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Archiv - Gartenreisen mit Hortitours

»Deutschlands alte Bäume«

Freitag, 20.7. - Sonntag, 29.7.2007

Tanzlinde zu HimmelsbergBäume haben eine ungeheure Anziehungskraft auf uns Menschen. Vielen ist es nicht bekannt, dass gerade Deutschland ein Zentrum von Baumgiganten ist. Gerade die Gattung Tilia mit ihren Winter- und Sommerlinden hat in Deutschland die größte Verbreitungsdichte und somit auch die meisten Giganten innerhalb dieser Gattung. Selbst die Deutsche Bundespost hat mit der Sondermarke »Tanzlinde in Himmelsberg« die deutschen Baumgiganten gewürdigt.

In diesem Jahr organisierte Hortitours eine Baumreise für 12 japanische Fotografen - allen voran Starfotograf Shigeru Yoshida, der zusammen mit Stefan Kühn (Deutschland) und Thomas Packenham (Vereinigtes Königreich) die Trilogie der großen und talentiertesten Baumfotografen bildet.

Diese Reise folgte dem Bildband »Deutschlands Alte Bäume« von Stefan Kühn. Im Vorfeld wurden 19 Bäume ausgesucht, die dann innerhab von 10 Tagen mit viel Zeit und Ruhe besichtigt wurden.

Da die Reisegruppe in englischer und japanischer Sprache durch Süddeutschland geführt wurde, ist der Reisebericht auch in englischer Sprache abgehalten. Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Spaß bei der Lektüre.

Das Buch zur Reise: "Deutschlands alte Bäume"The following German texts to the individual trees were taken with kind permission by BLV Publishers and translated into English by us. The texts can be read in the German Book "Deutschlands alte Bäume", BLV Verlag, München, 2007.

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Tour Review

  • Zum OchsenFriday, 20. July

Willkommen in Deutschland - Welcome to Germany! We are very pleased to pick you up at Frankfurt International Airport.

Please take your luggage and come with us to the Jablonski coach in the parking area. Once we have loaded our belongings into the coach the journey will start. We will leave Frankfurt in southwesterly direction and in the evening we will arrive at our guest house "Zum Ochsen" in the famous town Rothenburg of der Tauber.

Rothenburg is located in the bavarian region of Franconia. Franconia is a historic region in modern Germany, which today forms three administrative regions of the federal state of Bavaria: Lower Franconia (Unterfranken), Middle Franconia (Mittelfranken), and Upper Franconia (Oberfranken).

  • Saturday, 21 July

Today started with a good breakfast in our hotel. Afterwards we departed for our first busy day watching four trees. First we headed off to the small village of Hollenbach (District Hohenlohe) to visit the large-leaved lime, Lindenlaube (Tilia platyphyllos) (No. 116). The tree is 400 - 700 years old and in 1988 it had a circumference of 7.80 m

Hollenbach Lime ArbourThe Hollenbach Lime Arbour on Hohenlohe Plains marks a former gathering place and place of jurisdiction. Hollenbach was the original parish of the Franconian Kings and courts were regularly held here, in a place protected by a moat and wall. Medieval legend has it that a woman who had born a child outside marriage was sentenced to death under this lime tree. The sentence was executed in a nearby oak forest that continues to be called 'gallows wood' to this day.

Right from the start, the side branches of this large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos) seem to have been tied to a horizontal wooden frame for support. In 1747, the local bailiff, Rosa, wrote that 'at least 30 stems are necessary to support this tree, which acts as something akin to the community's town hall; all local matters are discussed here.'

After World War I, the lime became a war memorial. Ever since, its 7 mighty horizontal branches rest on 17 concrete pillars into which the names of the 31 dead soldiers have been engraved. In front of the tree, a slab of shell limestone was placed, with a laurel wreath, a steel helmet and iron cross and the defiant text:

'The grateful local community - to our fallen sons - undefeated in death, not forgotten, not lost'. This peaceful lime was able to escape its death to this day. In mid-19th century, its crown cracked in a severe storm, but it recovered.

In August 1979, just before a long-planned professional restoration, its life was surprisingly endangered. Playing children had found a gaping wound 7 cm wide in its trunk. Soon the whole village knew and the mayor, craftspeople and citizens tried to prevent a further cracking of the tree. Winches and cables were used to nearly close up the crack, lifting the branches. To mark the occasion, the local 'Gasthaus Linde' pub gave two bottles of free beer to all those involved. In November 1979, a professional restoration was carried out; its effects are visible to this day.
Location: At the Hollenbach Church north-east of Künzelsau.

We departed Hollenbach and our journey took us eastwards along the motorway towards the small village of Emmertshof. Here we meet Family Bühl to view the Giant Oak (Quercus robur) on the Emmertshof farm (No. 113) in the District Hohenlohe. The tree is 400-600 years old and in 1988 had a circumference of 10.75m.

Emmertshof OakIf you use your imagination, the broad crown of the Emmertshof Oak looks like a giant's boot which has put down roots and is now growing mighty branches. It is around 20 m high and its strong, almost horizontal branches reach out around 35 m. Farm oaks are rare in Southern Germany because according to popular wisdom, they attract lightning.

And in fact, this oak was scarred by lightning a long time ago. Formerly, this pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) was located near an old fisherman's farm which had to give way to road construction. These days, it is clearly visible from the federal road passing nearby.
Location: Emmertshof, north of the Neuenstein Exit on Motorway 6

After a good lunch on the farm of Emmertshof the journey took us to Schloss Weiler in Weinsberg. The palace is nowadays owned by a software company. We had chance to view the famous Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) in Schloss Weiler (No. 119). The tree is 300-500 years old and in 2001 had a circumference of 6,82 m.

Horse ChestnutThis horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), named after Kastania, a town in Northern Greece, is native to the mountain forests of the Balkans. From the 17th century onwards, it commenced its victory march through Central European parks and gardens. Its conspicuous, white or pink panicles, its shiny, reddish-brown fruits and yellow autumn colour make it popular to this day.

A famous and well documented chestnut tree can be found in the Castle Park at Weiler, at the foot of the Löwenstein Mountains in the heart of the nature park in the Swabian and Franconian Forests. In their 'Swabian Tree Book', published in 1911, Otto Feucht and Emil Speidel described it as follows:

'On a hill, this giant trunk rises up, surrounded by a square wooden bench. As low as 3 m, the trunk splits up into three main branches, each growing and splitting in turn, surrounded by a ring of branches bending outwards, some pointing upwards again to make a wonderful, semi-rounded crown'.

Almost a century later, this semi-rounded crown continues in all its surprising beauty. The 'unequalled size and beauty' which was described in the 'Swabian Tree Book' is the more true today for in 1861, the chestnut had a circumference of 4.87 m, in 1911 it was 5.40 m, and in 2001, we measured 6.82 m. If the tree always grew as slowly as it did in the past 140 years, one might estimate its age at up to 600 years.

Its further well-being, however, is now endangered by an introduced pest - the so-called horse chestnut leaf miner, whose caterpillars crunch innumerable tunnels into the leaves and cause infected trees to shed their leaves early.
Location: Castle Weiler Park north of Löwenstein. Private Property.

The journey to our next tree took about one hour and we reached Wiesenbach/Blaufelden towards the late afternoon. Here we also met Stefan Kühn, the author of the book "Deutschlands Alte Bäume". Stefan was with us for the rest of the day and we could share with him our excitement of old trees.

Summer LimeIn Wiesenbach we could see the Summer Lime (Tilia cordata) (No. 124)*. The tree is 500-800 years old and in 1996 had a circumference of 9,65 m.

The small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) in Wiesenbach is a dendrological gem in the Hohenlohe district. It is supposed to have been a farm tree for a long time. But the farm to which it belonged was abandoned in the course of the 30-years-war (1618-1648). Three centuries previously, in 1350, the ancient lime is supposed to feature in the Hohenlohe tenancy records. This might just make it a real 'Thousand-year-old'.

It is charming how this small, crouched lime was able to maintain its shape and beauty into our days. Despite its age and trunk split by lightning, its overall shape is very harmonious. Its crown is pyramidal in shape, recalling the primary crown of young lime trees.
Location: Wiesenbach, on the road to Schmalfelden

Today was a long and exciting day. We retuned back to our hotel "Zum Ochsen" and had dinner together with Stefan Kühn. He shared with us his love of old trees and as a surprise for all of us we received a signed copy of the new edition of Germany's Old Trees.

Next: Sunday, 22. July