The lost Garden

Image Credits

The Eggenberg Garden

Apart from many small alterations, the Palace Gardens at Eggenberg have undergone three significant design phases.

Throughout the history of the palace, the gardens have always been as equally important as the house and its fittings and furnishings. They have been redesigned to suit every generation's personal ideas and the latest fashions of the time. There was already an enclosed extra garden to the southeast of the building that had most probably belonged to the previous castle building even during the construction of the palace.

Prince Johann Seyfried von Eggenberg, Hans Ulrich's grandson, not only commissioned the decorations of the state rooms and the Planetary Room, but also turned his attention to the design of the gardens as well. In 1678, work began on an Italian-style garden, which was to surround the whole Palace. High clipped hedges divided the garden into various sections, and it not only boasted exotic botanical rarities, but also a pheasantry, hedge theatre, large greenhouses, terrapin pools, ornate fountains, aviaries and a separate kitchen garden area for the princely banqueting table.

The 18th century

After the early end of the Eggenberg dynasty in the 18th century, the new owner of Eggenberg Palace, Johann Leopold Count Herberstein, also went to great lengths to have the gardens extensively redesigned into a Rococo extravaganza. Work on the French-style garden began in 1754 and they were already opened to the public for the pleasure of the people of Graz in the 1770's. An additional perimeter wall was also constructed in the forecourt of the Palace to separate the garden from the Palace building itself; adjacent to this were ornate boxwood "parterres de broderie" with fountains, a garden terrace as well as high hedges separated by straight alleys.

Herberstein then commissioned the building of a maze, a Salatrain, the octagonal Rococo pavilion, which still exists today, greenhouses for the cultivation of exotic plants, an orchard and a kitchen garden. The extended perimeter wall with twelve gates was also constructed during this period and still surrounds the entire garden today.

The new gardens were officially put to the test during the visit of Emperor Franz Stefan I and his wife Maria Theresa, who resided in the Palace for a few days in July 1765 and chose to dine in the garden many times due to the sweltering heat.

The 19th century marked a change in how nature was perceived and the formal Baroque garden was replaced by today's poetic English landscape garden.