Meet the Gardener

Reto Eisenhut

Get an insight into two amazing gardens with the exclusive interviews with their gardeners.

Reto Eisenhut

Reto is the Nursery Owner of the Botanical Park of Gambarogno, located on the hillside between Piazzogna and Vairano, above the shores of Lake Maggiore.

What is special about Gambarogno Botanical Park?

The story of how this garden came about is also noteworthy, especially bearing in mind that it was once an agricultural area. My father, Otto Eisenhut, acquired the land in 1955 and started planting Christmas trees and then started a nursery.

The project took off when he met two interesting personalities, Sir Peter Smithers – ex Secretary General of the Council of Europe - and Piet Van Veen - a retired dentist of Dutch origin and an expert in magnolias, camellias and irises – who ignited his passion and inspired him to expand the project. There is a well-known anecdote about Sir Peter Smithers asking my father to save his ailing magnolia campbellii Princess Margaret: he succeeded through experimentation and one of the magnolias thus cultivated was planted personally by Princess Margaret in the Villa Thyssen garden.

Are there any special plants in the park itself?

The park is known for having one of the biggest magnolia collections in the world.

It also has many other plant types, including over 400 types of citrus and more than 35 types of wisteria. There is also a vast collection of cornus and about 250 types of hemerocallis plants, as well as camellias, peonies and wisteria.

When is the best time of year to visit Eisenhut Park?

The most beautiful time for the blooming is from mid-March to mid-April and the following period until around mid-May is also a good time to see the spectacular colours.

Parco Gambarogno

Can you share with us some personal experiences in the park?

I’ve seen a lot over the years, one memory that sticks in my mind was when a group of blind and visually impaired people came. That visit taught me that there is more to the park than the view, it also stimulates all the other senses. I also find receiving children and school groups a rewarding experience: they are interested and quiet at the same time, and they are always amazed.