The Habsburgs’ passion for gardening

Gardens of imperial splendor – Garden Summer Lower Austria is especially colorful and imperial this year

There are numerous romantic private gardens, splendid castle gardens, publicly accessible model gardens and kitchen gardens in Lower Austria but local modern garden oases also lend the garden scene here a degree of diversity scarcely found elsewhere. The nobility is largely to thank. It – and especially Emperor Franz II (I) and his family – left a blossoming legacy in the province surrounding Vienna, the former imperial residence.

Green thumb
There are many legends and anecdotes about the “gardening” Habsburgs; a biography about Emperor Franz II (I) written in 1881 was even entitled “The Flower Emperor.” The Habsburg-Lothringen family had an especially strong gardening influence on the city of Baden, the emperor’s summer residence, and the countryside surrounding it. That is why the Garden Summer Lower Austria is presenting the exhibition “The Habsburgs’ Passion for Gardening” at the Emperor’s House in Baden. It runs from 22 April to 1 November 2016 and is devoted to the gardening culture of the late 18th c to the mid-19th c. Along with the many imperial gardens, it also delves into “ordinary” citizens’ gardens, today better known as “Biedermeier gardens.”

Garden paradise just outside the gates of Vienna
Baden is considered one of Europe’s loveliest flower and garden cities. And rightfully so! The Kurpark, for instance, is impressive with its botanical rarities and colorful flower ornamentation. But it is the Rosarium in Baden in particular that exhibits the finest in international horticulture, boasting more than 20,000 rose bushes belonging to more than 600 different varieties. Incidentally, it is especially spectacular in June during the first bloom!

The fascinating Habsburgs
Baden is the ideal base for exploring imperial history. The nearby Mayerling hunting lodge is definitely recommended. So too is Niederweiden, a Baroque country estate about 80 km away. It is putting on a special exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Emperor Franz Joseph.