When we were first exploring our neighborhood after moving in we quickly stumbled upon our first mystery. A locked gate, behind which lay an Eden-like garden of towering trees. Five seconds later, after reading the small plaque next to the gate, we discovered that this park was a small semi-public arboretum. We jotted down the date of the next tour, there are only two per month, and didn’t think much more about it.
This morning we had cloudless skies for the first time all week, so I decided to go out for an early morning hike. On my way back home I walked by the arboretum and remembered that we had meant to visit soon and took another glance at the tour times. I saw that next tour was today and it started in twenty minutes.
Twenty minutes later Anna and I joined a group of 50 other locals for a tour through the 12 acres of gardens. We found out the estate was originally owned by the director of the Rhenish Railway Company, Carl Rennen, who planted a redwood (see photo below), two cedars, and a ginkgo tree which are still standing today. Did you know that the ginkgo tree is supposed to be spelled ginkyo, which is how it is pronounced in Japanese, but that in 1690 when Engelbert Kaempfer, made the first reference to the tree in science, his printer mistook his “y” for a “g”. Remnants of a world before spell check.
Did you also know that the moth repellent you buy, believing it to be cedar, is actually juniper wood? Well, now you do. They smell the same, but the one’s much cheaper. We toured the garden for an hour and a half and will surely be back in the fall. The Japanese maples are supposed to be splendid that time of year.