But here it is… Spring sprang fast this year. Before we knew it, the lilac bloom came and went. But there is compensation: an explosion of colorful roses all around Vienna. This merry month of May, which at times feels like summer, seemingly everywhere your eye roams it is met by exuberant red, pink, white and yellow blooms, climbing over fences and up walls, arching over – well – arches, and glowing out of flowerbeds. So this weekend I decided to check out some rose gardens.
The picture-perfect Baden Rosarium
If you are inclined to go slightly further afield, I highly recommend the extensive and beautiful Rosarium (rose garden) in Baden. Baden is actually quite close to Vienna and can be reached by public transport (e.g. the famous Badner Bahn straight from Vienna’s center). The picturesque Rosarium in Doblhoffpark, Austria’s largest rose garden is a beautiful park to stroll in and enjoy. On 75,000 m² and 30,000 rose bushes, more than 800 species of roses with sounding names such as “Goldmarie” and “Empress Elisabeth” flourish. The castle and the orangerie are especially pretty.
The 9-hectare Doblhoff Park is one of Baden’s most popular recreational areas. This park once belonged to the castle Weikersdorf, which is also called Doblhoff Castle after its last owners. You can also rent row boats and join the ducks on a large pond, and then have a delicious coffee and cake, or lunch, at the castle hotel Weikersdorf or at the restaurant by the lake.
You will find an imperial rose walk with gorgeous old varieties of scented roses, a formal geometric rose garden, fountains and all, wonderful bush roses, and a giant old plantain tree from the 1850s.
Color explosion at Volksgarten in Vienna
Talk about picturesque! Volksgarten is of course famous for its rose garden. This time of the year it is especially stunning. Because it is a relatively small space, the roses dominate even more than at the Rosarium in Baden, if that is possible. Added to that, it is surrounded by a “skyline” of Vienna´s classic architecture.
Circling around it are the Hofburg, Minoritenkirche, Burgtheater, Rathaus, Parliament, and Kunsthistorisches Museum, and then there are the brilliant white Theseustemple and the Grillparzer monument inside. Needless to say, this makes for a stunning “backdrop” to the rosy glory inside.
By the way, the rose garden at Volksgarten is relatively “new”: it was planted after World War II.
A curiosity at Volksgarten is that you can became a “rose sponsor”. Have you noticed the name signs at the roses´feet there? They do not just inform you about the name of the rose itself; some of them carry plaques with dedication messages. If you wish, as a sponsor a sign with your personal dedication will be attached to the plant. Plant sponsors receive a sponsorship certificate from the Austrian Federal Gardens. I think that´s a creative idea for crowd-funding the maintenance of the garden!
A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae. I guess because of the flower´s beauty, it was also once a popular name for women. My lovely grandmother´s name was Rosa.
There are over a hundred species and thousands of cultivars, and to this day breeders are creating new varieties. Roses are also used for perfumes, in foods and drinks, and they have inspired painters, poets and musicians for centuries, including of course the Bard.
That famous line:A rose by any other name
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
(says W. Shakespeare´s Juliet to Romeo)
Some other rose gardens around Vienna
Besides Volksgarten, you can also admire roses at the rose garden at Blumengärten Hirschstetten or at the castle park of Schönbrunn. Plus, there are many other parks that of course have plantings of roses.
Now if only my seasonal grass pollen allergy did not coincide with the rose season…
- Rosarium Baden
- Volksgarten Vienna
- Adopt a rose
- A brief history of roses by Chicago Botanical Garden (I have no affiliation with them, I just liked the overview they present on their site)