Weekend of open gardens – Part 1 – Luft’s Garden

Some time ago I noticed a poster in a street inviting those passing by to visit a garden belonging to a Dominican monastery within an event called “Weekend of open gardens”. As I had never heard of such an event, that invitation caught my attention and I thought about finding more pieces of information on the Internet when I get home. But you know what, soon I had other things on my mind and if it wasn’t for my colleague who reminded me of that event when the weekend was close, I would have missed that.

The “Weekend of open gardens” is inspired by the English “Open Garden & Squares Weekend” tradition and started its own tradition in 2010 with just three Prague gardens registered. In this 6th year there were 162 gardens registered throughout the Czech Republic and I’m sure that every year new gardens will join the project. Every garden which can offer an interesting piece of history, unusual design, environmental attitude, interesting collection of trees and bushes or attractive story is welcome to be registered and participate.

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It’s helpful that you can have a look at the event’s website and choose exactly the gardens you are interested in based on what they offer as the registered gardens cover a wide spectrum of variety and include kindergarten gardens, community gardens, arboreta, cemeteries, castle gardens and small private gardens, to name some of them. Some of the gardens look spectacular, others offer ideas and inspiration. Some of the gardens are open throughout the whole year, some just from spring to autumn and the rest only on special occasions. During the event most of the gardens offer not only open gates and free (but not necessarily for free) access but also commented tours, exhibitions, musical or theatrical performance.

This year the event took place last weekend and I visited with my husband three gardens in Pilsen (Plzeň) which caught our attention in the list of the local registered gardens. I’d like to introduce all three of them to you in this and the following two posts.

Let’s start with LUFT’S GARDEN.

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For the moment Luft’s Garden belongs to those gardens which don’t look spectacular – and that’s why I didn’t take many photos there which I regret now as I should have documented more parts of the garden – but it can offer an interesting story and moreover, it obviously has a potential.

The garden was built in the years 1886 – 1909 and included two ponds used for fish breeding. The ponds are still part of the garden and especially one of them adds significantly to the feel of the garden. In 1912 the garden was bequeathed to Mr. Luft who started to remodel it into a private residential garden and planted exotic wood species there. He wanted to build a villa in the garden premises but he was never granted permission by the building office. Thus nowadays the garden is funnily enough characterised as a unique residential garden without a residence.

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When Mr. Luft died, the garden stayed in the family ownership until 1959 when state officials made its owner sell the garden to the state under the threat of expropriation so that a public park was established there. Nevertheless, the garden’s future didn’t develop as it was planned and though it was used, proper care wasn’t taken of it and it started to deteriorate. They say that the good side of that development was that the concept of the garden was preserved and the garden can be restored now.

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Since 1991 Luft’s garden has belonged to the property of the city Pilsen which started its regeneration in 1996. In 2010 the garden was open to public and nowadays it’s open for free every first Wednesday of a month. The garden is listed as a “significant landscape element” and is included in a regional bio corridor of the territorial system of environmental stability. If there were spare finances in the city budget, it might become a beautiful place…

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6 Comments

    1. Sarah, thank you. The garden did feel peaceful and green was the dominant colour there. Plus the history really caught my attention, you suddenly see more in those bushes and trees… and wonder what the villa would look like… Thanks to this event more people got to know that place and it can help its renovation.

  1. It looks beautiful to me, even in its "unfinished" state. The second image, especially, with the people sitting on the stairs surrounded by all the lush greenery, makes it look like a wonderful place to visit. Maybe you could return on the first Wednesday of July to get those shots you regret not taking on the first visit. It would be nice to have some before and after photos, to see the progress as they continue to develop it. That's a gorgeous flower in the first image. Great composition of the shot, too.

    1. Linda, thank you. Those two photos with the water covered in green belong to that pond which I liked most of all in the garden. I’ve been thinking about visiting the garden on any of those first Wednesdays to get those captures I’ve missed, it’s just that Wednesdays are not much practical for me as I’m at work all day. Yet I’ll try not to forget, I’d love to get back there for sure. And you’re right, it would be interesting to follow the changes and improvements to the garden…

      You may know that the flower in the first photo is Clematis, they are beautiful flowers in so many variates. I liked this crop, it looked better than when the whole flower was inside the frame.

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