The town I live in is well-known for its Spa culture ( hence the Bad prefix to the name) and for being a centre for medicine and wellness. I dived into the history of this a little bit when I explored one of the clinics that is now closed. Details of that little adventure can be found in Exploring An Abandoned Hospital. But this town is also known for its beautiful parks and gardens, and 2017 is the year of the Landesgartenshau. Literally, this translates as a horticultural show, but it covers much more than that might suggest. It is quite a process to win the right to host such a show and the funding that goes with it, so it is a pretty big deal.
Some of the show is laid out within existing parkland and although the layout of the park is quite formal, the organisers have added some quirky touches. The resident blue sheep are very popular and have been endlessly photographed and Instagram-ed. If you follow me on Instagram you might have already spotted my blue sheep instapic.
I am not green fingered and have never really had a great garden. That’s partly down to my lack of knowledge and partly due to years in Married Quarters. You don’t get much to work with and we don’t tend to stay in one place long enough for a garden to flourish. But wandering round the series of garden displays, I did feel encouraged.I was also impressed with the original use of different materials in the gardens….wood, stone, cleverly placed mirrors and even a ‘river’ made of pieces of glass in varying shades of blue. Each space is based around its own theme or environment. Garden goals, indeed.
And being in Germany, home of the fairy tale trail, there was of course a garden inspired by the tales of the past. The little guy rang the bell, but no one was home.
One of the lovely things about the garden show is that it really is a family friendly experience with (cliché alert, sorry folks) something for everyone, including the younger visitors. The play areas, with an abundance of swings, slides, zip wires and climbing frames, are all themed around stories of Elves and trolls. My six-year-old declared the play area pictured below the best slide in the world. I don’t know about that, but I did have a couple of goes on it and it was good fun. And I wasn’t the only adult flying down it either!
The garden show hasn’t just been designed to appeal to people either, much of the planting has been designed to attract and benefit wildlife. We spotted many different bees and butterflies. The bees in particular fascinated me, as I have recently read The Bees by Laline Paul. I wont digress this post too much but it’s a book worth picking up. You’ll never see a bee or a hive in the same way again.
We didn’t get to see everything the show has to offer in one day. The show is a huge event , spread across two sites. There is a limit to how much exploring can be done with the children whenthe temperature in the thirties. I’m sure we will return before the summer is out. In the meantime, despite my poor record in gardening , we decided to bring a bit of the garden show home by picking up a little kit to grow sunflowers. And I am pleased to say they are growing. I hope they will flourish, a few cheerful sunflowers in our garden will make a lovely souvenier of a lovely day out.