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A princely pleasure garden with a spectacular greenhouse

Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens

Gatehouse and basin at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
THE ARCHITECTURE OF HEINRICH HÜBSCH

THE BUILDINGS

The buildings within the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens were designed between 1853 and 1863 by grand ducal court building director Heinrich Hübsch. By combining nature and architecture, Hübsch created a picturesque effect that still characterizes the grounds today.

Aerial view of Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

Clearly visible: the cupola of the orangery.

THE BUILDINGS IN HANS-THOMA-STRAßE

The children's gallery–once the court garden director's residence–and the orangery are located west of the Staatliche Kunsthalle's central building, along Hans-Thoma-Straße. They shield the botanical gardens from the street. The orangery once had a barrel-shaped glass roof, but it has not survived. The striking cupola on the south end remains however. The structure is particularly lovely because of the interplay between various materials, characteristic of the architecture of Heinrich Hübsch (1795–1863).

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

Conservatory renovations were completed in 2018.

THE CONSERVATORIES

The orangery and the conservatories meet at nearly a right angle. The palm house, a tall sandstone building decorated with statues, marks the center. A large semicircular depression surrounded by flowers and shrubbery lies in front of the conservatories as a charming and creative counterpart to the arch of the former winter garden. Between the conservatories and the winter garden, the gatehouse leads through to the palace gardens.

Historic photo of the former winter garden at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Sandra Eberle

Ambling through the Italian garden.

THE WINTER GARDEN

The former winter garden–originally called the Italian garden–was the largest conservatory on the grounds. Its semicircular shape, with a closed passage along its back, gives the botanical gardens its dynamic outline. This space originally housed Mediterranean plants. In the winter, the frame was encased in glass. The other conservatories were permanently glazed. Parts of the primary structures were originally made of wood. Between 1863 and 1871, they were replaced with iron.

Location of the former winter garden with iron frame and sphinx at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Sandra Eberle

Four sphinxes guard this place.

CAST-IRON PERGOLAS AND KIWIS

Following World War II, the winter garden was simplified and reconstructed without glazing. The center wing and its caryatids, female sculptures supporting the beams, serves as an atmospheric roof for the cafe exterior. This is probably the prettiest place in the garden: The cast-iron frame is overgrown with kiwi plants bearing plentiful fruit and guarded by four stone sphinxes. The leaves of the creeper covering the surrounding pergolas turn bright red in the fall.

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