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Great Parterre


Großes Parterre

Great Parterre

In keeping with the principles of Baroque horticultural design, gardens were an expression of a ruler’s status and as such were as a rule related to the architecture of the palace, being an extension of its magnificent interiors. The central axis of the palace formed the ‘backbone’ of the gardens whose symmetry was determined by orthogonal and diagonal axes.

The Great Parterre - The largest open space in the gardens
Extending in front of the south-facing side of the palace, the Parterre with its strictly symmetrical beds occupied the largest open space in the gardens. In the middle of the eighteenth century the beds consisted of formal patterns made with strips of box hedging on coloured gravel or sand, and were known as ‘broderie’ parterres since these motifs were mostly taken from embroidery patterns.

At this time the two larger sections of parterre towards the south enclosed so-called ‘boulingrins’, a term derived from the English ‘bowling green’, a sunken lawn intended for games of bowls but which in French horticultural design were used exclusively as decorative elements.

To either side of the parterre were boskets or formal plantings of severely clipped hedges forming passageways, small openings and hidden enclosures.

Statues in the Great Parterre
This Baroque design probably derives from the Lotharingian architects in the circle of Emperor Franz I Stephan. In the 1770s it was superseded by the present design to plans by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, with beds planted with flowers, and tall hedges on either side lined with rows of marble statues, most of them executed by Christian Wilhelm Beyer.

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