Planetary Garden

The separate garden in the northern corner of Eggenberg Park has undergone many alterations: it has been a Baroque kitchen garden, a show garden for the Herberstein market garden, a vegetable garden and a tree nursery. Finally, after the Second World War it became completely overgrown. Since none of its many manifestations were sufficiently well documented to permit a reconstruction, this part of the Park has been entirely redesigned.

In 1999, the designer, Helga Maria Tornquist took on the difficult task of creating a garden that would reflect the high quality of the historic ensemble, and yet, at the same time, be able to stand alone as an independent artwork in its own right. The design solution chosen by Tornquist establishes a connection to the Palace’s historical context and simultaneously lends the new garden an unmistakeable character of its own. In a playful way, it draws on the age-old planetary doctrine of signatures, the iconography of which has great significance for Schloss Eggenberg.

Since ancient times, people have believed in an astrologically determined, hierarchical cosmos, divided into above and below, Heaven and Earth, forming seven different, interconnected chains of being. This magical notion has strongly influenced the intellectual history of the Western world, and, over the course of centuries, it has led to the development of an extensive iconographical system associated with the planets. This iconography, in its turn, powerfully informed the programme for the Planetary Room. Thus every planet not only has its own ‘children’ amongst the peoples of earth, who give expression to its characteristics, but its signature is also borne by plants, animals, minerals, places, activities, colours and forms.

Using this vocabulary, Helga Tornquist has created a series of wonderfully lyrical garden spaces, standing respectively under the sign of each of the seven major planets. This is no astronomical universe; rather, it is a philosophical, literary realm, and as such, it offers continuity with the Palace’s humanistic iconographical programme.

Thorny barricades consisting of red barberry hedges create the world of warlike Mars, and they guard two gardens of Venus, themselves edged with rose hedges, creating a playful reference to Classical gardens of love. Strawberries and lilies of the valley, salvia and lemon thyme are planted in the spaces within an ornate knot-garden parterre, made up of intertwining hearts.

Old Alba, Bourbon and Damask rose varieties are combined to produce gorgeous ensemble planting. Trellis-lined pathways, covered in laburnum, create rays of sunshine and are edged with flaming herbaceous borders, which flow from bright yellow into the glowing red of the setting sun. In the shadow of a yew hedge lies the white garden of the Moon set around a pond of water lilies. Shade-loving plants create a refuge and give wings to the visitor’s fantasy. As the seasons of the year progress, so visitors are able to wander through an ever-changing garden universe.

Get more information by clicking on the photos:

Schloss Eggenberg and Gardens

Eggenberger Allee 90
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9560 und -9532


Opening Hours

State Rooms:
Accessible only as part of a guided tour
02. April until 31 October
01. April 2020 until 31 October 2020

Guided Tours: Tue-Sun and public holidays at 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm (times may vary), extra times by prior appointment. Groups by appointment only.

Alte Galerie, Archaeology Museum and Coin Cabinet:
Till 31. October Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 5pm
01. November to 22. December closed, accessible only as part of a guided tour and by prior appointment
01. April 2020 to 31. October 2020 Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 5pm
01. November 2020 to 20. December 2020 closed, accessible only as part of a guided tour and by prior appointment
Please contact us: +43-316/8017-9560 od.

Park and Gardens:
April - October: daily, 8am-7pm
November - March: daily, 8am-5pm
1st January 2020: 10am-5pm

Open in addition:
10. June 2019
13. April 2020
01. June 2020
26. October 2020