Tulln is a small town situated about 30 minutes away from the cultural capital of Austria —– Vienna.
Tulln is easily accessible by regional trains (services that connect cities to towns) from Vienna. Take the Postbus, a yellow public bus service operated as part of local mail delivery, that doubles up as public transport in rural areas.
On the southern bank of the Danube River, Tulln is home to some architectural monuments dating to the Roman Civilisation and Middle Ages. However, it’s the garden that’s become the town’s prime attraction. Admiring the sights of the town, after a 10-minute walk, you reach the gates of Tulln Garden. In 2008, the Austrian Government started a landscape project on 50 hectares (over 120 acres) to create 60 different model gardens, making it Europe’s “only ecological garden show.” The project was set up as a long-term provincial garden, and is strictly organic. The Tulln Garden is a totally organic enterprise. No chemical-synthetic pesticides, chemical plant protecting agents or chemical fertilisers are used to maintain the health of this massive landscaping project.
A white sculpture of a woman stands out in the serene lake. She sits on a chair, right in the centre, smoking a cigarette. The sight here is ethereal ———- green in all shades and hues, birds chirping and Sand Martins and Wagtails enjoying the vast greenery, while Tufted Duck, Mallards and Swans swim in the lake.
60 gardens are divided into concept categories. The English Garden, designed by Kate Gold from Great Britain can be reached after wandering through the Farmer’s Garden and Wellness Garden with a natural pond. Each garden flows into the other naturally, making the landscape cohesive.
The English Garden is followed by a Portuguese Garden that links garden and culture, designed by Francisco M Caldeira Cabral. Both Kate Gold and Cabral are internationally acclaimed garden designers and gold medal winners at the Chelsea Flower Show. Other eye-catching gardens are a fragrant Rosarium and a Barbecue garden. However, the most interesting is the Raised Bed Garden. The height of the soil is raised to hip level (about three feet) so that gardening is an easier task without having to bend to back-breaking angles. Simple tips on crop rotation and beneficial insects are mentioned on placards. Another interesting element is the Roof Gardening concept, a practice that is finding many takers in Europe.
A section of the garden has been devoted growing grapes and a small tavern with seating arrangement makes it charming. Wine lovers can indulge in wine-tasting at the ‘Noble walnut tree’ bar.
Workshops are announced at the beginning of the year, for those interested in solutions to queries about how to grow grapes, among other questions about wine. A tall structure along the pathway, the guide explains, is a tree-top pathway to allow visitors an aerial view. At a height of 30m, it has been constructed overlooking the backwaters of the Danube and the garden. You can take an elevator to the top or walk up the stairs, enjoying the view at each level. From the top, you can look upon a maze created out of shrubs.
The café at the garden centre provides a resting place for tired feet and retail therapy for the soul. Wind-chimes, clay frogs, Buddhas, bird-houses, colourful pails and watering cans are all up for sale.
Tulln Gardens can get quite cold and there are chances of light showers throughout the year. Carry a light jacket and umbrella. The best time to visit is March-October.
The Tulln Gardens offers a variety of tour for visitors. One is a ‘general’ tour that explores all designs and plants with a special emphasis on the newly-developed gardens Another is the ‘herbal’ tour that guides you on getting healthy and staying fit in harmony with nature. For families, there are packages that include ‘guided’ tours, coffee breaks /snack breaks, and for those who would love to dine in the woods, there is a three-course meal too. To make it picnic, sign up for a canoe ride in the Danube wetlands, take a round of the garden and enjoy a snack. For those who want an outing in style, wine tasting, rose appreciation and a long boat-ride make for a luxurious outing.
———– Aruna Rathod.