A German friend from Heidelberg has just informed me that plans to re-create the Hortus Palatinus are under consideration by her city. At first, I was thrilled. But then she told me that she had signed a petition against it (this, from the friend of a garden historian!) and explained to me why it was so controversial. The remains of the gardenand the castle are now a free-form, free-access park, open at all hours at no cost and providing one of the only such spaces in a city of about 150,000 people. Re-creating the garden would replace casual spaces with formal ones, open access with gates and closing times, and free space with fees to defray the considerable costs of a new formal garden. I see her point.
I hope that the city will seek a middle ground...perhaps recreating a portion of the formal gardens while leaving the rest of the grounds as they are. Even I can't say that the beauty of a long-vanished landscape trumps current human needs. Your thoughts?
Also, apparently someone has beaten me to the 'virtual reality' version of the H.P (not that I have the computer skills for it anyway)....it's available on DVD for 34.90 USD. Now if only they could make it into a series of enormous holograms Heidelberg could have its parkspace AND the Hortus Palatinus.