An English Garden in Gütersloh

There is an English garden on the edge of city center Gütersloh. This city park, Stadtpark, or Volkspark (peoples park), is made up of 38.3 acres, seven and a half of which are a botanical garden. The entire park is very popular with the citizens of Gütersloh given its lushness and walkability. It has sometimes been referred to as Gütersloh’s green living room.

The Park is Created

Path Along Stadtpark

This English Garden was created during the years 1909 to 1914, and included a botanical garden. Parks like this were developed in Germany at the end of the 19th century, especially in industrialized cities. The rapid industrial and population growth at the time resulted in a deterioration in living conditions. Parks were created as places for respite, relaxation, recreation and physical exercise.

A popular area is the lake at the south edge of the park. It includes an island in the middle, known as the love park. In the winter, it becomes an ice-skating rink.

The Park is Restored

Old plans and photographs were used in 1992 to restore the park to its original design and expand the grounds. Toward the end of the restoration period, 1997-1998, themed plots were added in the botanical garden including sun, medicinal, fountain, and semi-natural gardens. I found the medicinal garden fascinating with 50 different herbs and plants that can be used in healing. I also walked down the perfume tunnel, along which a series of various plants offered subtle smells.

The following YouTube video is labeled the Botanical Garden, but in reality, it is much more the Stadtpark or English garden.

Sitting amidst the botanical garden is the Palmenhaus Café. It looks like a greenhouse without plants; instead, you can relax and enjoy a meal or a beverage while looking out at the various gardens.

Meiers Mill –

Meiers Mill

When I visited the park, I approached it along its western side and saw this large, half-timbered building. In the center was a display showing that it was a bridal salon. I thought, “How strange.” I crossed a bridge and went on. On my way back, I saw a clever painting of a waterwheel on the side of the building which sat alongside the waterway I had crossed earlier. As I got closer, I realized it was the real deal. Then I could see the small waterfall cascading toward the wheel.

Meiers Waterwheel –

I did some research on Meiers Mühle (Mill) and found that it is the oldest mill in Gütersloh. I learned that about 800 AD there was a large farm with mill which the farmers used to grind their crops. That farm became the beginnings of Gütersloh. Some of that land must have also become today’s Stadtpark and Botanical Garden.

Fact: The Stadtpark receives about 170,000 visitors every year
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Cuenca’s Botanical Garden

Along with the old in Cuenca is the new. Not long ago, there was a large plot of land on the south side of the city at the junction of two of Cuenca’s four rivers – Yanuncay and Tarqui. The site was ripe for development.

The City of Cuenca and nearby University of Azuay developed a project in 2020 resulting in the creation of Jardin Botanico. The Schools of Biology and Environmental Engineering have accepted responsibility for the development of this garden. Both students and faculty are making this into more than a garden. It will also be a research center.

The School of Biology is charged with installing native plants in addition to creating a pollinator garden. The School of Environmental Engineering is establishing a weather station to research the quality of soil and water. Their research will look at nature-based solutions for environmental issues. The garden will serve as a natural living laboratory, to gain knowledge of and solutions to our growing environmental crises.

This garden is in its infancy, but the infrastructures have been put into place. An extensive network of boardwalks was built, travelling along and arching over the planned-for vegetation. The grounds include a pond and waterway, complete with ducks. Next, a series of low-lying buildings were constructed, including an auditorium, cafeteria, administrative offices, and potting sheds.

Botanical gardens grace the other three large cities in Ecuador. Cuenca’s garden will take time to further develop, for plants and trees to grow, and for the citizens to visit. Appreciation will grow along with the vegetation, and Jardin Botanico will take its place among Cuenca’s other must-see important sites.

Fact: Cuenca’s green belt project has given 12 square meters of green space to each citizen
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