The flora in Cologne
The new main station in Cologne was built. That's why the old botanical garden disappeared next to the Cologne Cathedral. In 1862 a new garden was planned. This should be in Riehl. Citizens of Cologne were the operators of this new garden. In 1863 a stock corporation was founded for this purpose. Among the citizens of Cologne who became shareholders were Eduard von Oppenheim and Adolph Rautenstrauch. The new garden was an ornamental and pleasure garden.
The patronage of the new garden was held by Empress Augusta. The now called "Flora AG" bought the "Pilgramsche" property, which had an area of 5.6 hectares. The purchase was made with 22,130 thalers. The plot area lay between the villages of Riehl and Nippes. At that time these sections were still villages. They belonged to the Longerich mayor's office.
It is a beautiful place to relax and dream!
Garden art to dream of
The Cologne Zoo was also newly opened and the reason was right next to it. Riehl was a place of recreation for the townspeople of Cologne. Therefore, Riehl was soon called "De jolde Spetz" (the golden tip). Peter Joseph Lenne designed the flora. The then 73-year-old from Bonn was the Prussian Royal General Garden Director.
Lenne designed garden art in the German historicist style. This style was very popular and modern at the time. The garden artist combined the garden art of some European countries. He developed this garden art into a total work of art. Beautiful gardens resembling baroque gardens can be seen on the ground floor. The ground floor is between the main entrance and the palm house. Water cascades with five tiers suggest Italian Renaissance gardens. Pergolas are arranged parallel to this.
The rest of the flora is laid out in the manner and shape of English country parks. A wonderful garden in the middle of Cologne. Lenne's pupil then continued to work on the completion: Julius Niepraschk. In 1890 he was the first garden director of the Cologne flora. Many Art Nouveau accents were then added.
The opening of the new Flora
The opening took place on August 14, 1864. The Botanical Park was officially opened. The glass palace was created by the architect Max Nohl. It is a winter garden that looks like a palace. Iron and glass were woven together. Model for the construction was the London Crystal Palace or the Jardin d'hiver in Paris. This palace is 57 meters long, 22.5 meters wide and 18 meters high. Here the Neo-Renaissance is felt. There are many Romanesque round arches. At that time, Moorish architecture was very popular. This can be clearly seen in the glass palace. A palm house was built.
But balls for festivities were also used. The flora was also used for exhibitions in the 19th century. The years 1875 and 1888 were the focus of interest. Horticultural exhibitions were held in the Flora. There was also an industrial exhibition in 1889. The park area was enriched in 1906 with several buildings. They were built for the "German Art Exhibition". Architects such as Peter Behrens were the planners. The buildings were of a temporary nature and intended to illustrate the Art Nouveau movements.
In 1907 they were demolished again. Joseph Maria Olbrich designed the "Frauenrosenhof" for the exhibition. The sandstone building was bricked in solid construction. At the turn of the century, Flora AG was struggling with enormous debts. The garden had high maintenance costs. In 1907 the city of Cologne took over shares and finally Flora was taken over in its entirety in 1919.
The blooming botanical garden in Cologne
In the years 1912 to 1914 a new botanical garden was established. The garden was created right next to the flora. But a wall separated the two plants. The new garden had an area of 4.7 hectares. The new facility was intended to replace the previously established botanical garden, which was located at the Vorgebirgtor. It was planned in 1887 by Otto Wilhelm Thome. Since the freight station was expanded, the gardens had to be reduced many times over.
The older botanical garden had an area of 1.5 hectares. Now the new botanical garden was to be integrated into the Cologne University. The botanical garden was also used by the Cologne University of Applied Sciences as teaching material for scientific work. Riehl's new facility was close to the Flora. In 1920, the flora and the botanical garden merged into one. The name was now officially discontinued.
The first director
Peter Hans Heinrich Esser became the first director of the new botanical garden. The gardens and parks were used for scientific purposes. Nevertheless, the aesthetics were not neglected during the planning. It was a successful installation of blossoming joy. The variety of plants presented is very numerous. The design is magnificent and opulent and the botanical garden is a feast for the eyes with blooming beauty. Shortly after the main entrance you come to beds that are laid out at right angles. An axis has been opened towards the flora.
Since the systems merged, a clean transition should still be created. The Alpinum consists of a group of rocks. This serves as a reference point in the north within the garden. An artificial waterfall is a real eye-catcher here. Behind is a beautifully landscaped pond. English occupation troops set up a tennis court in the conservatory. These remained until the end of 1925. Until then, the gardens were not open to the public.
Finally accessible to all citizens again
After the troops left in 1926 the parks were presented to the public again. There was a so-called Flora Restaurant until 1934. The restaurant was simply designed but catered to the clientele. In the course of the reorientation, historical gardens were removed. Because the preference of the garden lay primarily in the scientific-botanical research teaching. The French parterre and the imperial pavilion built in 1888 were simplified. The style of the pavilion was designed in rococo style and was a gem of the park.
The Moorish kiosk was also demolished in 1875. In addition, numerous columns, sculptures and decorative vases had to be carried away. What was fascinating, however, was the transformation of the "Frauenrosenhof" into a monastery garden in the style of the 9th century.
A simplified rebuild
Like many things, the flora was badly damaged in the Second World War. The gardens were repaired to the best of our ability. However, many historicist buildings fell by the wayside. In the turmoil of the post-war period, this was felt to be too pompous. The large iron dome of the palm house was therefore removed. The building ultimately survived as a one-story festival house. In 1898 the concert and festival hall was built. This and the old greenhouses were completely disposed of. The paths of the English landscape park were straightened.
Now the parterre was only planted with single-colored roses. Unfortunately, the Flora Temple was also completely demolished. He suffered only minor roof damage. It is curious to note that the Flora statue has been considered lost since then.
The reopening took place on December 29, 1949. The flora was planted in the following years. Functionality should be satisfied. However, Flora became the first group of greenhouses in Germany after the Second World War. In the years 1950 to 1955 it was redesigned. The small tropical house (1950), the cactus house (1953) and the large tropical house (1954/55) were arranged in a U-shape. This gave visitors to the garden an insight into different vegetation zones. Everything was represented, from the tropical rain forest to the desert.
The Federal Horticultural Show in Cologne Deutz
In 1957 the Bundesgartenschau also took place. The tropical courtyard was planted with swamp and aquatic plants from the tropics. A special highlight in the course of this federal garden show was the Amazon giant water lily. A fantastic plant from nature. It can now be stated that the show greenhouses have aged considerably. Renovation is no longer an option. A new building is estimated at three million euros. The sum is to be raised by sponsors. The Frauenrosenhof was rebuilt in 1955. The architect was Wilhelm Riphahn. However, the reviews of this new building were anything but edifying. The proportions of the building were changed immensely. This was criticized as badly failed. Nevertheless, the reconstruction was completed in 1964.
Just just in time for the 100th anniversary. The festival hall was also renovated. A new subtropical house was built. A wonderfully fragrant camellia collection that is a delight to the eyes has been housed since 2000. The departments of the botanical garden were also reduced. The rectangular beds had to give way and made room for something new. Beautiful themed gardens with various summer flowers and perennials.
The new planting was strongly based on the Federal Horticultural Show of 1957. Special gardens were also laid out. The garden manager was Harro Julian Koch, who ordered the planting of medicinal, medicinal and useful plants. However, the maintenance costs have been reduced immensely over time. City politicians even considered closing the botanical garden. Unfortunately, it has to be said that the gardens fell into mediocrity.
The Historical Core / Restoration
The 125th anniversary was approaching. So the garden director Eugen Moll, who had been in office since 1977, was asked to revive the characteristics of the botanical garden and the flora. The garden architects Lenne and Peter Esser should again be singled out. In five years (between 1985 and 1990) efforts were therefore made to return to the old colors. The historical parterre should shine in new bloom. The paths of the old botanical garden have been recreated. The pond in the Flora was also renovated. The cascades were rebuilt based on the old design.
The Frauenrosenhof was also restored. Joseph Maria Olbrich provided the plans for this. Colored gardens should be newly created. Old templates were used to recreate. The iron gate and the historic entrance took on a new shape in the old version. The entrance consisted of white gatehouses made of wood.
First palm avenue in Germany
The first avenue of palm trees in Germany was laid out wonderfully in 2008. It originated in the flora. The planting of 30 hardy "Chinese hemp palms" was very exotic. They were planted on the north-south axis of the botanical garden. In 1975 they were seedlings in the Tropischer Hof. The 150th anniversary came and the Festhaus was renovated by that date. It was gratifying that the Festhaus got a domed roof again. With this measure, it was brought back into line with the original. The costs at that time amounted to 36 million euros. The ballroom could hold 900 people. There was also a roof salon, a bistro and an orangery. This offers space for around 150 people. On June 12, 2014, the newly designed facilities were reopened.
The task of the garden area
A true splendor of more than 10,000 different plant species can be admired in the flora. The outdoor facilities and in the greenhouses impress with a variety of colors, freshness and floral scents. One can rightly claim that the botanical garden has significance in garden design. The parks offer space for relaxation and recreation. The Green School Flora offers school classes exciting lessons with more than 25 topics. All school levels can take lessons here. The Cologne studio with the WDR television station also has a model garden in the botanical garden. The botanical garden is also considered a monument to garden art.
So to speak, the "patron" of Flora is the goddess Flora. She also gave the entire garden its name. A statue of the goddess was in the Flora Temple in 1864. At the top of the cascade there was a circular temple. It was aesthetically designed with eight Corinthian columns. The dome was made of copper. The creator of the Flora statue was the sculptor Anton Werres. He was known to the people of Cologne at the time. The statue was sculpted from Carrara marble. The sculptor used an ancient model.
The donator of the temple, the statue and a porch that goes with it was Abraham Oppenheim. The temple was only slightly damaged during World War II. Nonetheless, it was demolished. What became of the Flora statue is unknown. It is believed to still be in a private garden today. The two statues of Venus and Cupid still exist today. They used to be in the palm house. They are made of marble. There is also a Neptune with a trident and a dolphin. This statue is part of the historical core of the Flora. Vital-Gabriel Dubray, a well-known sculptor of the time, created the sculpture in 1856. It stood in the crossing's palm house. The sculpture was made of cast iron.
In 1900 the figure moved to the Flora pond. The Statue enjoyed many admirers and received widespread praise. She was created very vividly by the artist. Neptune's bearded face is sculpted in a lifelike manner. He wears a flowing robe. There were nine casts of the living figure. They are distributed in European cities. Some were also set up in America.
Girl with deer
When post-WWII reconstruction began in the 1950s, two new statues were added. They were placed in the flora. One is the Statue "Girl with Deer". It is a lovely designed bronze sculpture. It stands behind the Festhaus on the spot where the Peace Garden used to be. The figure of the girl was previously at the Deutscher Ring. There is a counterpart to the bronze sculpture. "The young man with a pony" is now in the Rheinenergiestadion. The swimming pool there is the owner of the plastic.
Thanks to Mayor Theo Burauen, the marble sculpture "Dying Amazone" has stood in the park since 1957. He bought them for the Federal Horticultural Show in 1957. The sculpture was set up in the Frauenrosenhof. The "Dying Amazon" was created by the Cologne sculptor Nikolaus Friedrich modeled circa 1910. Today the figure is in a protected place in the subtropical house. It was restored in 2010. However, according to some critics, the fearless warrior has no tormented traits about her. Rather, the viewer gets the impression that she was designed with sensual facial features.
Botanical Garden Awards
The Flora was included in the monument list in 1980. It is now a listed monument in the city of Cologne. Plantings are seen as natural monuments. The main building, which has since been restored, is also a listed building. The garden was listed in 2005 in the street of garden art between the Rhine and Maas. It was listed there as the most important botanical garden.
There is also an annual camellia exhibition in the botanical garden. It counts over 600 different varieties. For this reason, the garden in Cologne received a title from the International Camellia Society in 2012: International Camellia Garden of Excellence. Camellia lovers will appreciate the grace of this flower. This award is given to only 30 gardens around the world.
Events in the Botanical Garden
The event rooms can be rented here. The landlord is the company Köln Kongress GmbH. for banquets and upscale events. The premises are in the festival building, which has been renovated.
The Cafe Dank Augusta on the outside terrace
The terrace is 200 m². There is room for 200 people. There is self-service on the outdoor terrace and there is only outdoor gastronomy here. Opening hours are from noon to 10.30 p.m. from May to September. With "Thanks Augusta" the former patron Empress Augusta is commemorated.
Entrance to the garden
The admission is free. The botanical garden is located between Cologne-Riehl and the Rhine. The zoo is not far. Parking spaces nearby are subject to a charge. Line 16 and line 18 take you to the gardens. The connection with the Cologne cable car is wonderful. This was created for the Federal Horticultural Show in 1957.
The Friends of the Botanical Garden in Cologne
In 1982, this Friends of the Plant was founded. The association takes care of the maintenance of the gardens. There are various support events for this purpose. Sponsors and donations are used for maintenance. Historically, the association fulfills the same task as when Flora was founded. In the beginning, the citizens of Cologne also took care of the gardens.
The Flora Symphony Orchestra
The symphony orchestra is a fine thing. Music is firmly associated with the gardens. The orchestra has been around for a long time. The Flora Orchestra Cologne was formed shortly after the original opening. At that time the music director Eduard Lertz was in charge. Concerts were held every week. It was even played during the First World War. However, it was dissolved in 1916. In 2012 this old tradition was revived. About a hundred years later, the Flora Symphony Orchestra played again. The orchestra is made up of professionals as well as amateurs. It includes 80 musicians.
The musicians come from all parts of Cologne. Thomas Jung is the director and conductor of the orchestra. It is based in the Altenberger Hof. At the reopening on June 10, 2014, it played in a ceremony. There was a melodious premiere of the Flora Fanfare. This piece of music was composed especially for the celebration.
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