Monday, August 9, 2010

A visit to the Schwetzingen palace gardens

In early summer I visited the Schwetzingen palace gardens with an old friend. It's one of those places that's so close by that I don't seem to get around to going there much. But I should! What a fabulous place. There are many great websites (also here, and here is a very good brochure in English) on these gardens if you're interested. In this post I'll concentrate on the incredible tree-lined avenues in the park.

Although the gardens include many highlights such as a large formal French-style garden, English-style landscaping, a mosque, temples to various Greek gods, lakes, fountains, an orangery, and of course the palace, it was the trees that struck me most this time. Almost anywhere you look there are axes of perfectly symmetrically trimmed trees offering astonishing perspectives on the many sights (click to enlarge any photo).

Here's another view of the same ensemble.
When the palace and garden were originally built in the 18th century, at the same time a tree-lined boulevard was built from Schwetzingen castle to Heidelberg. It was lined with mulberry trees in the hopes of encouraging the silk industry! Not much is left of the six-mile avenue or the mulberry trees, but within the palace grounds there are still plenty of avenues. This one reminds me of an aqueduct.


In the photos below, the formally-pruned "hedge" of trees forms the border between the baroque French garden and the more English-style landscaped garden beyond it.

Some more impressions:
And just so you don't get the impression there are no flowers in these gardens:
And to close, here's a shot of one of the parrots that have invaded many of the area's parks, also in Mannheim. They survive the winters here and apparently are originally from South Asia. I believe the correct name is Alexandrine Ringneck Parakeet. Some people have come to regard them as an invasive pest, as they drive native birds away from feeding places. But it's always astonishing to encounter one. (Better click to enlarge this one.)
I highly recommend a visit if you're ever in southern Germany. Schwetzingen is very close to both Mannheim and Heidelberg.


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog.
    I am always delighted to read your wonderful posts and admire your pictures.
    We are planning a familiy reunion for next spring in Germany. But time is always so precious. I have never enough time to visit all the places I love.
    - Cheers Gisela.

  2. Oh, my lands, what beautiful gardens. I cannot get over the trimmed trees. I love them but would hate to be the one who kept them that way. What beautiful and colorful flowers. Just gorgeous. Thanks so much for posting this.

  3. Barbara, I have never seen such intricately manicured hedges! Granted, when I lived in England, topiaries abounded, but these are so different. I just love the way they're clipped to form living green walls. I can just imagine walking along that path in your first photo. Truly beautiful, and open enough not to be too imposing. Thank you for sharing your visit.

  4. What a lovely post; the pictures are great! I recall visiting the Schwetzingen Palace Gardens years ago with my parents but I had forgotten just how impressive all the shaped trees were. The Ringneck Parakeets, too, are lovely, even if they are an invasive species. I had read about them taking up residence in German parks before but I have yet to see one there myself.

  5. Wow Barbara, the whole of Schwetzingen is amazing, but those trees. You are right, the first trees are pleached. They are so gorgeous, hopefully mine will grow!!!

  6. My absolutely favorite castle gardens to visit in Germany!!! In fact, I lived just around the corner on Konigstrasse and worked at Tompkins Barracks so I especially love Schwetzingen! I actually did a post on another blog (Ruhezone-a German blog) about this very castle! The grounds are wonderful! Now if you'll post about Luisen Park I'll definitely feel like I'm home:) Does the castle still have the painting at the end of the tunnel? The one that changes with the light? I can never remember the name of it but it was up close to the castle. For a long time there the gardens were undergoing renovations. They are done now? The folly too? This is a well worth it trip to see these grounds and if I remember correctly it was only about $1 (2 DM) back then to visit. Thanks so much for highlighting it!

  7. Dein Beitrag macht neugierig, die Ecke um Heidelberg kenne ich als Einheimische noch überhaupt nicht! Obwohl diese ja nun wirklich weltweit bekannt ist.
    Die Hecken sind dramatisch hoch, erstaunlich auch mit welcher Akkuratesse sie geschnitten wurden, sehr beeindruckend. Als pragmatisch denkender Mensch stelle ich mir den Schnitt als sehr zeitaufwendig und nicht so einfach vor....wäre doch einmal einen Beitrag wert ;-)

  8. Great photos. I had never heard of the Schwetzingen Palace Gardens until reading this post but will definitely be going to check it out since I'm so close (in Stuttgart). Thanks for the info and photos.

  9. Hi, Barbara! I'm so glad I found your wonderful blog via Blotanical! I lived in Germany (Heidelberg) during my high school years (some time ago, I must admit) as an Army brat (my father was a colonel in the army so we traveled extensively). I loved Germany, and it's so nice to see it again via your camera lens and your blog. I'm looking forward to future posts.

    The grounds in this post are magnificent! So beautifully manicured. Pretty day, too!

  10. Hello Barbara! It it so good to see you and thank you for your kind comments.

    What a remarkable place and photos. Stunning!

    P.S. Your vegetable garden looks so healthy and productive. Interesting that in prior years we had so much zucchini and yellow squash that I was making soup and freezing it; this year, we barely have any. Strange season for us. Have a great weekend.

  11. This garden is very beautiful. This is a marvelous place to visit. The trees are well manicured and they look very neat and tidy. I like the parakeet you photograph.

  12. The parrot is very reminiscent of the famous parrots of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. But I believe they are from South America originally. They have also adapted quite nicely and fly around in big noisy flocks.

  13. We lived inSchwetzingen in the early '70s in a high rise. We bought yearly passes for the castle for very little, Icould see the castle and grounds from my kitchen window and on a very clear day could see the Speyer
    dom. From the bedroom balcony we couldd see the burning of the Heidelberg castle, The grounds were not quite as manicured, but on a visit 7 years ago I could see a noticeable improvement. It was awonderful place for the children to play, It,s one of my all time favorites.

  14. Those are lovely photos of a spectacularly manicured garden. I've never seen trees pruned as hedges, and so precisely. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Liebe Barbara, so schöne Bilder, die mich übereugen, dass ich den Schloßpark bald wieder einmal besuchen sollte. Liebe Grüße von Luzia.