Royal Gardens of the Habsburg Family

2 x 45 mins; 2 x 52 mins

The Habsburg-Lothringen Family was, for centuries, one of the most powerful dynasties in the world; their empire was once so big, it was said that the sun never set on it. Their rule and their impact on the world are conveyed through architectural masterpieces and countless gardens and parks. This documentary brings to light this famous family’s “green fingers”, their glorious gardens, gigantic parks and astonishing plant collections. However, there were once more than the green wonders we know today, and only paintings, plans or sketches remain of the former terrace in the Hofburg or the Weilburg. From the so-called “flower Kaiser”, Franz I. to his brothers, Prince Karl, Prince Johann, Prince Anton as well as his sons and daughters such as Kaiser Ferdinand I. or Princess Marie Luise or Leopoldine : botany played a key role in Habsburg-Lothringen households. Their interaction with nature did not stop at their own borders: they often sent their botanists on expeditions to discover more types of plants. The result was an exotic diversity of plants which still fascinates us today. Amongst others, the agriculture (1808) as well as the horticulture associations (1837) were founded. The names and extraordinary achievements of the landscape designers and gardeners employed by the Habsburgs even made it into History books. One example is the Antoine Gardening Dynasty, which served as gardeners of the court for over 100 years. From collecting roses and cacti to cultivating fruit trees as well as state farms – the Habsburg-Lothringen gardens and parks were full of surprises. This film takes us on an exciting journey through this idyllic, green world, from English gardens to French geometric gardens, whilst always bearing in mind that gardens are mirrors of their time.

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