Every year in late April awakenes the northern German Ammerland from its slumber, and everywhere in the woods and gardens light up the colorful rhododendrons. We spent a short break in Westerstede and at the Zwischenahner Meer and the most beautiful “Rhodos” we found in the park of the Hobbie family gefunden.
My Highlights in the region of Ammerland:
♥ Rhododendron park Hobbie
♥ Eating eel in the restaurant “Fährkroog” at the lake “Zwischenahner Meer”
♥ Buy a rhododendron for my garden
In the past the rhododendron was a boring graveyard plant and was seen mainly in large castle parks. Today the alpine rose is getting more popular and grows in more and more private gardens. After our short trip to the German region Ammerland I was so excited that I bought a pink rhodo called “Love Song” for my own garden.
Short break in Ammerland – Cycling and watching rhododendron
The Ammerland region is flat and popular with cyclists, spa guests cavort in the small village of Bad Zwischenahn. But when the rhododendrons are blooming at every street from late April to mid-June, many tourists coming over for a short trip.
The green parkland between East Frisia and Oldenburg awakenes since the 18th century at the end of April each year from its slumber. Because in 1784 the landscape architect Carl Ferdinand Bosse brought the – originally derived from the Himalayan – rhododendrons from English gardens to the Ammerland. Today everywhere the large flowers of ‘Cunningham’s White’ illuminate in old pine forests and mauve ‘Catawbiense grandiflorum’ are flanking the paths.
Must-sees in Ammerland
The most famous rhododendron park is the forest park of the Hobbie family. More than 70 hectares of land are belonging to their area: At the entrance small Japanese azaleas bloom in bright orange and deep pink. Behind them there are meter tall pines, smaller rhododendron bushes grow below them, which are also up to nine meters high.
About two hours takes the hiking trail through the park, who wants, can spend easily a full day – on a bench overlooking the lake or on the narrow paths in the dense rhododendron forest. New: The path of the so called root beauties under the dense canopy of several meters high through rhododendrons.
“Many types love the penumbra and grow perfect in our jungle,” Birgit Hobbie told me. “And in 1928 the founder Dietrich Hobbie put the first seeds to the local ground.” From England-trips and excursions to the Himalayas the grandfather of the present owner borught new species that felt comfortable on the humus soil, but were sensitive to frost. By breeding he got new species with new growth habits and flower colors.
Besides to the Hobbie-Park there are other highlights that are connected by the rhododendron bike trail. A detour should lead to the tree nursery Bruns with unusual rhododendrons like “Johannes Rau” or “Berliner Liebe”. Also the “Park der Gärten” is worth a visit and attracts with numerous colorful rhododendrons.
Nice restaurant at the lake “Zwischenahner Meer”
Those who want to dine with a view and some sea-feeling, visit the “Fährkroog” at the small village Dreibergen. The half-timbered restaurant with the typical thatched roof is located at the Zwischenahner Meer wherever a fresh wind is blowing and numerous sailing boats are seen. In good weather, there are nice places on the sun terrace right on the lake. The restaurant serves regional specialties such as eel, but you will find also fresh fish on the menu.
Facts about rhododendrons
Among the nearly 1000 rhododendron species are also azaleas, so if you have no garden, a small azalea can find a home on your balcony. In recent years, there are more than 30,000 registered varieties created by various cultivars that have marked as “hybrid”.
Find more information at Ammerland Tourism.