Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Wed February 24 2016

Southwest Germany in Bloom

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | February 24, 2016

Southwest Germany in Bloom

PHOTO: Schwetzingen Palace Garden, Germany (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

Gardens have been an important part of European society for centuries. They have a long history throughout the region with a variety of trends that dominated landscape design dating all the way back to the Byzantine era.  So it’s not surprising, that like their other European counterparts, Germans take pride in their gardens and their love of outdoor spaces.

This year, Southwest Germany is showing off its love of gardening to its many visitors. The State Heritage Agency of Castles and Gardens, which maintains 59 historic monuments in Southwest Germany, has named 2016 the “Year of the Garden” and has launched a range of events, tours and activities that showcase the importance of these beautiful outdoor spaces to German society.

READ MORE: Germany Focuses on Nature in 2016

Eighteen of Southwest Germany’s gardens are offering an array of activities to showcase their gardens this year. There are open-air concerts, art exhibitions and tours planned to demonstrate each garden’s unique style. In Ludwigsburg, for example, visitors can take a 90-minute tour of the reconstructed English landscape and walk through the grounds to see the impact of King Friedrich I. In Karlsruhe, visitors can experience a variety of different gardening styles, including refined English style of the Castle Garden and the wild botanical garden.

The gardens of Castle Schwetzingen, located on Southwest Germany’s “asparagus route,” have been honored as “Garden of the Year.” The original palace gardens, which date back to 1350, still exist today and are famous for their harmony and beauty. Under the management of Prince Elector Carl Theodor in the 1700s, these gardens experienced a heyday and visitors can learn about the philosophy, history, art and nature of these landscapes through numerous exhibitions on the property.

VIDEO: Mark Murphy Tours Wertheim, Germany

The gardens of the Maulbronn Monastery Complex are even older, dating back to the 1100s and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This location might take honors for the quirkiest garden tour, offering Through the Garden With the Herb Witch, where the witch teaches her visitors the ancient garden tips and tricks and the importance of the garden for survival in the past.

This month, a new tourist card was launched that will aid visitors in pursuing “Year of the Garden” events. The Schlosscard Plus or “Castle Card Pluse” is now available and includes entrance to 24 monuments and four different Year of the Garden activities. The card costs around $40 and can be purchased at participating monasteries, gardens or palaces. 

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