Nature and culture
The parks and gardens of Vienna are ablaze with flowers in the summer months – but their cultivation is a serious business
Nature and culture go hand in hand in Vienna with its myriad of historical parks, greened buildings and plant installations. The way in which these two factors combine is as diverse as nature itself. This is not surprising in view of the fact that from its earliest origins mankind has been intent on shaping nature for its own purposes – be it in the romantic setting of an English landscape garden in Laxenburg Palace, or the baroque topiary and flower arrangements in Schlossgarten Schönbrunn. Whether exploring the maze in Schönbrunn or admiring the landscaped gardens in the style of the eighteenth and nineteenth century from a boat in Laxenburg, visitors have plenty of opportunity for strolling and relaxing in the natural surroundings that these parks offer.
Outdoors and indoors
Even on rainy days there is still plenty of greenery to enjoy in Vienna. The Kunsthaus designed by architect and natural philosopher Friedensreich Hundertwasser has fascinating exhibitions and a café overgrown with plants and trees, in line with Hundertwasser’s belief in green architecture. This is something that Vienna’s waste management department has also taken to heart. The 17,000 plants that adorn the façade of its headquarters prove that greenery can also take a vertical direction – with heat insulation included.
Several current projects demonstrate the growing popularity of urban gardening. One of them runs until 15 September at Krongasse 20 and offers vegetable plants instead of car parks. Inside the building visitors can explore Alois Mosbacher’s installation ‘Wald’ (Forest).
“Zu spät” (Too late) can be seen until the end of October on Morzinplatz in front of the former Gestapo headquarters. The lettering was formed by artist Carola Dertnig from particularly hardy plants and recalls the murder of homosexuals and transgender persons during the Nazi era.
The outdoor world is also on display at the 21er Haus, the section of the Belvedere devoted to contemporary art. To mark the opening of the permanent exhibition the Austrian artist Hans Schabus arranged 20 tree trunks to spell the word ‘museum’. The arrangement is not only interesting to look at but can also be touched.
City & animals
Crabs in the living room or monkeys on the roofs of Mumbai: away from idealised ideas of nature, Freeze at the Natural History Museum presents dioramas and still lifes of animals and plants in the city and looks at the adaptation of various species to man-made urban habitats.