After our family visit to Kassel we headed back south and after a day's stop in Esslingen near Stuttgart headed to Munich for the last few days of 2016 and to celebrate the New Year. We did a day trip to Neuschwanstein because the husband had never been and had long wanted to see it, though after trudging up the hill in the freezing cold and touring Ludwig II's gloomy faux-medieval Wagner-themed interiors he came to agree with my parents and me that the 19th-century fantasy recreation of a medieval fortress on which the Disney castles are based is rather overrated as a tourist attraction. Afterwards we visited Murnau am Staffelsee and had a lovely dinner in Starnberg. The rest of the time we stuck to Munich proper, and on New Year morning, before heading back home, we spend some time at the Botanical Garden just down the street from us in the district of Nymphenburg. After a cold and very foggy night, the garden was thickly covered in hoarfrost and glistening in the morning sun. We took a quick meander around the core part of the outdoor part of the gardens before heading into the large greenhouse complex. The latter has several houses dedicated to myriad cacti and other succulents, a large central palm house, a mangrove house that currently also houses tropical butterflies, a fernery, a house dedicated solely to cycads, a house dedicated to tropical plants of economic importance, the "Victoria House" filled with tropical waterlilies and other aquatic plants in summer and Mediterranean-climate container plants in winter, a house filled with camellias and azaleas, and even a small one devoted almost entirely to staghorn ferns.
A pineapple atop a gazebo welcoming visitors in a sunny, frosty garden
Approaching the greenhouses
The first large hall of the greenhouse complex, one of two dedicated largely to succulents
An ancient Seville orange tree (Citrus aurantium) by the entrance: "Brought to the Münsterland region from America by General von Steuben in 1790. Left as a gift to the Munich Botanical Garden in 1951"
Pods of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacau) in the house for tropical plants of economic importance - note the different color of this variety compared to the one at the United States Botanic Garden in DC a few weeks ago!
Beehive ginger (Zingiber spectabile)
Acacia dealbata in the Victoria House
Canary Island Bellflower (Canarina canariensis)
A Leucadendron of some sort
Giant bamboo in the central Palm House
Some of the tropical butterflies that are temporarily populating the Mangrove House
One of the many aloes in bloom in the second succulent house
In the Fernery
One of countless camellias already in bloom in a cool house mostly given over to this genus
Toromiro (Sophora toromiro) from Easter Island among the camellias
In the little house full of staghorn ferns
This was another garden that I had not visited in well over a decade and was happy to explore anew. More than most botanic gardens I have visited this one really feels a bit like a museum of plants, with as many species as possible assembled and everything neatly labeled. Even so, aesthetic appeal has not given short shrift in the arrangement of the plantings either; the most old-fashioned sections, such as the fernery, in particular, are just beautiful.