A few weeks ago, the Mr. and I decided we wanted to check out the Landesgartenshau Bamberg, or the Bavarian Garden Show in Bamberg.
Each year in Germany, a garden show is hosted in a city in each of Germany’s 16 states. (There’s also a national garden show, but that only happens every two years.) For the state garden shows, the cities change every year, and the idea is that (according to the Mr.) the event is created in an area or part of a city that needs some attention. Usually this means taking a more derelict, less-used part of the city and making it more user-friendly. Bamberg was selected as Bavaria’s city this year, and the garden show was created in an industrial area next to the Main River. Building the garden show there means that new paved pathways and landscaping will make the area more attractive for local residents to use it recreationally in the future.
Apart from the Mr. giving me this sort of general explanation, I didn’t really know what to expect from the actual show. Looking at the website also isn’t particularly helpful as there’s only limited information. I tried to think back to my time in the US and in the UK and whether I had attended any garden shows in either of these countries. I’m pretty sure I didn’t, unless perhaps I went to one in Indiana when I was a small child and I don’t remember. But I remember having seen footage on tv growing up of (and maybe we even attended once?) the Indianapolis Home Show. One of the most impressive parts of that show (as I recall) was an entire house built inside the exhibition hall. But mostly it was about home and garden vendors touting their products. So that was really my only reference going into the Bavarian Garden Show in Bamberg.
It was nothing like that, really. Apart from one area where it appeared they did have some vendors touting different garden patio materials and products (and we didn’t walk through that area), there really weren’t products being pushed at you. But when I try to come up with a way to describe the show in a nutshell, I find that difficult to do. It’s almost easier to describe it as what it wasn’t rather than what it was.
First of all, and maybe most of all, I would describe it as large park area with a lot of landscaping. If you’re into flowers and plants and want to check out different ones and maybe take away some landscaping ideas, I think a show like this could be really interesting. We had a lot of ground to cover if we wanted to see the whole show in one afternoon, so we didn’t spend much time looking at the flowers and their various names. What we focused our energy on was walking to and checking out the different “exhibits.”
“Exhibit” is a bit of a stretch. Really, they were more like points of interest across the grounds. Although I was too big to play on it, I thought this play area was perhaps the coolest thing to see there. There were quite a few interesting play areas and things for kids to do all around the show, so I think this would be a great day out for families.
In terms of exhibits or areas that were of interest to adults, however, these were much more limited. The highlight of the show for the Mr. was climbing up a big hill to the highest point and surveying the area around. There were lots of brightly colored chairs where one could sit and sunbathe, or just relax. That was a nice touch to the show, actually, that there were lots of comfy chairs and loungers scattered all over the grounds. It was good to be able to take a break in the shade and just relax and get out of the sun for a bit.
All in all, however, the Mr. and I felt the event was a little overpriced. We paid 15 Euros per person for the entrance fee, and frankly, there wasn’t all that much to see and do for an adult other than checking out the landscaping and a few points of interest. I possibly could have lived with the high entrance fee if we hadn’t been expected to tip the toilet staff every time we went to the loo. That really annoyed me. I’m actually okay with paying for a toilet in a public place as long as it’s clean and in good condition, but if you’re going to charge me a 15 Euro entrance fee, I think it’s completely inappropriate to expect me to pay for using the loo every time, too. We also noticed that some of the exhibits and toilets closed well before closing time. And to top it all off, when I tried to use the toilet at the entrance gate where you wait to take the bus back to the city center, the cleaning woman muttered that all the women’s toilets were closed (and this was still well before the actual closing time). The men still had a toilet to use, of course, but the women are just expected to hold it? In the end, a group of women took over the men’s and stood guard outside while we each went inside.
While I’d really like to see the presumably bigger and better national garden show at some point, I’m not sure whether I’d pay to see a state garden show again. I think I possibly would if we had children old enough to run about and enjoy the exhibits as some of those for the kiddies really were pretty cool.