South Garden (Südgarten)

A bird's-eye view of the South Garden
A bird's-eye view of the South Garden

As the entrance to Blühendes Barock (Baroque in Bloom), the parterre has to be the most impressive complex for visitors. But the South Garden has had a varied history, having been redesigned at least four times.

The South Garden was originally created in 1707 as a pleasure garden designed by Nette. The terraced park included a broderie parterre, an orangery and a boscage zone. But in 1730, Duke Eberhard Ludwig decided to adapt the garden based on plans by Claasen to bring it into line with new fashions and the changed situation with the new corps de logis (main block of the palace).

A new era began under Duke Carl Eugen. After permanently moving his principal seat of residence to Ludwigsburg in 1764, he ordered the park to be redesigned along the lines of Versailles. A lover of splendour, he had one of Europe's largest covered orangeries built in front of the south side of the palace. Existing avenues were extended on a grand scale as they were considered emblems of a modern royal household.

The next major turning point came under Duke Friedrich II. Following the French Revolution, baroque and rococo styles became frowned on as aristocratic, even in garden design. They were replaced by neoclassicism, with the Duke having the gardens refashioned accordingly. The avenue-lined front garden was divided symmetrically into four lawns. At the centre of each lawn was a hillock, topped with a monumental vase by Isopi. These were ringed around by flower pots filled with Mediterranean plants. A wide central canal flowed from the large lake towards the palace, while a double avenue of citrus plants in front of the palace gave the scene a southern flair.

After being used to grow fruit and vegetables for a time, the South Garden was redesigned again 150 years later. Horticultural director Albert Schöchle revived the baroque sense of harmony between the palace and the gardens for the anniversary horticultural show Baroque in Bloom in 1954.

Timepiece with a bang: the noon cannon

Duke Friedrich II (reign: 1797–1816) commissioned a canal to be constructed from the large lake

towards the palace. At the north end of the canal, a small cannon was mounted on a sandstone pillar to mark 12 noon each day. The sun's rays were concentrated through a lens to ignite the powder. Although the noon cannon could be adjusted according to the position of the sun, it was definitely not a precise timepiece – and on days with poor weather, it did not ignite automatically. At the end of the day, the noon cannon was simply a nice gadget.

The original noon cannon is now inside the residential palace and the one in the South Garden is a replica. Its location gives some idea of the size of the old canal, but the noon cannon is no longer used. It should not be confused with cannons which were fired manually to mark the time at midday.

Die Mittagskanone im Südgarten
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