The Garden Guide

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

Ludwigsburg Palace Garden Design

Previous - Next

340. The palace of Ludwigsburg consists of three immense quadrangles, about 300 years old, in a good style of Italian architecture, with tiled roofs, high, but not vulgar. The apartments within are numerous, and some of them very large; but they are badly finished, and wretchedly furnished. There are two chapels, and a large hall, devoted to the meetings of the order of the Golden Eagle. There are innumerable pictures, many of them going to decay, but no catalogue. The whole interior conveys the idea of a mural desert. The gardens and grounds of Ludwigsburg occupy 300 or 400 acres; they are principally laid out in the geometric style; but a part is in the English manner. This part lies in a hollow, surrounded by high banks; and, in one place, bounded by a perpendicular rock of red sandstone. In this hollow, a great number of objects are crowded together; a small piece of water, surrounded by weeping willows; horses, dogs, and stags, carved out of wood, in imitation of life; swings, up-and-downs, roundabouts, two places for playing at skittles, a billiard-room, a bowling-green, a trellised arcade, a marble vase, from the summit of which issues a spring of water, a rose-garden, a flower-garden, a rock-garden, an aquarium, a vineyard, a circular tower, a grotto, and other objects. In all this assemblage there is only one part worth recollecting, and that is, the perpendicular rocky side, which is crowned with wood. The hollow appears to have been a stone quarry; and deserted stone quarries, in all countries, and in all ages, from that of the gardens of the Hesperides to the present, form the finest situations for highly enriched gardens. The park is laid out in avenues, with lime trees, acacias, and fruit trees; and there are some thickets in masses, the remains of natural forest scenery. The queen's garden is a small spot, about 100 feet by 60 feet, full of irregular walks among grass and trees, with summer-houses overlooking a public road at two of the corners. In one or other of these houses the late queen, the eldest daughter of George III. of England, and remarkable for her corpulence, used to spend six or eight hours every day looking at the passengers. The king's garden is situated at the opposite extremity of the same quadrangle; it is about the same size as that of the queen; and, like it, has two summer-houses, overlooking a public road. The walls of these, summer-houses within are covered with English prints. The late king, the heaviest man of his day, is said to have spent as much time in his summer-houses as the queen did in hers. In the interior of this garden are the remains of an aviary and of a greenhouse. The gardens of Ludwigsburg, says an English writer, 'are among the most celebrated in Germany; but, mixed with some unspoilt natural beauties, they have much trumpery and baby-house taste. By dint of being made on a large scale, the ruins, the summer-houses, the rocks, &e., are preserved from the striking insignificance common to such ornaments; but they only approach a little nearer to nature; like the young lady's wax doll, which is made as large as life, and yet is but a doll after all. ' (An Autumn near the Rhine, p. 309.)The Kitchen-garden contains the ruins of immense ranges of glass, in which the grape, the pine, and the pencil were cultivated to a great extent; and there art still three large orangeries, one of which is filled with trees as large as those at Versailles, and estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old. All the gardens here are now open to the public; though, in the late king's time, no one could enter them without a ticket of admission signed by his own hand.