Thanks to support by public funds, it has been an internationally-orientated centre for garden design and landscape culture since the Schloss Dyck Foundation (Stiftung Schloss Dyck) was established in 1999.
After careful restoration in recent years, the park now appears again as it did when laid out by Thomas Blaikie in the early 19th century in close collaboration with the then owners of the castle. After the interesting themed and model gardens in the entrance area, avenues and shady paths through woods lead to the castle and the various historical areas of the park. The large meadows and gentle hills provide an ideal location for the growth and development of the more than 200-year-old groups of trees and solitary trees.
Wonderful displays of flowers are produced by the sweeping meadows in April and by the magnificent azaleas and rhododendrons in May. Spatial divisions on the orangery peninsula are on a smaller scale, with flowerbeds and shrub gardens forming clear lines.
The park features a diverse and particularly well-preserved collection of trees and shrubs. There are few comparable estates in Europe in terms of their age and variety of species.
The Age of Enlightenment had dawned when Prince Joseph zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck took over rule of the estate in the 18th century. A botanist and collector of plants, he travelled widely, making contact with botanical gardens in many countries so that his collection of 1,500 species finally became one of the largest in Europe. In the early 19th century, Prince Joseph zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck commissioned Thomas Blaikie to design the park at Dyck castle in a landscape style. The Scottish landscape architect was able to plant the exotic bushes and trees in prominent positions, thereby giving the park the character which makes it such a special place in Europe today.
The tulip tree on the orangery peninsula, for example, has grown over the centuries to a rarely seen height and beauty while the giant yew on the south castle lawn is a truly impressive sight with its girth of 110 metres. A giant sequoia and various varieties of poplar keep it company. A southern cypress from Florida stretches skyward on the bank opposite the south wing of the castle. Kentucky coffee trees, robinia, and English oaks are among the many striking individual rarities which can readily be identified by means of discreet tags.
“Inward Views – Outward Views”: these can be experienced in the park in countless variations. Bridges and paths lead to the castle. Avenues and lines of sight repeatedly highlight the Baroque architecture impressively. Sometimes nature is shaped to form a scenic framework, sometimes it is nature itself which is the main motif of a scene, framed by a castle window or archway. The dendrological rarities in the park are attractions of great expressive power: nature seems to continue around them forever.
Visitors are invited to find their favourite personal spot in the park. One of the favourites is certainly the Baroque bridge gatehouse through which one passes on the way to the orangery peninsula. From here there is a view of the park and the main castle building, reflected in all its beauty in the calm waters of the pond. Of course the orangery with its sun terrace also ranks as one of the favourites. There one can enjoy a view of the peninsula and its square plant beds, a reminder of Prince Joseph’s passion for botanical collection. The countess’ shrub garden, which can be found directly at the neighbouring teahouse, invites visitors to take a rest in the shade. This garden is enclosed, engendering a sense of security.
Every well-known place in the park fully deserves its reputation. But it is also worth venturing a bit further. Then it is possible to discover romantic and secluded spots which, with a bit of luck, one can have all to oneself in the large park. It really is a missed opportunity if one turns back at the orangery peninsula after visiting the castle. One then misses out on the semicircle stone bench “Exedra”, for example, which invites visitors in May to come and take a rest after they have admired the brilliant orange, yellow, mauve and white of Mattern’s azalea garden or the profuse pink and lilac splendour of the giant rhododendrons. The finest specimens await visitors in front of the wood pavilion/exit.
Particularly in spring, it is easy to find the fragrant magnolia meadow and the meadow at the Kelzenberger Bach stream, with its flowering cowslips and lady’s smock. Visitors wishing to see ramson blossoms can “scale” the appropriate area of the park – it is located directly behind the rope and climbing section which marks the end of the themed gardens. But if one follows the laid-out paths one can also reach the area without performing acrobatics. The large and hilly park meadow with its striking old trees and circle of linden trees stretches out broadly. What could be a more beautiful place for a picnic?
Another “hidden spot” is also worth mentioning: behind the famous Baroque bridge, the path on the south side of the castle leads along the bank to a wooden bridge. The bridge is hidden in shade and the path continues across it into a small gorge flanked by the castle on one side and by mighty conifers on the other. It is refreshingly cool here, even on hot summer days, and the spot offers some interesting perspectives of the castle and park
Autumn provides a spectacular play of colours, producing brilliant yellow, rich brown and dramatic red. Winter heightens the contrasts, bringing out the contours clearly. Thus, each season in the park has its attractions.
Interesting ideas for designing one’s own patch of green are presented to garden lovers in the practical area directly behind the entrance: model gardens designed by renowned landscape gardeners demonstrate how to turn a small garden into an oasis. Themed gardens bring history to life; a tree horoscope provides information; a maze playground and a climbing section thrill young visitors. An individual area is dedicated to the theme of bamboo, presenting it in many variations and providing information on its many uses.
A rippling sea of flowers in all their hues welcomes the visitor to the shrub garden of the Friends of the National Trust in Germany, created in spring 2005 and modelled on the classic shrub beds of English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932).
The more than twenty square “garden rooms” in the Dycker Feld are embedded in Chinese silvergrass. These “rooms” approach the theme of landscape design both artistically and abstractly. The “Ten Variations of a Block” are particularly striking in their prominent location, i.e. the point at which several lines of sight cross each other in front of the historical avenue of sweet chestnut trees. Ulrich Rückriem, the distinguished internationally-renowned sculptor, created a sculpture group here from three-metre-high blocks of granite. Depending on one’s position, the sculpture appears to form an unbroken wall or repeatedly opens up new vistas as one walks around it.
Stiftung Schloss Dyck (Schloss Dyck Foundation)
Summer season from April to October
Park: Tues-Fri 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Exhibition in the castle 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Park: Sa/So/Public Holidays 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Exhibition in the castle 12 noon until 6 p.m.
Winter season from November to March
Park: Tues-Fri 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Exhibition in the castle closed
Park: Sa/So/Public Holidays 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Exhibition in the castle 12 noon until 5 p.m.
Visitors are permitted to stay in the park until dusk
Adults € 9.00; Concessions € 6.00; Children between 7 and 16 years € 1.50
Children under 7 years free
Events, programme, exhibitions:
Current information on the cultural programme can be found on the website: www.stiftung-schloss-dyck.de
- Shop: Yes
- Tea Room/ Restaurant: At the park entrance
- WC: At the park entrance and in the castle
- Parking: Designated free parking
- Seats and benches: Yes
- Average visitor duration: 2-3 hours
- Accessibility – in the park/ garden from the car park: The main paths are suitable for visitors with limited mobility
- Nursery: Sale of flowers and potted plants, herbaceous perennials and garden equipment
- Signs in park and on plants: Yes
- General map and further information on the park can be found on the website: www.stiftung-schloss-dyck.de
- Sale of regional products (apples, fruits, plants, honey, jam, juices etc.) at the park entrance
- Permanent and temporary exhibitions in the castle, tea house and orangery
Children’s programme/ events or other educational activities: Yes