A Bishop’s Garden (Part One)

Once upon a time there was a Bishop called PrinceBishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen, who loved plants. And there was a botanist called Basilius Besler. The beginning of a wonderful friendship? I’m not sure, as it isn’t documented! But certainly the beginning of a wonderful garden…. A garden which has recently been recreated not far from here.

The Bastion Garden

In 1998 the Hortus Eystettensis (Garden in Eichstätt) made a comeback. With a small budget  from The Bavarian Department of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes and the help of many influential or simply kind-hearted people, the Bastion Garden was finally recreated.

A first visit in 1999 was disappointing; there was little to see except the layout and plans for the future, but I was full of hope…  Another visit a few years later was also not what I had expected. Then, at the end of June this year, I returned once again, and finally this beautiful spot has become a lovely historical record of the plants found in the original 17th century botanical garden, on the same site.

It nestles into the side of the hill where the Willibaldsburg Castle stands…

(Looking up, the garden is on the far left behind the lower wall)

… and it is surrounded by walls and buildings on all sides. It is thus extremely sheltered as well as being open to the sun and sky.

(Looking down from one of the inner walls of the castle grounds)

It is arranged in medieval style, dividing the plants according to season, i.e. when they flower.

It is a very simple garden. Its history, however, is fascinating.

More on the history in Part Two tomorrow, but here are just a few of the plants I saw there…

Veronica (longifolia?)

Aloe vera

Lychnis chalcedonica

Delphinium, Goat’s Beard and Broom

I found it refreshing to see plants simply displayed in their own right, and not as artistic combinations – even though I love those combinations we all see or create in our own gardens…

Hope you’ll drop by for Part Two tomorrow.

Have a nice Sunday!