The Tiree Chmelar Herb Garden at Valtice Chateau
The Story of the Garden
The Garden Idea
A year before her untimely death in 2005, Tiree Chmelar had the idea to restore the Valtice Chateau historic herb garden to showcase native culinary, aromatic, medicinal and decorative herbs and to celebrate the 17th century herbalists based in Valtice. Spending 6 months a year in the region, she observed that the town of Valtice with its magnificent Baroque chateau and park was living in the shadow of the other, more popular Lednice Chateau. She saw the Garden and the Greenways program of cultural and environmental preservation together with sustainable tourism as a way to help the town of Valtice.
Designers and the Mendel University Horticultural School
The Chmelars approached Professor Premysl Krejcirik, PhD. who since 2003 ran a very successful Student Grant Program for the best students of landscape architecture at the Mendel University, sponsored by the Hickory Foundation and Friends of Czech Greenways. Professor Krejcirik became the project’s director. It is thanks to his dedication, patience and enthusiasm that the Herb Garden became a reality. The Garden was designed by three graduate students of Mendel University’s Horticultural School in Lednice, Mirka Svorova, Adam Baros and Jakub Finger, winners of a student competition in 2005. It is poignant that they were also one of the first students to receive the Hickory Foundation grant. The Herb Garden, its maintenance and management, has become a part of the Horticultural School’s syllabus.
What will you see?
The main feature of the Garden are the Theme Gardens forming a continuous line of six square flower beds at the northern side of the garden. Each theme garden has an information panel explaining different applications and uses of herbs in history and in our everyday life. The theme gardens are: Medicinal Herbs, Dyer's Herbs, Culinary Herbs, Mythology Herbs, Aroma Herbs and Lovers' Herbs.
A decorative Parterre showcases the decorative potential of herbs. The decorative flowerbeds line the garden's main axis, which leads and opens up to the most rewarding view from the garden of the chateau's monumental Baroque portal. A quiet area at the end of the axis with benches in front of clipped Carpinus hedges forms the garden's wall and helps visitors to fully enjoy the view.
A system of green vine covered screens was designed to create six private spaces where visitors can rest or meditate. These small Rooms display "meadows" that also are organized by themes: Aroma Meadow, Butterfly Meadow, Stone Meadow, Steppe Meadow, Honey Meadow and the Grains Field. Each room has benches.
The ornamental Cherry Orchard is designed as a gathering place for larger social events, wine tastings or weddings. The life of a tree and its seasonal changes are the central aesthetic feature of this space. At night this area can be dramatically lit by lanterns and torches.
At the Watering Wall, children will be able to draw water into their watering cans and water selected flower beds.
The Herb Garden project is a unique example of successful cooperation between governmental institutions and NGOs. Its main partners include: The Monuments Preservation Institute in Brno, which is the legal owner of the chateau and the garden site, the Mendel University’s Horticultural School, the Nadace Partnerstvi Foundation and the Friends of Czech Greenways, a foundation that the Chmelars started in 1995 in New York City to promote the Czech Greenways. The Herb Garden has also become a part of the EU funded program "Gardens Without Borders" run by the Austrian organization Natur im Garten.
- Občanské sdružení Bylinková zahrada Tiree Chmelar
- A not-for-profit civic association based in Valtice. Its members designed the garden, supervised its construction and now manage its daily operation and maintenance.
- Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Horticultural School
- The only school educating students eligible for licensing by the Czech Chamber of Architects in Landscape Architecture. The school provides ongoing assistance to the Lednice-Valtice Estate in park and garden management. The Tiree Chmelar Herb Garden is included in the School’s curriculum.
- National Institute of Monuments Preservation, Brno (Státní Památkový Ústav)
- Part of the Czech Ministry of Culture, it is a government budgetary organization managing monuments preservation in Southern Moravia, including the Lednice-Valtice Estate.
- Czech Environmental Partnership (Nadace Partnerství)
- CEG is the largest private environmental foundation in the Czech Republic. Its Czech Greenways Program (GWZS) provides grants and technical support to ecological projects and programs of local NGOs working towards sustainable regional development.
- Genobanka Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences
- The Institute supplies and studies seeds of historic plants and will use a section of the garden for its research.
- Natur im Garten
- Natur im Garten is an environmental program in Austria promoting the use of native flora, composting and responsible water consumption. Already more than 8.000 private and public gardens are following the principle of Natur im Garten. The program is supported by the regional government of Lower Austria. Nature im Garten is the lead partner organization of the crossborder European Teritorial Cooperation (ETC) project "Nature Gardens Without Borders", co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
- Friends of Czech Greenways
- FCG is a New York based not-for-profit organization. It promotes the Czech Greenways program worldwide and facilitates special projects in cooperation with Czech Environmental Partnership to preserve cultural and natural heritage through sustainable tourism along the Prague-Vienna Greenways.
- Hickory Foundation
- This New York private foundation supports education and the arts. It funds the Friends of Czech Greenways and sponsors the Tiree Chmelar Herb Garden project, Mendel University horticulture student scholarship grants and tree restoration at the Lednice-Valtice Park.