Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

A Taste of Germany

Our main reason for going to Europe this summer was to re-visit my mother's hometown and to see family that still lives there. It has been 26 years since I last visited, and 40 years since my sister was last there, so you can imagine how eager we were to return. While we were there we traveled to the neighboring towns where our ancestors lived taking photos of their old homes, cities and cemeteries. We were even able to discover one more generation back (my 3rd great grandparents) in the local archives.

One of my fondest memories from childhood is discovering these red poppies growing in the open fields along the Main (pronounced 'mine') River. Today that open area is filled in with businesses, but we did manage to see poppies alongside some of the roadways.

When you live within a walled city, you don't always have much of a yard to garden in. So many of the yards are small and filled with roses and other blooming flowers.

This person has managed to maximize their gardening space, what little there is of it.

Here we have a couple of people maximizing every inch (with the exception of the walkway) of soil to grow flowers and/or vegetables.

This church has planted a pretty little garden.

 What do you do when you don't have any garden space . . . Ahh, you build a raised garden bed. Isn't this adorable?  

This home definitely belongs to a gardener. I lingered here for a while taking in all the whimsical features of this adorable mini-garden. 

 There are colorful little patches of flowers wherever there's space.

The area where my mother is from is in Bavaria and was originally known as Franconia. This area is known for its wine, and you will find the sides of the hills covered in grape vineyards. I was so happy to see that development has not caused these hillside vineyards to disappear.

As far as the eye can see the hills are covered with vineyards.

This small hawk was posing for us as we ate lunch perched atop the vineyards enjoying the view.
The largest neighboring city is Wurzburg which is popular with river boat cruises. In addition to the historic city it has two other beautiful buildings to see. The first is called The Residence. It housed the prince bishops of the Catholic Church at one time. During World War II 90% of the City of Wurzburg was destroyed by bombs. The Residence has, luckily, been restored to its past grandeur.  

The above photo is of the backside of The Residence where you will find a pretty garden. 

How would you like to be in charge of keeping these trees trimmed? I know, I wouldn't!

We enjoyed our stroll through the perfectly maintained formal garden.

On the other side of town is the Marienberg Fortress. This was built for the prince bishops when they needed to escape to a more secure place. These prince bishops lived like kings in these beautiful, richly decorated and furnished buildings. More vineyards are covering the hillside beneath the fortress.

The Fortress also has a very small but pretty garden.

And what a wonderful view the prince bishops had from atop their Fortress.

Last, but not least, are the window boxes. I couldn't do a post on gardens in Germany without including the pretty window boxes that adorn most homes and buildings. Most are planted with red geraniums, but I also saw a few with pink geraniums and some petunias.  

I hope you enjoyed a taste of the gardens in the area of Germany where my mother grew up.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

WOW! Great post! My favorite photos were the ones of the tiny garden spaces filled to the hilt with beloved plants. I love the countryside scenes too.

Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you were able to make this trip.

Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

Anonymous said...

Just when I thought your travels (and photos) could not get any better . . . .

How wonderful to be able to go back and visit your Mother's hometown. I'm a fourth generation Floridian ~ so I don't have to travel far. :-)

Love your focus on the gardens - made Germany look welcoming and cozy. Two adjectives I typically wouldn't think of when I think of Germany.

Stunning as usual. Thanks for sharing, Susan.

Janice said...

Wow! Susan, you took some great photos! From what I can see, you visited some of the cleanest towns in the world - even the streets look pristine. So nice that you got to visit your Mom's hometown. I enjoyed every photo, and every garden. I can totally see us doing exactly what the whimsical gardener did with their space - they certainly made the most of that tiny area. It was all beautiful, so thanks for sharing. _Janice

Lynn McIntosh said...

Your photos and their stories are just gorgeous! I love how they utilize every inch of space to garden and it's so amazing all they can pack into the front of a building! I loved every part of this post. It's also fun doing geneology - it's so interesting to do the research. Thank you for posting this!!!

Lynda said...

What a wonderful place to spend time in and really enjoy the incredible sites and views!!!
Your pictures are wonderful covering the spectacular architecture as well as the really charming personal gardens. LOVED THIS POST!

Gone Tropical said...

I am so glad you finally had the chance to visit Germany :-) Your pictures make me homesick, I grew up in Bavaria, and yes, Germans have a strong pride of the outside of their homes sweeping their part of the street every Saturday, and I am thinking they have a secret competition going on between neighbors who can grow the nicest window-box begonias ;-)
(PS to update: thank you for linking to my blog Myrtle Glen, but I changed to Blogger and the link address changed to www.myrtleglen.blogspot.com)

Susan said...

Hi Lorraine - those tiny garden spaces are really cute and manageable.

Hi Eli - we really enjoyed going back. Wish I could do it more often. Have all 4 generations of your Florida family lived in Lakeland?

Hi Janice- Yes, Germany is very clean and orderly. It's amazing considering how old these towns and buildings are. The people are very neat and meticulous.

Hi Lynn - Genealogy is a relatively new interest for me but it is consuming me. I've had good luck tracing my father's side back to Canada and France. I hope to visit Quebec and Montreal to stand on the land that my ancestors once farmed.

Hi Lynda - thank you for your kind words.

Hi Gone Tropical - yes, the Germans are very neat and I have seen many old ladies sweeping their front steps. What city did you grow up in?

Leslie Kimel said...

Wow, every building and garden is like something from a fairy tale! Your pictures are just great. I love the tiny yet bountiful gardens and all the lovely stonework. The architecture is just amazing!

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