The Global Gardens of Schönbrunn
While it may seem completely natural nowadays to have easy access to products from all over the world, in the past it was considered a great luxury to procure certain goods from around the world. Amongst these luxuries were plants from the four corners of the globe, which only the elite could afford to go out and collect. Like many other royal households at the time, the Habsburgs were collectors of all kinds of exotic foreign materials, and the legacy of these collections can still be enjoyed today.
Much of the modern-day plant life in the gardens of Schönbrunn comes from expeditions that were carried out in the 18th century, most notably by the Austrian gardener and botanist Franz Boos. He traveled extensively through the New World and southern parts of Africa, sending specimens back to Vienna to be added to the existing collections. Boos was able to travel back to Vienna with relatively little difficulty, but his colleague George Scholl had to wait 12 years to finally get passage on a ship that was prepared to also transport his enormous plant collection! But without his patience and commitment, coupled with the seeds and plant specimens shipped back over time by Boos, the Schönbrunn gardens wouldn’t be what they are today!
Photo credit: schoenbrunn.at