In the Osnabrücker Land, the sign with the rose bloom directs cyclists to “Open Gardens”. In the United Kingdom the “open gardens” concept is an 80-year-old evergreen, and now the idea of opening private gardens to interested guests is flowering in Germany as well. The special GardenDream Tour in the Osnabrücker Land has its roots in a private initiative that was founded eleven years ago and now links 37 of the most beautiful gardens in the region by means of a 169-kilometre circular cycling route.
The distances involved enable visitors to view five or six gardens per day in the Osnabrücker Land. Some of the gardens are fairly small, but people who open up their garden gate to the public are generally happy to talk as well. So you can quickly strike up a conversation, share knowledge about fuchsias and whatnot and obtain tips and ideas for other gardens. This is one reason why the idea of the open garden is so popular – aside from the fact that people are naturally curious! The biggest garden on the Dream Tour is Ippenburg Castle. In the other direction, the excellently signposted cycling route takes you along the Mittelland Canal, through the pretty little half-timbered town of Bad Essen and finally to the multi-generation
garden at “Meyerhof zu Stirpe”. Be amazed at ancient robinias, a species which one normally thinks of as little housetrees that have been trimmed into ball shapes. Here they have grown to a size of 20 metres or more and now cast their shade across the romantic flowerbeds full of roses and superb herbaceous borders.
In order not to find yourself before a locked garden gate, we recommend that you make a telephone call before visiting some of the private gardens. However, the route also includes various gardens that are always open to the public, often adjacent to museums in the region. At the Eisenzeithaus (‘iron age house’) in Venne, a reconstruction of a prehistoric home, you will find the same cereals and vegetables being cultivated that people were already eating thousands of years ago. At the Tuchmacher Museum (‘cloth makers museum’) in Bramsche, idyllically situated on the little River Hase, old dye plants such as weld and woad are cultivated. The Varus-Schlacht Museum (‘museum of the Varus Battle’) in Kalkriese includes a park as well.
But you can also experience fascinating history lessons in private gardens, discover rare shrubs, rhododendrons and other exotic species, and admire startling decorative ideas. Each garden has its own story to tell, and awaits your visit.