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Hoop-La, a giant sculpture by American artist Alice Aycock, is one of many works of art spread out through the gardens of the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show runs through Oct. 6, 2019.
Hoop-La, a giant sculpture by American artist Alice Aycock, is one of many works of art spread out through the gardens of the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show runs through Oct. 6, 2019. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Hoop-La, a giant sculpture by American artist Alice Aycock, is one of many works of art spread out through the gardens of the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show runs through Oct. 6, 2019.
Hoop-La, a giant sculpture by American artist Alice Aycock, is one of many works of art spread out through the gardens of the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show runs through Oct. 6, 2019. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
There are gardens big and small to see at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show lasts until Oct. 6, 2019. The next one is in Erfurt in 2021.
There are gardens big and small to see at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show lasts until Oct. 6, 2019. The next one is in Erfurt in 2021. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Visitors to the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn take photos of the flowers in bloom. In the background are new apartment buildings that have been built on the grounds of Germany's federal garden show.
Visitors to the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn take photos of the flowers in bloom. In the background are new apartment buildings that have been built on the grounds of Germany's federal garden show. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A cactus garden at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany feature a variety of the prickly plants.
A cactus garden at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany feature a variety of the prickly plants. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A trio of children check out Monumental Brooke with Beach Ball at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. There are a number of art works to be seen among the flowers and plants at the federal garden show that lasts until Oct. 6.
A trio of children check out Monumental Brooke with Beach Ball at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. There are a number of art works to be seen among the flowers and plants at the federal garden show that lasts until Oct. 6. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A closeup of the Faserpavillon, or fiber pavilion, at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. It is made of glass and carbon fibers.
A closeup of the Faserpavillon, or fiber pavilion, at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. It is made of glass and carbon fibers. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Karl, the Bundesgartenschau's colorful garden gnome is the symbol of the federal garden show in Heilbronn, Germany. He was produced with a 3-D printer and the file to print him with can be downloaded from the BUGA website.
Karl, the Bundesgartenschau's colorful garden gnome is the symbol of the federal garden show in Heilbronn, Germany. He was produced with a 3-D printer and the file to print him with can be downloaded from the BUGA website. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Tulips and daffodils bloom under a blue sky at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show is open until Oct. 6, 2019.
Tulips and daffodils bloom under a blue sky at the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. The federal garden show is open until Oct. 6, 2019. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A visitor to the Budesgartenschau BUGA, Germany's federal garden show, poses for a photo behind a bed of blooming flowers. The show in Heibronn is open until Oct. 6, 2019.
A visitor to the Budesgartenschau BUGA, Germany's federal garden show, poses for a photo behind a bed of blooming flowers. The show in Heibronn is open until Oct. 6, 2019. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A sculpture by Jaume Plensa, made of painted steel, sits among the flowers at the Budesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. There are many works of art sprinkled throughout the grounds of the federal garden show.
A sculpture by Jaume Plensa, made of painted steel, sits among the flowers at the Budesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. There are many works of art sprinkled throughout the grounds of the federal garden show. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Visitors walk through the vast grounds of the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. It is built on what was once a freight depot and switching yard.
Visitors walk through the vast grounds of the Bundesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. It is built on what was once a freight depot and switching yard. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A closeup of a flower in full bloom at the Budesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. About a million flower bulbs and hundreds of thousands of other plants have been or will be planted on the grounds of the federal garden show before it closes on Oct. 6, 2019.
A closeup of a flower in full bloom at the Budesgartenschau in Heilbronn, Germany. About a million flower bulbs and hundreds of thousands of other plants have been or will be planted on the grounds of the federal garden show before it closes on Oct. 6, 2019. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

There is a lot blooming in Heilbronn these days.

The German city on the banks of the Neckar River is host to the country’s federal garden show.

The Bundesgartenschau — or BUGA, as it is known for short — covers an area of nearly 100 acres on what was once industrial wasteland.

Around a million flower bulbs were planted here for the show, along with thousands of shrubs, trees and other plants.

Not as pretty, but almost as interesting is what was pulled out of the ground in preparation: a ship’s bow with anchor, a railroad car and a truckload of unexploded ordnance, among other things.

As the name suggests, the BUGA is about gardens, but there is so much more — art, architecture, environment, rest and recreation.

The grounds encompass two lakes, and an arm of the river, the Alt-Neckar, has been incorporated in the show.

The biennial exhibit, hosted by different cities, has often been used to upgrade a neighborhood or establish a new part of town, but this is the first BUGA to actually have residents.

One section of the grounds is called the Stadtausstellung, or city exhibit. Here are the beginnings of a new city quarter that will expand after the show ends in October.

More than 800 people already live here in apartment buildings that include a kindergarten and bakery. In the future, up to 3,500 people will reside in the area.

The garden exhibits show how different kinds of gardens can be grown, be it with herbs, flowers or fruits and vegetables. One exhibit is on beekeeping and the importance of the little creatures for life on earth.

Plenty of art dots the grounds, from the soaring ‘’Hoop-La,’’ by Alice Aycock, to the playful “Monumental Brooke with Beach Ball,’’ by Carole A. Feuerman, and “WE,” by Jaume Plensa.

Works by local artists are also on display in temporary, rotating exhibits housed in containers.

Even if gardening or art is not your thing, you can still stroll through the grounds, or relax on the seating sprinkled throughout.

One area simulates a dune rose garden like those on the German North Sea island of Sylt, with beach bar included.

There are playgrounds for the kids, including a rock-climbing wall and two small beaches. A boat plies the Alt-Neckar, ferrying visitors to three different stops on the grounds, giving people a view from the river.

Restaurants, snack stands, cafes and a wine bar cater to one’s culinary needs, but you can also pack a picnic to enjoy among the flowers.

Should you miss it, the next BUGA is in Erfurt in 2021. Two years later, it is in Mannheim on the grounds of the U.S. Army’s former Spinelli Barracks.

abrams.mike@stripes.com Twitter: @stripes_photog

DIRECTIONS: Heilbronn is off Autobahn A6 on the Neckar River, about 40 miles north of Stuttgart, about 90 miles east of Kaiserslautern and about 100 miles south-east of Wiesbaden. Follow the BUGA logo to parking. The Heilbronn main train station is across from the grounds, about a six-minute walk to the gate.

TIMES: Daily, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 6.

COSTS: Admission is free for people under 15; 8 euros for people 16 to 25; 23 euros if you are 26 to 66; and 21 euros for seniors 67 and above. Parking is 5 euros.

FOOD: There are restaurants scattered throughout the grounds.

INFORMATION: Online: buga2019.de. Under Hauptmenu, scroll down to Service and then BUGA — Life in Bloom for information in English. Dogs are not allowed on the BUGA grounds.

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