The Landscaped Gardens of Prince Pückler

The Garden on the Roof

22 April to 3 October 2016

Hermann, Prince Pückler-Muskau (1785–1871), was one of the most fascinating people of his time. He is now being rediscovered as an outstandingly original garden designer working in the English style. His landscaped parks at Bad Muskau/Łęknica (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage), Babelsberg (also UNESCO World Cultural Heritage as part of the Potsdam Cultural Landscape) and Branitz are among the finest examples of nineteenth-century garden design in Europe. It is to these three important parks and the innovative ideas that shaped them that this exhibition at the Bundeskunsthalle is devoted.

Garden on the Roof of the Bundeskunsthalle

As a high point in both senses of the word and as an homage to the prince, the roof of the Bundeskunsthalle has been transformed into a lavish garden based on Prince Pückler’s ideas and horticultural principles. Visitors can take a stroll under beautifully planted groups of mature trees, among them copper beeches, oaks, aspens and robinias, and enjoy the flowerbeds awash with a veritable sea of blossoms, starting in April with tulips and daffodils. The temporary park will include a water feature inspired by Pückler’s designs as well as a number of highly original elements from his parks. Visitors will find a recreation of the pleasure ground, a horticulturally elaborate area marking the transition between the house and the park, complete with a replica of the Muskau rosary (rose garden), an iron rose bower with a bust of the world famous soprano Henriette Sontag and a series of aptly-named ‘tartlet beds’, flowerbeds bordered by glazed bricks.

An exhibition of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in cooperation with the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg, the Prince Pückler-Park Bad Muskau Foundation, the Prince Pückler-Museum Park and Branitz Palace Foundation and the National Heritage Institute of the Republic of Poland in Warsaw.

The exhibition enjoys the patronage of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Prof. Monika Grütters MdB, and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, Prof. Dr. Piotr Gliński.

The Garden Plan

In his Parks and gardens, Heinrich von Pückler-Muskau developed numerous design principles that continue to be relevant to modern-day landscape architecture. These fundamental principles informed the design of the landscaped garden on the roof of the Bundeskunsthalle and are made transparent to the visitor.
One of Pückler’s key design elements was the creation of visual axes that define the effect of his parks. In Bonn, too, careful arrangements of bosks and subtle modelling of the terrain converge to direct the visitor’s gaze towards a horticultural focal point, namely the artificial hill in the west of the roof garden with mature trees of the species planted in Pückler’s parks. The swathes of herbaceous perennials leading up to it form a smooth transition between the ‘artificial’ garden and the ‘natural’ woodland. This arrangement accentuates and opens the attractive view towards the Venusberg Hill. The large expanse of meadow is enlivened by a water reservoir. The picturesque reflections of the sky and passing clouds open up another aspect of nature.
In designing his parks, Pückler set great store by the so-called pleasure ground, the area of the garden right next to the house which he referred as an ‘open-air salon’. Pückler liked to embellish this area with playful tartlet-shaped flowerbeds, circular rose beds and elegant garden furniture. Drawing on historical models, but using modern plants and plant combinations, the Bundeskunsthalle garden designers have recreated several such attractive areas on the roof of the museum. In the spring, visitors can enjoy tulips, wallflowers, blue-eyed Mary and pansies, in summer sage, zinnias, verbenas and dahlias – to name but a few.
Pückler created focal points in his park by transplanting a large number of mature trees from the surrounding countryside. But he also grew trees and perennials in his estate nurseries. To celebrate his work as a cultivator, the roof garden features not only a nursery for perennials and rare vegetables, it also pays homage to Pückler’s so-called ‘tree university’ with a presentation of several of the species he used, among them beech, poplar, birch and various fruit trees. Of special interest are the syngeneic specimens from Muskau and Branitz that are genetically identical to the original trees planted in the nineteenth century.
The design of the roof garden of the Bundeskunsthalle draws on the design principles of the ‘green prince’ without copying them slavishly. It adapts Pückler’s ideas to the given situation and reinterprets them in the spirit of the current zeitgeist.

Opening Times

Monday closed
Tuesday to Sunday (and on all public holidays, including those on Mondays), 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Roof Garden Café

Complementing the exhibition Parkomania – The Landscaped Gardens of Prince Pückler, the roof garden of the Bundeskunsthalle is transformed into a richly varied park. Open on fine days from late morning until the early evening, the roof garden café is a perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a piece of cake or a light snack.

Admission to the roof garden café is free for all visitors with valid ticket.

Show bibliography

    Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

    Museumsmeile Bonn
    Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
    53113 Bonn
    T +49 228 9171–200

    Opening hours

    Mondays closed
    Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
    Thursdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
    (including public holidays even those which fall on Mondays)

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