Security back then
In front of the lodge there are two old sentry-boxes, where the soldiers on duty had to stand guard and make sure the duke and his family wouldn't come to any harm. You can still see the boxes, but I suppose today the family relies on a good alarm system. There were also a lot of sign saying"Attention, dangerous dog".
Around the whole park there is a high fence.
The Wolves in Wolfsgarten
A hunting lodge which is called Wolfsgarten needs to have some wolves, of course! When the lodge was built, it was shaped like a square, around a yard in the middle. This is where the hunters used to meet, before they rode off. In the center of this square there is a fountain, probably for the horses to have a last drink of water before they set off.
The water is running out of two wolves' heads.
One side of the lodge is dedicated to roses. Probably because we had an unusually warm April this year, the roses were in full bloom already. It was so beautiful!!
Rosebushes were growing up alongside of the house, mainly white and red ones. This again reminded me of a fairytale, Snow White and Rose Red.
The Sculpture Garden
Close to the lodge there is a garden, full with sculptures, very playful. All along on the wall you can see small sculptures and in the garden itself there are several, put up in a geometrical way. This is a garden in which the sculptures seem to be more important than the flowers.
An old sign post
Langen is about 20 minutes away from Frankfurt and about 15 minutes from Darmstadt. Today, that is!
Back in the 18th century this journey took much longer. There is an old signpost standing next to the lodge, saying "Four hours to Darmstadt". Probably that was a day trip they didn't do too often.
Prinzessinenhaus part 2
The Prinzessinnenhaus is locked, but I could see through the windows that there are still some furniture inside. A photo was standing on a table, with a picture of a little girl from about 1900. Stuffed animals can be seen, among them a pug.
Outside the house, there is a cemetery for pets. The inscriptions talk about the beloved pug or Labrador. Some of the tomb stones are from 20th century, as a member of the duke's family had lived in Schloss Wolfsgarten until her death in 1997.
Rhododendrons, so colourful
The rhododendron bushes have been planted on two sides of the park.Small and tall bushes, white ones, pink and red ones, purple ones, all truly magnificent.
Old statues are standing there as well. My favourite was one of a mother cuddling
A pond full of frogs
There is a pond in the park, covered by lots of water-lilies and again surrounded by old trees and flowers. Very small benches had been put up many years ago. The pond was inhabited by lots of frogs, all croaking happily.I was almost expecting one of the frogs wearing a golden crown, asking me to kiss him. But then again, there were younger and more beautiful women around, so I wouldn't have had to make this decision.
As it turned out, none of the frogs was wearing a golden crown and the only females they were interested in were the frog ladies.
Judging by the huge amount of tadpole I saw, they had been extremely successful.
Stairs for Fairies???
Walking through the park, we saw old, weather-beaten walls , partially hidden under flowers. Among the rhododendron bushes there were some old , very small stairs all of a sudden, seemingly leading into nowhere.All this added to the fairytale atmosphere.
One of the biggest attractions is the so-called Prinzessinenhaus, the house for the princess. The last grand duke and his wife were forced into marriage by their families, even though they didn't particularly like each other. They had a little girl, Elisabeth, born 1895.
A few years later , in 1900, a boy was born dead. The marriage didn't survive this and in 1901 they got divorced. This was unheard of and must have been the talk of Europe among the aristocratic families. I read somewhere, that it was the second divorce ever.
Elisabeth stayed with her father, but was very unhappy . To cheer her up, her father had a special house built for her. It's the perfect size for a little girl, but a real house.
Each side was built in a different style. There is a small garden around it, with golden pidgeons sitting on the fence posts.
A golden crown is on the chimney, her initials can be read on the house. My favourite is the window which seems to be an eye. (See Picture three.)
Above the door, there is an inscripton: "Once upon a time..., that's how a fairytale starts. But the child's words were put into action and this small house is now mine for ever. Only for my own, built in the year 1902."
She didn't enjoy the house for a long time, the year after it was finished she died of typhus.
Very old trees
You can see that most of the park has been cared for, but a very large part has been left
alone and is like a small forest. The trees are very old, some of them are quite tall.
There is an oak tree which is said to be protected due to its age. It's a very large tree, but
unfortunately I didn't see any sign saying how old it is. Judging from what I know about
similar oak tress, I'd guess about 400 years.
Schloss Wolfsgarten was built in the first half of the 18th century and only used when the count of Hessen went hunting with his guests.Later it was no longer used, so that in 19th century it had to be renovated when the grand duke of Hessen liked to live there with his family.It is still owned by the family of Hessen. They have created a trust to take care of their castles.
On two weekends a year it is open for the public, when the rhododendrons are in bloom. There are masses of the most beautiful rhododendrons in the park, but I liked the very old trees and the small pond better.They gave the park a truly enchanted feeling.
This year , for the first time, the park will also be open in September, for
" A princely gardenparty" .
You can read about this under www.gartenfest.de