originally centered around a large palm house with an attached ball room.

View inside the large historic palm house that the garden was original centered around; parts of it are currently undergoing renovation but the remaining section is still quite beautiful

A vertical garden by Patrick Blanc! Long-time readers of the blog probably know that I am quite fascinated by these since I have written about them before in this post and this one

Fragrant flowers of large-leaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos), which perfumed whole sections of the park at the time of my visit

The garden has been much developed since its 19th-century beginnings with the additions of many outdoor gardens as well as various different greenhouses. Among the outdoor gardens there are perennial beds, a section of recreated Midwestern prairie, an extensive rock garden, formal bedding schemes with plenty of colorful annuals, a rose garden, lily pools, and a large desert garden full of hardy exotics as well as dozens of large cacti, century plants, and other succulents which are planted each spring with their containers and taken out again in the fall to be overwintered in greenhouses.

A view across beds of perennials towards the rose garden

Part of the formal rose garden

An exuberant pink shrub rose (Rosa sp.)

A hardy pink waterlily hybrid (Nymphaea sp.)

A tropical waterlily (Nymphaea sp.) displaying flowers of a much darker shade of pink and reddish leaves

The unusual desert garden

A young Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis) in the desert garden

Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) in the desert garden

Heavenly scented flowers of white angel's trumpet (Brugmansia suaveolens) in a display of potted plants

Among the additional greenhouses the somewhat futuristic-looking complex called the Tropicarium is the largest and most important; its many separate rooms simulate a large number of different warm-climate plant habitats, from foggy deserts to mangroves and tropical rainforest. There is even an entire hall dedicated to bromeliads! Other greenhouses scattered throughout the grounds include a "subantarctic" house which hosts plants from the far reaches of the southern hemisphere as well as a small house for floral displays known as the Blütenhaus or "House of Flowers" and some small houses with Mediterranean and alpine flora.

The entrance hall of the Tropicarium
 One of the desert houses
 A tropical ladyslipper orchid (Paphiopedilum sp.)
 The colossal flowers of the climber Aristolochia gigantea
 A close-up of a flower of Aristolochia gigantea
 A flower of torch ginger (Etlingera elatior)
 The Blütenhaus or "House of Flowers"
On the whole, the Palmengarten is truly impressive and definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in the Frankfurt area and have a few hours to spare. The entrance fees are rather reasonable as well and there are several cafés within the grounds. If you want to know more about the Palmengarten, you can find its website in both English and German here.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great vertical garden. Blanc has done some great work



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