About half an hour from Heidelberg is a sweet little town called Schwetzingen – it’s small but it’s got a huge palace garden that blooms every year from late March to October. This particular week the garden has attracted hundreds of tourists and locals with its Japanese cherry blossoms, which form the largest collection of sakura trees outside Japan.
The palace itself isn’t especially magnificent – in fact, it was merely the summer residence of Electors Palatine Karl III Philip and Charles Theodore. Its structure and colors are similar to those of Barockschloss Mannheim (Mannheim Baroque Palace), which is about five times bigger and where the kings and electors spent most time in. I’ve never been inside the Schwetzingen Palace; the garden, however, is one of my favorite places. Especially this week.
There is much to see in the Schlossgarten but today we spent most of the afternoon in the mesmerizing cherry tree garden. I was told that the blossoms could last for a week at most, but if it rained or got too warm, they might wither within three to five days, so a bit of luck is definitely needed to catch them if you don’t live nearby. It’s not so easy to predict the blooming time because it largely depends on the weather of the specific year. This year, for example, is almost a week later than last year because of the slightly longer winter.
They always say, Spring is when the first daffodils bloom – when you see them, it’s probably time to look for the first cherry blossoms. Or in this case, when you see the cherry blossoms in the palace garden, you’ll see the fields of daffodils as well.
I wish we’d remembered to pack a picnic basket – what better way to enjoy such a beautiful day than picnicking with your friends in a garden full of silky pink petals? Besides maybe taking a nap while sunbathing or reading a book underneath one of these trees. Or walking your dog through the corridors of trunks and falling petals. What did we do then? We took pictures of people doing all those wonderful things.
There is a mosque as pink as the sakura behind the cherry tree garden. I’m not sure if it’s still in use but it certainly attracted many tourists taking photos of it today.