Station: [21] Bottom of the Garden

There’s an almost majestic air about Palais Wunderlich, standing there on its knoll and overlooking the garden down below.

But the difference in altitude has to do with more than just architectural presentation. The property stands on the slope of a local hill here in Lahr, called Schutterlindenberg. It’s just north of here and is 300 metres or just under 1,000 feet high.

In the early 18th century, the earliest recorded owners of the site, the Weghaupt and Binz families, grew grapes on this gently sloping land. So Palais Wunderlich stands in a spot that was occupied by grape vines some 300 years ago.

The soil around Lahr consists of firm, nutrient-rich loess – and since it’s on a south-facing slope, the conditions are almost ideally suited to wine-growing.

But by the late 18th century, the land along Kaiserstrasse, the road linking Lahr and Dinglingen, was increasingly being built on. Farmland was replaced by kitchen gardens and ornamental gardens ... or put to industrial use, as in the case of Adolf Friedrich Bader's cigar factory.

It was probably Bader's successor, Jakob Bucherer, who started renting out individual apartments in the mansion at the end of the 19th century. After the Second World War at the latest, the garden area was divided into plots separated by low ridges of earth, giving the tenants a chance to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The fruit trees growing along the eastern edge of the garden belong to that same tradition. They include cherry plums, two types of wild plum, a cooking plum know as a Zwetschge, and greengages, which provide delicious crops year after year.

If you like to sample them – the jams made by the landlord himself are available in the lobby!

All depictions: © Palais Wunderlich