The Garden Guide

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

Durlach Garden

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353. The grand ducal garden of Durlach is worth notice for its antiquity. In 1689, the town of Durlach, with many other towns and villages, was burnt to the ground by the French; but, notwithstanding this, the margrave, Frederick Magnus, rebuilt it, and renewed the garden. A red and white spruce fir, an avenue of chestnuts, and an ash tree, planted, it is supposed, when the garden was originally formed, in the sixteenth century, still remain, and are of great size. The ash, which is 140 German feet high, and the trunk 19 feet in circumference, displays a label of tinned iron, with an inscription, signifying that, in 1802, it had stood three centuries. The avenue of horse-chestnuts is supposed to be the oldest either in France or Germany. Some of them exceed 120 Rhenish feet in height, and 15 in circumference. M. Hartweg considers them larger than those in the Augarten at Vienna, which are said to be trees of the first generation, from plants raised from the seeds brought from the north of Asia to Constantinople, in 1550; and thence to Vienna in 1588, to Paris, in 1615, and to London in 1629. Since 1809, nothing has been done to the Durlach garden. Throughout these gardens a considerable number of Roman antiquities are scattered. This chateau (into the hall of which carriages appear to have driven up an inclined plane), like the garden, is in ruins; and the impression of the antiquity and desolation of both is rendered stronger by the contrast of some gaudy summer-houses, which have been erected by the person who in 1828 rented the ground as a tea-garden.