Ten Questions for Michaela Rathbauer
What is your favorite variety of rose and why?
That’s a difficult choice to make. Mainzer Fastnacht has the best scent, while for me Papageno has the prettiest color, and Sharifa Asma the most beautiful petals.
What exactly are the Hofburggärten?
The Hofburggärten comprise the four heritage-listed former Habsburg gardens: the Burggarten, Volksgarten, Heldenplatz and Maria-Theresien-Platz.
When is the best time to go and admire the roses in the rose garden?
The first bloom takes place between mid- May and the end of June. Everything comes into flower at once.
Who are or were the best known rose sponsors?
Gusti Wolf, Leopold Hawelka, Michael Heltau, Johannes and Nicole Heesters – take your pick.
Do roses have a special significance for Vienna?
The rose garden is very well known, many visitors only come to the Volksgarten to see it. But the roses did not appear until 1863, when the old city walls were razed to the ground. Back then, there was lilac and hortensia beds rather than roses.
How modern are the horticultural methods that are applied in Vienna’s parks?
Gardening is still hands-on work: pruning and overwintering roses, weeding and so on. But watering is automated, which saves us a lot of time.
What role do gardens and historic ones in particular – have to play in a modern big city?
Historic gardens tell the story of Vienna. Strolling through the parks helps you picture the days of the empire.
What insider tips can you share with us about Vienna’s parks and gardens?
Wherever possible, don’t just follow the crowd. Get on the side paths and discover those tucked-away spots.
How can I look after my roses at home?
Caring for roses is not at all complicated: fertilize them, deadhead fading flowers and keep an eye out for diseases. Organic pest control also helps.
If Vienna was a rose, which one would it be?
That’s an easy one: it would be Stadt Wien, a dark red variety with a long stem.
Interview: Karoline Gasienica-Bryjak