Bad (see note below) visitor

I can’t pretend that the sweltering summer temperatures didn’t affect my visit to the Bad Schandau (Germany) Botanic Gardens. Bad means spa in German, the healing waters of this place are the reason it’s here. The garden is a (small garden, but a large rock-garden) rock-garden sweeping up a steep hillside in a valley above a cute gingerbread style German village. 

With no shade in 30 degree temperatures I failed to engage with the German language signage & layout despite really really wanting to appreciate and understand the message and the plants.

The garden is a series of rockeries either representing a European habitat type, or threatened plants, or continents such as Asia and North America. The beds are accessed and viewed from well maintained gravel paths and rock steps. The garden has significant collections in a German sense of several groups of exotic plants (Rhodendrons of Asia, apricots, snowballs). 

Each bed had a theme label, and most plants are labelled. I had difficulty because the font of the theme signs wasn’t readable by google translate so I had no idea which bed connected to which theme. But if you speak German I am sure this Garden will make more sense! I had trouble laying this map (on a large sign at the entrance) onto the garden. 

What I learned from this Garden is:

  • Though botanical names are international the way plants are grouped thematically is most of the message and if you can’t decode the theme there is no message. That’s obviously a risk when you travel to counties with other languages. 
  • That lots of small beds close together, representing very different themes, is quite confusing in a small space. I had no idea which side of the beds was which theme when I’d lost track if the sign. I think the space between gardens is really useful as a mental pause. That might be lawn or meadow, or amenity plantings like at ABG of native plants that provide a less challenging break between collections.
  • Shade! It’s nice to get respite from summer heat. There were a few seats in shade but most of the garden in an open rockery. 

However this is a pretty, bit wild & whimsical place well worth visiting. 

When I stopped fighting and turned my public gardener brain off I appreciated the quiet forested valley I was in, and went for photographing the pretty flowers whatever they were called, wherever they were from and whether or not they were common or rare. 

Potentilla thuringiaca
Primula vialii
Rhaponticum scariosum Giant Scabiosa
Rosa gallica


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