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Garden Culture on the Via Regia

Our aim is to create a place within the cultural landscape of Thüringen in which the meaning of Garden Culture is redefined. At a time when garden style and gardening, for most people, is dictated by garden centres and glossy magazines, this project is an attempt to create a beautiful, harmonious, cultivated yet regionally integrated garden of the highest standard. But more than this, Garden Culture here does not only mean the garden itself, but also the way in which this goal is achieved, using traditional methods and techniques. Products are not purchased from garden centres, plants are not mass-produced from far-away sources. For us it is important to use regionally traditional methods and plants that are typical and suitable for the location.

The garden will be the centre-point for everything that will develop in Nermsdorf. It will be a place for meeting, for inter-generational learning. A place where experience and knowledge of older generations can be given on to those who realise its importance. Equally relevant is the necessity to sensitize newcomers to this knowledge. Consequently, the projects begin with the children. Gardens for children, cooking for children, even courses for schoolgarden teachers. Seminars about healthy diet, about the importance of regional and seasonal products – using them and recognizing them. All of this is a part of the learning concept.

The Farm

Nermsdorf lies directly on the oldest and longest trans-european trading route – the Via Regia. Even today it is still used by pilgrims as part of the Camino de Santiago. The road came from the west across the Rhine river to Frankfurt am Main, Hanau, Gelnhausen, Steinau, Neuhof, Fulda, Hünfeld, Eisenach, Erfurt, Eckartsberga, Bad Kösen, Naumburg, Weißenfels, Leipzig, Grimma, Eilenburg, Großenhain, Königsbrück, Kamenz, Bautzen, Görlitz then onto Breslau, Silesia and the Ukraine.

  • A society will be formed in order to revive the importance of this route, to research its local history, to reintegrate the farm into its historic context and become an historic preservation group in its own right. The memories of older locals can be put down on paper, a chronicle will evolve and the Via Regia in this rural area will, again, become part of the lives of the local population. The society will then use the garden and its facilities.
  • There will be temporary and permanent exhibitions covering local history and Garden Culture.
  • Readings, concerts, theatre, art and more will bring the ’classical’ forms of the arts into the rural scene, where they will combine with the central theme of Garden Culture. The garden will offer healing, reflection and self-discovery for guests. Simple refuge will be offered for pilgrims. Artists will be able to stay and work.
  • The whole farm will be gradually and carefully restored. The original layout and materials will act as a guide.
  • There will be a farm shop which will sell the products of the garden, the cookery courses, the craft workshops together with beautiful garden accessories. Inhabitants of the region can form a cooperative and be able to sell their products in the shop.
  • The Garden House will be the centre of the farm. A place for communication, creativity and study.

The older village inhabitants will be able to sit beneath the shade of the newly-planted lime tree in the courtyard and tell stories of old times - a meeting place for older generations where children are helped with their homework, the babies are fed and everyone has something to do. Soon there will be a cafe and a summer kitchen.

We will bake cakes together according to old recipes and we will learn to cook like the ladies who are now over seventy. Instant products were unknown then, only fresh and regional products were used. Leftovers were used up and food was preserved in a variety of ways.

The old and overgrown Via Regia that runs past the farm will be cleared. Everyone who wants to will be involved and after a long days work stories of the old trading route will be told around the fire.

The farm will become part of the community and will enrichen the lives of the inhabitants.