Planetary Garden

Planetary Garden


From the very beginning, the grounds of the Eggenberg estate—today a UNESCO world heritage site—included a separate, enclosed garden. During the Baroque era this served as a vegetable garden, then in the 19th century as a show garden for the Eggenbergs’ nursery—demonstrating, together with the English landscape park, the various princes’ enthusiasm for gardening. During the 20th century this area was once again used as a vegetable garden, and later as a tree nursery. After this, however, there followed a period of neglect and the area became completely overgrown. In the late 1990s I was invited by the astute and visionary director of Schloss Eggenberg, Barbara Kaiser, to create something from this wasteland.

After visiting the site it was clear to me that it could not be made into a garden in the old style. In order to establish a link to the historic context of the palace, I decided to play with the notion of the ancient system of the planetary “doctrine of signatures”, whose iconography has great significance for Schloss Eggenberg. Lyrical garden spaces were created under the sign of each of the seven major planets: the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Mercury. (The planet popups are texts that Barbara Kaiser wrote as a guide to each planet garden space.) This garden is a modern equivalent of the fantastical cosmological concept of the house itself, which is why I called it the “Planetary Garden”.

The universe of this garden is not astronomical—instead it is philosophical and literary, and a continuation of the artistic theme of the palace (see Barbara Kaiser, Schloss Eggenberg, Wien 2006, p. 284).



Other gardens: Schlosspark Hornegg, Lindenhaus, Mediterranean Garden, Woodlandgarden