Impressions of the artist's garden
The traditional "Bergisches Land" is one of the landscapes in Europe that receives the greatest amount of rainfall on the continent. The vegetation and greenery of the landscape are correspondingly opulent. If a plot of land is left to its own devices, it soon becomes overgrown with very dense vegetation. Large areas of nettle and thorn hedges are not uncommon. In the immediate vicinity of the former Artists' Colony, if you follow the small country lane for about 200 m, which winds down the slope behind the half-timbered ensemble of the Red House and the Black House, you will notice an untypically built barn made of blackened bricks, and next to it a large square plot densely overgrown with blackberry hedges and other plants.
In the now overgrown area, next to the brick building, once stood the mine's winding tower. A large spoil heap nearby still shows evidence of the intensive mining activity. This almost square plot of land was once an integral part of the "Artists' Colony of the Black House". Hanns Heinen and his wife Erna Heinen - Steinhoff had also acquired this plot when they bought the half-timbered houses in 1932.
The barn was originally built for a completely different purpose. The building is actually an industrial monument and was erected in the last third of the 19th century as a pump house for draining the Höhscheid lead mine. The operators were constantly struggling with water ingress into the tunnels and decided to solve the problem with a steam-driven pump. At the end of the 1880s, the mine finally came to an end.
Hanns Heinen was a passionate gardener and found in contemplative gardening a balance for his intensive writing and journalistic activities. With great diligence and effort, he transformed the plot next to the former pump house into a large colourful ornamental garden. A large venerable cherry tree with a mighty trunk and branches was the centrepiece of this garden. The space under the tree was a focal point for the Heinen family and later for the artists of the colony, as well as for the numerous visitors to Erna Heinen-Steinhoff's salon. Especially in summer, large garden parties were held at long tables. When it rained, people took refuge in a small gazebo right next to the barn. For a long time it was possible to experience a spectacular view from the garden over the mountainside down to deep into the Rhine plain. In the front wheat fields and in the middle field the Kohlsberg farmstead with the prominent church.
The garden was surrounded by wheat fields until the 1980s. This made it a perfect observation spot for the artists. The view, the numerous flowers, the cherry tree and the other ornamental plants - then in the famine years after the war the useful plants - were of great value to the artists and to the Heinen family and provided many motifs. The garden was in every respect an artist's garden and stands in a tradition like Monet's garden in Giverny, but without water bodies and water plants. In the context of the upcoming museum project, this garden would be an ideal addition to a possible museum parcours.