Rose garden (Dresden)

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View over the middle section of the rose garden to the pavilion, in front the bronze sculpture Recovery

The Rose Garden is a landscape garden on the Neustadt bank of the Elbe in Dresden. Today, the rose garden is a listed building and is open all year round with free admission. On about 29,500 square meters are partly still from the time of origin origin woody plants next to currently about 100 different varieties of roses and various sculptures to see.


The Rose Garden is located on the Neustadt side of the Elbe to the right of the bridgehead of the Albert Bridge. It is bordered by the Carusufer, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and the Elberadweg. In the immediate vicinity of the Rose Garden (to the left of the bridgehead of the Albert Bridge) is the Perennial Garden with the Archer by Ernst Moritz Geyger.


The Rose Garden 1935

Center axis

The Rosarium was built in 1935/36 according to plans by the city garden director Heinrich Balke. He implemented Augustus the Strong’s old idea of a flood-free riverside promenade in such a way that this “Königsufer” with its special gardens could become a counterpart to the Old Town side of the Elbe built up to the river bank

A large part of the still existing woody plants originates from the time of origin of the rose garden. It can be assumed that with the dismantling of the Reich Garden Show that took place in Dresden in 1936, many of the plants shown there were also used in the continuation of the construction measures on the Königsufer in Dresden. Parts of the basic structures in the central section are similar to temporary green spaces in the 1936 Reich Garden Show, where they were called Exhibition Section No. 45 Rose Garden.[1] For the annual Garden and Home Show in 1937 (23 April to 30 September), the overall design of which was also by Balke, these installations in the Great Garden were preserved structurally unchanged and were listed as exhibition section no. 51 The Rose Garden with the “Butterfly” Dance Café. The city garden administration of Dresden was responsible for their planting.[2] It can therefore not be concluded that this exhibition area was taken over directly as part of the planning and construction of the rose garden on the banks of the Elbe in Neustadt.

During the Second World War there were great losses to the artistic furnishings, for example statues were melted down as precious metal donations. During the air raids on Dresden in February 1945, parts of the Rose Garden were hit by aerial bombs. The damage to the garden was exacerbated in the first post-war years by the use of the land for vegetable cultivation. The effects of the Second World War prevented the full implementation of the original design concept. With the loss of all plans and documents in February 1945 and the departure of Heinrich Balke from Dresden, there were no longer any sources of information that could have been consulted when horticultural activities in the rose garden were resumed at a later date. In 1976, the Rose Garden was rebuilt on the occasion of the Workers’ Festival taking place in Dresden. However, the alterations mainly related to the inner areas of the Rose Garden and left the peripheral areas in their original state. Due to the lack of an overall concept, until the start of the first reconstruction measures in 1997 and the extensive research associated with them, individual woody plantings were repeatedly made in the peripheral areas, which from today’s point of view can no longer be integrated in terms of monument preservation. In addition, a lack of maintenance capacity in the post-war years and a lack of knowledge about the basic design idea led to a continuous spread of black locust and winter lime trees on the rose garden embankment on the Elbe side next to the Crataegus path. From 1988 onwards, the small-crowned shrubs originally planted in connection with shrub roses, such as cornelian cherry, hawthorn, Swedish hackberry and field maple, were cleared.


The orientation of the rose garden along the banks of the Elbe is interrupted several times by transverse axes, which on the one hand offer views into the Elbe area and on the other hand form larger thematically self-contained sections surrounded by hornbeam hedges. This hedge, with its strictly geometric form, is both a separating and connecting element. The shrubs of the rose garden are an important part of the overall design of this garden space. The individual parts of the garden are visually separated from each other by a constantly changing use of size, shape and colour, which is repeated several times in its entirety. At the same time, the overall design impression is preserved. In addition to spatially framing the rose garden, the woody plants also have the task of emphasizing visual relationships in and to the park as well as out into the Elbe region

Front part

Flowers of the bow-tie

The front section can be entered from Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Its design is mainly realized with selected rose varieties of the 1930s and shows a rather landscape character in its design form. The restoration of the historic planting areas on the corners of the central lawn mirrors the original design idea of a restrained prelude. In 2000, the historically documented slate paths in the shrub rose areas of the marginal strips were re-established. Only through these paths is it possible to experience the shrub roses and thus offers the most important prerequisite for an addition to the existing stock in this area oriented to the historical original. The visual relations are formed in the front part by two fan maples and red-leaved fan maples planted diagonally on each corner. In May, another “focal point” is created with the arching lilac.

The entrance to the front section is formed by four putti made of shell limestone by Max Hermann Fritz, representing the four seasons.

Intermediate piece

sculpture “ani-mal”

To the east of the front section is the middle section. The front and middle sections are separated by an intermediate section with red oaks. From the side facing away from the Elbe, one can enter the intermediate piece through the farm building in the form of a gatehouse. On April 22, 1999, the sculpture was erected ani-mal by Steffen Bachmann on the Elbe side of the intermediate piece. A competition was held for this location, the basic idea of which was to reoccupy the pedestal of the no longer existing bull sculpture created by Ernst Moritz Geyger. At present, there is no definite information about the whereabouts of this sculpture. It is very likely that this bronze was donated to the German Reich in 1942 or even later.


Bronze sculpture recovery

Centerpiece – pavilion on the right

The Fairy

Ground cover rose Bonica 82 – planted in the middle part of the rose garden

At the beginning of the middle section is the bronze sculpture Genesung by Felix Pfeifer. The visitor’s gaze is guided in the middle section by the star magnolia, purple apple and lilac in spring and three Parrotia persica in autumn (with a different but simultaneous autumn colouring). In the middle section, roses representing an important part of the rose varieties bred in the GDR were again planted in accordance with a historically verifiable colour gradient. The colour gradient from white to orange to pink, dark red, red and yellow can be seen most clearly in the more than 70 rose beds in the central axis. To the left and right of this axis, further beds have been prepared for planting. The high trunk rose quarter on the Elbe and street side, which is also still to be planted with GDR rose varieties, is bordered by the ground cover rose Bonica 82. The following rose varieties are represented in the central section: The Fairy with pink flower color and shrub roses with yellow flower color Rosa hugonis, ‘Dryburg Castle’ and ‘Wartburg’. At the end of the central section are a pavilion and two seating rondels in red Weser sandstone, each with a small bronze bear. In 2000, the Parks Department, with financial support from the Stadtsparkasse Dresden, succeeded in restoring both seating rondels. The two small bear sculptures by Rudolf Löhner, which had been placed in the Dresden Zoo at the former music pavilion until 1999, then returned to their original place of installation, on the seat walls of these two rondels.

An important transverse axis that effectively interrupts the longitudinal alignment of the rose garden is the delphinium garden, which was reconstructed in 2002 and planted with colour-coordinated high delphiniums. When selecting the individual varieties from the large delphinium assortment, Karl Foerster’s breeds were used. These are considered to be stable in growth and colour, extremely resistant to mildew and are known above all for the “fascination and clarity of their blue” (Hermann Göritz).


A large flight of steps leads to the third part of the grounds, the sunken garden. In this clearly lowered area, rose varieties of matching colours are planted in a flat pattern. In their entirety they stylise a rose bud. As here, in the other parts of the rose garden the rose is subordinated to the design and is a means to an end. Furthermore, two Viburnum rhytidophyllum groups are planted in the sunken garden. The coastal Douglas firs planted on the corners of the garden are visible from afar and indicate that the park is located here.

The sunken garden is cautiously closed off by the building of today’s Café Rosengarten, in keeping with the idea of the garden. It was severely damaged during the flood of August 2002. The changes made during the reconstruction run completely counter to the original integration of the building into Heinrich Balke’s design concept. In front of the building there is a fountain with a fountain bowl.


Sculpture by Otto Rost

At the southeast corner of the Rose Garden by the Coffee Rose Garden, the sandstone sculpture Große Kniende by Otto Rost marks one endpoint of the garden. Today it stands on a pedestal on which the bronze sculpture Girl with Gaz elle by Georg Wrba, until its loss in the last years of the “Third Reich”, stood in its original state. The sculpture was originally located on a site in front of the garden front of the Rose Garden Café on the current site of the fountain bowl.


  • Folke Stimmel: Stadtlexikon Dresden A-Z. Verlag der Kunst, Dresden 1994, ISBN 3-364-00300-9.
  • Hildegard Adermann: Art in Public Space. Kulturamt Dresden, Dresden 1996.

Web links

Commons: Rose garden– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Reichsgartenschau Dresden 1936 (ed.): Reichsgartenschau Dresden 1936. 1st Reichsausstellung des Deutschen Gartenbaus. Official exhibition guide. ed. Responsibility: Herbert Roth, 2nd edition, Dresden (Verlag Reichsgartenschau) [1936], p. 66, general plan
  2. Dresdner Jahresschau 1937. garden and home (ed.): Dresdner Jahresschau 1937. garden and home. Official exhibition guide. ed. Responsibility: Herbert Roth, Dresden (Verlag Dresdner Jahresschau 1937) 1937 pp. 36-37. general plan

Coordinates 51° 3′ 35″ N, 13° 45′ 22″ E