The Flower Island of Mainau in Lake Constance is really one enormous park, with a beautiful palace church, magnificent rose gardens, tropical greenhouses and an old, baroque palace. Its 45 hectares are home to an extraordinary diversity of flowers, trees and shrubs. Among the many treasures are rare and often very old trees, including a Victoria lime, planted by the grand duke in 1862 to mark the birth of his daughter. There is a bizarrely knotted pagoda tree, which is also around 150 years old. Many mighty oaks and proud cedars provide the park with a graceful silhouette.
Mainau in bloom
Another feature of Mainau is its wealth of plants in pots and tubs and its impressive collection of citrus fruit. The marvellous baroque palace can be seen from afar, high above the treeline. Restored under Count Bernadotte, it dates back to the Teutonic Order of Knights, who owned the island for almost 500 years from the 13th century. Firm favourites with visitors include the palm house, with its collection of 1,200 orchids, and the largest butterfly house in Germany, which contains 1,000 examples of exotic species.
Other attractions on Mainau Island include the palace church of St. Mary, a gem of the south-German baroque period, and the Italian rose garden, laid out in 1871 for Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden. From June to August around 9,000 roses of nearly 400 varieties blossom into flower here.