The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Botanic Gardens in Bavaria

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377. In Bavaria, the principal botanic garden is that of Munich. There are also botanic gardens at Nymphenburg, Ratisbon, and a few other places. The botanic garden at Munich is rich in Brazilian plants, of which it contains a greater number of species than the garden at Kew. It is under the direction of the celebrated Dr. Martius, well known for his Travels in Brazil, and for various other works on natural history. The garden was laid out by the late M. Sckell: it contains a handsome entrance (fig. 118.); twenty-four compartments for the twenty-four Linnï¾µan classes of herbaceous plants; and a marginal arboretum, arranged with a joint view to the natural orders and to picturesque beauty. The number of species is not numerous, because the great severity of the winter admits of none but natives of very cold climates. Hollies, which grow in the mountainous districts of Bavaria, will not endure the winter at Munich; neither will the box nor the furze; pines, firs, and junipers are almost the only hardy evergreens. The soil of the garden being, in common with that of the table-land on which Munich stands, formed of the debris of magne-sian limestone, is unfavourable to vegetation, and requires to be mixed with a good deal of surface mould or turf. There is black bog earth near the town, but it is found injurious to heath and other hair-rooted plants, and sandy peat is brought from a great distance. The range of hothouses is handsome of its kind: it contains a numerous collection of palms and succulents, but not many heaths or Australian plants. In the greenhouse of the botanic garden at Nymphenburg is an Araucaria excelsa raised from a lateral frond. After this plant had been rooted for several years, the gardener cut it down to the ground, when it sent up three upright shoots, one of which he reserved as a leader; the plant, now a handsome tree, was presented by the king to the botanic garden of Erlangen. In the palm-house is a large specimen of Cycas circinalis, which was brought by the French from Vienna to Malmaison, bought at the sale which took place there, in 1827, for 600 francs, and carried to Munich. Nephelium Litchi has here ripened fruit. Ph£'nix paludosa and farinifera, Chamï¾µ'rops arborescens, and Latania borbonica, have here attained a large size. Mimosa aquatica, from Senegal, the leaves of which are as sensitive as those of M. pudica, thrives in the greenhouse. Jacquinia arborea is here propagated from leaves, which must be slipped off the plant, and planted in sandy leaf-mould round the edge of a pot, and made very firm; in six or eight months they send up a shoot from the base of the footstalk. Pothos acaulis is raised from seed; which must be sown immediately when it drops from the plant, otherwise it will not come up. Desmodium adscendens flowers freely all the winter. All the plants in the greenhouse here are distinctly named on wooden tallies, stamped with printers' types, set into a small case, screwed up tight, and supplied with printers' ink in the usual manner. The rhododendrons and laurustinuses are here kept in the greenhouse. The latter are trained with stems, six feet high, with thick bushy heads, five feet in diameter, which are covered with flowers all the winter. The botanic garden of Ratisbon contains about an acre, and has a moderate collection of plants, chiefly herbaceous, and natives of the north of Europe, arranged according to the Linnï¾µan system. There is a greenhouse, with an opaque roof, containing a few Cape and Australian plants, with some which are natives of the south of Europe, and which stand the open air in England. Among these are the common and Portugal laurels, the laurustinus, the arbutus, &c.