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A princely pleasure garden with a spectacular greenhouse

Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens

Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens, new conservatory without plants. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch
APPROXIMATION OF THE HISTORIC STATE

RENOVATING THE CONSERVATORIES

The historic conservatories at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens were renovated between 2014 and 2018. The renovations took into consideration both the original structural designs as well as the landscape designs of the time.

Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens, in the conservatory. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch

Plantings are based on historic descriptions.

FUNDAMENTAL RESTORATION REQUIRED

Urgent structural problems with the conservatories, especially arising from the reconstruction work after World War II, required repair. During this process, critically assessed additions from more recent times were reversed. However, the entire 150-year development of the structure was respected out of monument preservation concerns. Furthermore, it enabled the verification of the plant arrangements and their presentation according to historic inventories and descriptions.

Close-up of a cutting for the conservatories next to the orangery, circa 1853

Close-up of a cutting for the conservatories, circa 1853.

CHANGES SINCE ITS CREATION

The conservatories were built between 1853 and 1857 by Baden's court architect Heinrich Hübsch. His successors, Karl Joseph Berckmüller and Jakob Friedrich Dyckerhoff, changed the structures, adapting them to contemporary tastes. The wooden structures were replaced with iron at the same time. The reconstruction after World War II was of a simpler nature. The contents of the plant collections, their shape and presentation has also changed over the years.

Typical steel structure. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Sandra Eberle

Typical steel structure.

RETURNED TO ITS ORIGINAL STATE

The structural solution found was based on architectural details obtained from the point at which the conservatories were reconstructed as iron and glass structures. The plants were selected and arranged as was typical for the time and as specifically documented for the individual conservatories. The conservatories at the botanical gardens can again be experienced as sophisticated garden architecture, as Heinrich Hübsch envisaged in the mid-19th century.

Camellia. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Huber

Camellia from the camellia show.

REPRESENTATION OR SCIENCE?

Where the conservatories were closely linked to princely interests, as in Hanover or Karlsruhe, the culture of flowers and orangeries was preserved. Garden management often limited itself to certain genera in order to create a sense of beauty through mass plantings. Interests in scientific collections then became secondary. Over the course of the now completed renovations, special effort was given to the traditional camellia house.

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