The Rudolf Goethe Park, with its approximately 3 hectares, offers a wide range of exotic trees and rustic green spaces. Students, employees and visitors to the university campus have the opportunity to take a break in the publicly accessible park or take a walk along the curved paths at any time. The park is often used for festivals and graduation ceremonies at the university and the diverse and special plant population is actively integrated into teaching.
Some very old trees such as the old string tree (Styphnolobium japonicum) on the festival meadow, large ginkgo trees (Ginkgo biloba) and the impressive black walnut (Juglas nigra) probably come from the original complex.
The creation of today's Rudolf Goethe Park is directly related to the founding of Geisenheim University. When Eduard von Lade founded the Royal Training Institute for Fruit and Viticulture in 1872, a 2-hectare fruit park was created at the same time. Rumor has it that the park was designed by the Siesmayer brothers from Frankfurt am Main. However, this is not clearly proven historically. Although the park's fruit trees were sorted schematically, they were arranged in groups to create an attractive picture.
However, this attractive image apparently did not materialize, because when Rudolf Goethe was appointed director of the educational institution in 1879, he not only restructured the teaching operations, but also the entire fruit park. According to reports, it was “unsightly” and “missed” its target. The new park was intended to be an ornamental park, so all fruit trees were relocated to a reduced orchard and over 200 deciduous and coniferous trees were planted in the park instead. This new landscape park contained the typical elements of the parks of that time such as hedges, pavilions, water basins, carpet beds, pergolas and avenues. But the aspect of teaching was also always relevant; the special trees in the park were given labels and used for teaching purposes. The center of the park was today's administration building, surrounded by a few other buildings and greenhouses. The new ornamental park developed well and became increasingly popular. The exotic and special selection of plants also received great attention.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were some changes and expansions, including the construction of several new buildings, including the auditorium. Descriptions from this time show that some of the trees that are still in the park were already impressive specimens at that time. For example, the large black walnut (Juglans nigra), which was already one of the largest trees in the inventory in the 1930s, was highlighted. The giant sequoia tree in the west of the park, the female ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) on the main meadow in front of the administration, and the hanging string tree (Styphnolobium japonicum 'Pendula') at the pavilion are also already mentioned. Particularly highlighted is the picturesque overhanging cord tree (Styphnolobium japonicum) on the main meadow, which still creates a special atmosphere today.
Rudolf Goethe was an oenologist and pomologist who was born in Saxony-Anhalt on April 13, 1843 and died in Darmstadt in 1911.
Goethe studied at the Pomological Institute in Reutlingen and trained in landscape gardening in Bad Muskau. He managed and developed a tree nursery in Cannstatt and was director of the imperial fruit and horticultural school in Brumath near Grafenburg in Alsace. As the last stop in his career until his retirement, he headed the viticulture and horticulture college in Geisenheim from 1879 to 1903.
In addition to his focus on fruit and wine growing, Goethe was very interested in gardening and did his own planning. His family is actually said to be distantly related to Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.