Gardenvisit.com is most grateful to Marija Calden for help with adding new gardens updating Garden Finder entries for Germany. See for example: Karl-Foerster-Garten and Kloster Seligenstadt. Marija’s help is particularly welcome because German gardens attract less international attention than they deserve and, for example, less attention than the gardens of Italy, France and England, resulting in fewer German garden tours. Yet no one can doubt the country’s deep love of nature in general and gardens in particular, nor the technical expertise of Germany’s landscape architecture profession. And the design quality of the best German gardens (eg Sans Souci, Herrenhausen, Whilhelmshoehe) is very high. So what’s the problem?
My explanation is that too many German gardens are run by municipalities as public parks. As Jane Austen might have said “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that two old ladies can maintain a garden in better condition than a dozen youths with the latest equipment’. Love and knowledge are better tools than brawn or engines. Furthermore, a garden requires enclosure. If greenspace in towns is not fenced or walled it is not garden space. It is public open space. The example of Japan provides support for this explanation. Everyone knows of the matchless standard of care in Japanese Gardens. But what of Japanese public parks? Their management is slightly worse than in a typical industrial country: not as good as in most European countries and not even as good as in the public parks of Eastern China.
A garden is a special kind of place. It always has been and it always should be – different.