The geometric-formal order of the Prince George Garden reveals the horticultural influence of 18th-century France. The orangery garden, water basin, hedge theatre, bosquets and sundials are the elements that characterise it.

Two Gardens in One

In 1764, Landgrave Louis VIII (1691-1768) gifted the garden to his second-born favourite son Prince George William (1722-1782). It was created from two originally independent gardens: the garden of Landgrave Ernst Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt (1667-1739) with a small palace and the garden of Lieutenant General Rudolf von Pretlack (1668-1737), acquired by Louis for this purpose, with an ornamental, brightly painted garden house. This amalgamation is still visible today in the unmistakable ground plan and the two main axes crossing at right angles. The ornamental and kitchen gardens were also connected in a special way: Flowers, fruit trees, herbs and vegetables alternate in the beds bordered by box hedges.

Family Celebrations in Idyll

Not only middle-class households, but also many aristocratic households owned a garden at that time. From it, they supplied themselves with food and created a rural atmosphere in order to revel in the supposedly idyllic, then romantically transfigured, peasant and shepherd life.


View of Prince George’s Palace, which has housed the Porcelain Museum with the Grand Ducal Hessian Porcelain Collection since 1908.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019
Herbal Garden

View across the herb garden to Pretlack‘s summer house.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

Pretlack's Garden House

Lieutenant General Rudolf von Pretlack had his garden house built by the Mainz architect Maximilian von Welsch at the beginning of the 18th century.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

A Family Retreat

For George William, the garden behind the high walls was above all an intimate refuge. Here he withdrew from official obligations and courtly etiquette with his family and aristocratic friends and enjoyed carefree pastimes and informal festivities.

Later Just Garden Land

With the death of George William’s daughter Luise, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine (1761-1829), the close ties between the Darmstadt princely family and the garden came to an end. Initially well preserved as the seat of the Grand Ducal Horticultural Directorate, the grounds later lost their original form as the domicile of a commercial nursery and as a result of partial leasing as garden land.


View of the Orangery Garden

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

One of the two sandstone sundials that adorn the garden.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019
Garden impressions

At the end of the axis leading from the palace, a seating niche invites visitors to linger.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019
Prince George Garden, sundial (detail)

Landgrave Louis VIII had the sundials erected in the garden. They show a small weather vane with his mirror monogram.

Foto: Michael Leukel, 2019

Fruit and Vegetables are growing side by side

Since 1947, the Prince George Garden has been in the care of the Hessian Castle Administration, which has reconstructed it on the basis of extensive research and transformed it back into the gem it once was. The historic planting with its characteristic combination of ornamental and useful plants is a feast for the eyes. 

Pretlack’s Garden House and Prince George’s Palace

In Pretlack’s Garden House there is a public reading room, stocked with book donations, where you can help yourself to the books available there and read them indoors or outdoors in the park. Since 1908, Prince George’s Palace has housed the Porcelain Museum with the Grand Ducal Hessian Porcelain Collection, which is open between April and November.