Monday, September 12, 2011

Charlottenburg Gardens, Berlin

These 1697 gardens were designed by landscape architect Siméon Godeau, a student of French landscape architect André Le Notre, designer of the gardens at Versaille. It is significant because it is the earliest garden in Germany to be influenced by the French style of gardening at the time. It has been added to and revised over the years, so it may not reflect the original intent of the designer.

Charlottenburg Palace was pretty much the invention and domain of Sophie Charlotte, wife of Freidrich III. If you ever get there, you have to see her china room. Never been in a room like it. Couldn't take photos inside though.

The grounds were vast and impressive, much like the gardens at Versaille. Many of the same principles were used in its design - avenues, moats, boulevards, fountains, parterres, sculptures, topiaries and grand planters. One thing that served a more useful purpose was the lake at the end of the gardens. Generally, lakes, canals or ponds were designed into gardens to provide and end view or vista. This one served a purpose. Sophie Charlotte didn't like taking the dusty coaches into Berlin and had her lake connect to the canals and rivers leading into Berlin so she could take boats in when she had to go into the city.

One thing I found common in these more formal gardens in Germany
was very informal borders when you get up close. They were mixes
of perennials in many colors and shapes and heights and textures.
In France, many we'd seen were all of the same
plant in uniform colors and sizes.
The colored rock pattern of a flourish on the ground seemed like a cop out to me though.
Usually, patterns like this were done in plants, like annuals, not colored stone.
Or maybe some garden historian can tell me they were done in stone as well.
It just didn't seem in  keeping with the rest of the gardens.
Sort of an undersized plant for such a majestic planter!

Opposite problem. Awfully significant
plant in an underwhelming container.
Geraniums? Maybe they're something special here.
Not at home.
Geraniums. Really?! Really?!
Takes a lot of planters to fill a garden this large.

The overwhelming perennial borders looked beautiful up close where you could appreciate
the different blooms, but sloppy from farther away -- taking over the topiaries.
Rather see something beautiful and naked
than a chubby kid holding a goat.

Looking back toward the palace.
Pretty up close where you can appreciate the mixed border.
The Belvedere, originally the palace tea house. Now the Royal porcelain museum.
Hydrangea on the steps of the mausoleum.
The garden in front of the mausoleum.
Gardens around the Orangery.

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