The Prusian Casanova with the green thumb
There was a time when you could see huge, some hundred years old trees move through the beautiful countryside of Oberlausitz. And when they came across villages everything and everyone fled, because the trees would stop for nothing and often left a sight of destruction behind. Broken windows, devastated front gardens and even whole corners of houses were missing afterwards.
The bill was to be addressed to Lord Hermann Pückler of Muskau, as it was him, who bought the old trees all over the country. And with huge effort and money he would have them digged out to be replanted at their designated spot in his landscape garden in Bad Muskau. Those were gay times for the area. Pückler took care of full employment of its inhabitants, since everyone was involved in the construction of the park and his castle was the scene of many turbulent parties and capricious escapades.
picutre p.310/11, Andeutungen über Landschaftsgärtnerei by G. J. Vaupel
Nowadays Lord Pückler is mainly known for the ice cream named after him, but during Goethes times he was an important person of society. With his provocative and scandalous appearance on the political stage, as being a liberal, and with his numerous tête-à-têts he was always good for an article in the boulevard magazines. But he also got famous for being a writer, a landscape architect and a traveller.
Pückler once said that “he feels so much more alive while travelling” and he managed to do, what many people are dreaming of even today – he wrote books about his trips and they became international best-sellers. He wrote about his early travels on foot through the Alps and about his experiences in England including a critical view upon the English society. He gave a very controversial outlook on the Prusian society and finished his career as a writer with a book about his two-year trip along the Nile in a barque and on horse back accompanied by a huge entourage on the expenses of Mohemed Ali.
Lord Pückler on his trip through Africal
Whereas his books are almost forgotten today, the parks he built are still well known and, as some say, are the finest examples for the Art of English Garden architecture the European continent has known.
In Pücklers lifetime, the river Neisse was only a natural component within the perfect architectural arrangement of the park in Bad Muskau, but after Word War II the river became the frontier between Poland and Germany and divided the park in two.
Only in May 2004 the little white bridge that connects both shores got reopened and is nowadays guarded by boarder control. Even 135 years after his death the influence of Hermann Pückler has not ceased. For aesthetical reasons the boarder police is not allowed to build shelters.