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State Garden Show at Ritzlhof, Part 1

November 11, 2011

My state* has a garden show every two years, always in a different place. This year it was it was at Ritzlhof – my old school. There are actually several schools sharing the buildings at Ritzlhof: three different horticulture schools** and vocational schools for landscape gardeners and florists.

I’ve been to the garden show twice, which I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t got in at a reduced price once, and for free the second time (only benefit of being on the alumni society board, so far). Not because it’s not a good show, but because it’s the third I’ve been to, and it sometimes seems to get a little repetitive.

The first time I went was in late June, the second time in late September, and I have to admit, some parts have improved with more time to grow.

But I’m still not overly impressed by the borders of annuals. What I do like, though, is what they’ve done with the area between the village of Nettingsdorf and the school grounds. When I went to school there, I took the train to Nettingsdorf, and walked to school between boring fields. Now, there’s this:

The area is supposed to become a public park after the end of the garden show. I hope they’ll get rid of the annual borders, but keep the perennial ones – I love the long lines of grasses!

I’m also in love with Salvia azurea var. grandiflora (Pitcher Sage):

And with this – what is it? Another sage? It wasn’t tagged.

I want them both! But of course, I just don’t have the space to start a Salvia collection, not if I want to grow vegetables as well.

The play structure is pretty awesome too.

Admittedly, I haven’t tried it out, so I don’t know if it’s awesome to play in as well (at the last garden show, they had a rather long tube slide, and I did try that one out), but it looks neat.

I also like that they’ve renaturalized the Krems, the small river along one side of the park area, and the tiny little stream in the school grounds.

It doesn’t look like much yet, but since I remember it as a straight ditch between fields, that’s quite some improvement.

Up at the school, there are a lot of changes as well. When I started attending Ritzlhof, there was a run-down little entrance hall and gym, two container classrooms because there weren’t enough classrooms in the old school buildings***, and a main road running between the buildings. There was (still is, I guess) an underground tunnel connecting the two largest buildings, which was allegedly built after a student had been killed crossing the road.

Now, there is not only a new school building, with a new entrance hall, gym and more classrooms, but also a new road, going around the school grounds instead of right through them.

Though I have to say, I don’t really like the way the new building looks – I just don’t like modern architecture. Although from what I’ve seen through the door, the inside looks nice, very bright and with lots of wood. (I’ve been inside the new building once, but that was last winter, when it wasn’t finished, so I had only the headmaster’s word that it’ll look nice.)

From the other side:

Can you believe that there used to be cars rushing through here?

The left building has the girls’ dormitories and the classrooms for the horticulture schools (the new building is on the other side of it), the right one the dining hall, boys’ dorms and the landscape gardening and floristry schools.

There’s also a separate building for practical lessons, which has a hall for practising things like paving or building walls. But it seems they haven’t been able to use it for that during the garden show, because instead of bricks, gravel and pavestones, the hall contained the floristry show.

Do you think I should wear this to Castlefest next year?

Since the hall is otherwise occupied, students “get” to practise paving etc. out of doors again – just as we did before the hall was built. With the little difference that this year, visitors of the garden show could watch the lessons. I’m sure the students were “delighted” – I’m so glad I was no longer at school this year!

I do kind of miss the school greenhouses, though – practical lessons there were always my favourite.

From the roof of the practise hall I had a nice view of the greenhouses and cutting garden:

The greenhouses, at least, were closed to visitors, so I had to content myself with peeking in the side vent:

A friend and I once got ourselves locked in there when we practising houseplant names for an exam in the evening. We thought we’d have to climb out the side vent, but luckily, there was a key left in the lock of one of the doors, so we could let ourselves out (but couldn’t lock the door again).

I doubt it’ll surprise anyone that I love these ivies:

This is getting kind of long – long enough to split it up! Stay tuned for part two!


* yeah, you Americans, go on and laugh at us silly Austrians with out tiny little country, dividing it up into states again… I find it kind of amusing myself.

** the vocational school I attended, ten weeks a year for three years; a four-year school where students go to school for most of the year and do internships at nurseries; and an evening school for people who have already worked in horticulture for a few years, but don’t have a formal education yet.

*** We spent one chilly autumn term in one of them, huddled in coats and blankets. I ended up bringing a thermos of hot tea, and my cloak – boarding school becomes much more fun if you pretend to be at Hogwarts. And one time we nearly set the floor on fire by taking the electric heater off the wall and setting it into the middle of the room (though it wasn’t really our fault – we always turned it off when we left, so we can only guess the cleaners turned it on and left it on when they were done – we arrived in the morning to find the container full of smoke, and a huge charred spot on the floor.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2011 02:07

    Wow! I wish we had schools like that here! I really like that roof garden, too. Beautiful!

    • November 12, 2011 09:19

      I don’t generally like flat roofs, but I like the roof gardens (they’ve got one down at the practise hall as well).

  2. November 12, 2011 05:48

    The mystery “salvia” is Clerodendrum ugandense. Also that playground looks kick ass!

    • November 12, 2011 09:17

      The flowers look a little like Clerodendron, but from the leaves/growth habit, I don’t think it is.

      • November 12, 2011 16:00

        But remember it’s the flowers that make the genus! If you go down to the bottom pictures the growth habit is almost exactly the same. I’m still voting Clerodendron 🙂

      • November 12, 2011 20:07

        Maybe… I still think the leaves don’t match. I stupidly deleted the other pictures I took of that plant, so I can’t prove it, though.
        Also, the bottom petal on this plant is patterned, and on Clerodendrum it isn’t.

        It was really quite mean. All the other plants were tagged, but this one wasn’t. I checked more than one specimen… well, maybe the garden show people didn’t know either!

  3. November 12, 2011 05:49

    and is that a Fatshedera I see in the last picture? Me want me want!


  1. State Garden Show at Ritzlhof, Part 2 « Letters & Leaves

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