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Palm House Garden and Botanic Garden


Palmenhausgarten (c) SKB Foto: Alexander Eugen Koller

Palm House Garden and Botanic Garden

In 1753, Maria Theresa’s husband, Emperor Franz I Stephan, who was a keen amateur natural scientist, bought a neglected enclosed field from the neighbouring village of Hietzing, on which he had a ‘Dutch Botanical Garden’ laid out.

This garden, which was located on the site today occupied by the Palm House, had a geometrical layout and consisted of three sections. Each section had four quadrants with a fountain at its centre.
The northern section was a flower garden, the central section contained vegetable beds and espaliered fruit trees, and the southern section was an orchard. A large glasshouse was erected on the north side.

During the reigns of Emperors Joseph II and Franz II (I) the Dutch Botanical Garden was extended by the purchase of additional plots of land. Further glasshouses were erected in this new part of the garden and an arboretum laid out for study purposes with exotic trees from the Americas planted in evenly-spaced rows in sandy soil and equipped with inscribed plaques.
The four mighty plane trees still standing near the former ‘Great Palm House’ erected by Emperor Franz II (I) (today the Orangery) date from this time. An inventory of the entire holdings of the Dutch Botanical Garden dated 1799 lists 4,000 plants from nearly 800 different species.

From 1828 the extended part of the Dutch Botanical Garden was landscaped in the English style and was known from then on as the Court Plants Garden. Today's Botanic Garden is located on the site of the extra plots of land acquired by Joseph II and Franz II (I).

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