Historically most Czech gardens were walled gardens associated with castles/chateaux and monasteries. Many of these in the south (Moravia) became very grand summer retreats with ornate baroque gardens in the French or Italian style featuring strong central axes, avenues, parterres, fountains and formal ponds. During the 18th-19th centuries many were redeveloped as more informal English-style landscape parks with grottos, pavilions, elaborate ruins and temples and large lakes.
There are several significant gardens to see in the Czech Republic, including gardens that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are beautifully restored and maintained.
The Czech Republic also has a very active Czech Union of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners with 170,000 members.
Garden Travel Guide to Czech Republic
Best gardens to visit in Czech Republic
Best gardens to visit in Prague and environs
• Vrtba Garden (Vrtbovská zahrada) is a beautiful Italian-style terrace garden with fabulous views over Prague’s Lesser Town. Parterre, roses, sculpture.
• Prague Castle Gardens – six gardens dating from different eras surround the Castle, with rockeries and terraces, rococo pavilion, rampart gardens, orangery, and 20th century gardens.
• Prague Botanical Garden in Troja – Japanese garden, tropical greenhouse
• Wallenstein Palace Gardens (Valdštejnský palác) – home of the Czech senate, this 17th century palace has a restored period garden with grotto, fountains, loggia and sculpture
• Troja Palace and Gardens – formal French-style gardens with parterres and sculptures
• Průhonice Chateau gardens – 15km south-east of Prague a romantic arboretum-style 19th century landscape garden covering 250 hectares, with large lakes, spectacular mature trees, rhododendron collection. Includes the Chotobuz Botanical gardens and its large collections of iris, peonies, daylilies and roses. UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Dendrological Garden of the Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape & Ornamental Gardening in Průhonice (Dendrologická zahrada) – Established 1970s, 73 hectares of plants presented in thematic groups. Open April-October.
• Dobříš Chateau – 44km south-west of Prague, historic chateau surrounded by 2 hectare garden of terraces, lake, fountains, sculpture and elaborate French baroque parterres
• Veltrusy – 28km north of Prague, a chateau on the Vltava River with large formal landscape park featuring pavilions, parterres, lake, fruit groves, kitchen gardens and greenhouse.
• Konopiště Chateau – 50km south-east of Prague. Last home of Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination in Serbia precipitated the start of WW1. Franz Ferdinand was a keen gardener and he created an English-style landscape park with mature trees, geometrical rose garden and many Italian statues.
Best gardens to visit in Moravia (Brno area)
• Buchlovice – French style parterre gardens overlay the original baroque Italian garden. Terraces, obelisk, fountain, sculpture, mature trees, spring bulbs, parterres. Special fuchsia collection.
• Kroměříž Castle Gardens – 68km east of Brno. Spectacular well-preserved Versailles-style walled garden surrounding the castle on the Morava River. Long 244m colonnade, mythological statues, ornate octagonal summerhouse, hermitage, waterfall, ruined temples, flower gardens, surrounding naturalistic landscape. UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Lednice-Valtice Park – romantic early 19th century English-style landscape park created by the Liechtenstein family around the historic castle of Lednice and then extended to the Valtice estate 8km away. Used as a summer retreat. Romantic ‘ruins’, temples, ponds, belvedere, colonnade, minaret prayer tower, greenhouse. large formal flower beds. UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou – 50km west of Brno – massive chateau with formal gardens along the Rokytná river. Clipped trees, avenues and orchards.
Best gardens to visit in Bohemia
• Litomyšl Castle- Renaissance 16th century castle: sculptures, perennial flower beds. Also the monastery gardens with ornamental pond and sculpture by Olbram Zoubek.
• Nové Hrady- nicknamed the “Czech Versailles”. A formal symmetrical rococo garden with patches and ornaments on its front courtyard. Although the second chateau courtyard serves as a utility vegetable garden, it is a beautiful sight as well. The upper terrace is interlaced with paths and patches with perennials and a small natural amphitheatre is also located there. The chateau garden includes a museum of cycling, and you may order horse-riding lectures at the stables and view fallow deer and stags bred at the farm.
• Kratochvíle – Italian renaissance villa built in the 16th century with surrounding walled garden and moat.
• Krásný Dvůr – Late 18th century English-style park. More than 100 species of trees with 3 main allées, and also the remains of ‘Goethe’s Oak’, estimated over 1000 years old. Landscape gardens with many romantic inclusions, such as temples, grottoes, obelisks, fountains and follies.
Czech Republic gardening events and festivals
• Olomouc Flora – 3 stage festival in spring (April), summer (August) and autumn. Smetana Park.
• Floria Kroměříž – late April
• Květy (Blooms) – National exhibition of flowers and horticulture. Lysá nad Labem, mid July
• Landscape Festival Praha (Prague) – mid September
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