?? While studying German in Mannheim last June I took the chance to visit a small village nearby called Weinheim to have a guided tour of the famous gardens of Hermannshof. The brain behind the place is Herr Cassian Schmidt and it was a pleasure to have had him guiding the tour.
Hermannshof is a show-garden, a place visited by 150.000 people every year to see gardening and ecology at its forefront. Herr Schmidt uses a method he learned devised of planting species according to habitat and geography. His ideas have echoed in the way you see vegetation at the High Line in New York. I have discovered in an article about the gardens on the Financial Times.
In one field he recreated the Chinese monsoon forests of Southern China, where humidity is a big factor. However, he did not use only species from China, but species that thrive in a humid and not so sunny environment. Across the meadow, there were two fields representing drylands, one with species from the American prairie, the other with species from Kyrgyzstan. The habitat is more or less the same: dry, sandy soils, low humidity. However, while the American prairie is full of echinaceas, the Kyrgyz area is rich in grasses and perennial grains.
The gardens are not huge, so it is perfect for an afternoon visit. There are benches under old trees for you to sit down and read a book or just enjoy the view. There are paths to walk around and through the different ecosystems giving you the chance to see up and close each and every plant. Signs indicate what has been planted where and help you copy the systems at home.
Entrance is free of charge, as well as the guided tours (in German only). If you really want a tour you can email them and have one scheduled for you. Try visiting when Cassian is there because he is a genius and a fascinating person who loves and understands plants.