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Various flowers bloom in a meadow at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, on the grounds of a former military base, is open daily until Oct. 18, 2015.

Various flowers bloom in a meadow at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, on the grounds of a former military base, is open daily until Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Various flowers bloom in a meadow at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, on the grounds of a former military base, is open daily until Oct. 18, 2015.

Various flowers bloom in a meadow at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, on the grounds of a former military base, is open daily until Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors to the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany, check out what there is to see. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show is on the grounds of a former military base that was used by the German Wehrmacht in World War II and by the French army until 1994. The show runs through  Oct. 18, 2015.

Visitors to the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany, check out what there is to see. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show is on the grounds of a former military base that was used by the German Wehrmacht in World War II and by the French army until 1994. The show runs through Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A view of part of the Landesgartenschau grounds as seen from its observation tower. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show in Landau, Germany, runs until Oct. 18, 2015.

A view of part of the Landesgartenschau grounds as seen from its observation tower. The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show in Landau, Germany, runs until Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A group of children learn about nature at the Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show in Landau, Germany. The Landesgartenschau as it is known in German, is on the grounds of a former military base, and is open daily until Oct. 18, 2015.

A group of children learn about nature at the Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show in Landau, Germany. The Landesgartenschau as it is known in German, is on the grounds of a former military base, and is open daily until Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A close-up of a lettuce plant growing at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany.

A close-up of a lettuce plant growing at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Bees made from a variety of materials are on display at the Landesgartenschau, or state garden show, in Landau, Germany.

Bees made from a variety of materials are on display at the Landesgartenschau, or state garden show, in Landau, Germany. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A bee gathers some pollen from one of the many flowers growing at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany.

A bee gathers some pollen from one of the many flowers growing at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

These Echinocactus grusonii on display at the Rhinland-Pfalz state garden show in Landau, Germany, are also called "mother-in-law's cushions." A small spot at the Landesgartenschau, as it is called in German, is dedicated to cactus.  The show runs through  Oct. 18, 2015.

These Echinocactus grusonii on display at the Rhinland-Pfalz state garden show in Landau, Germany, are also called "mother-in-law's cushions." A small spot at the Landesgartenschau, as it is called in German, is dedicated to cactus. The show runs through Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

In addition to viewing the plants growing at the Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, visitors can also get ideas on how they might want to decorate their patios or balconies.

In addition to viewing the plants growing at the Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, visitors can also get ideas on how they might want to decorate their patios or balconies. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Two visitors take a look at the herbs on display at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany.

Two visitors take a look at the herbs on display at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A forest of tree trunks towers into the sky at the Landesgartenschau, or state garden show in Landau, Germany, in June 2015. It was part of a display by the state forest service at the show, which runs through Oct. 18, 2015.

A forest of tree trunks towers into the sky at the Landesgartenschau, or state garden show in Landau, Germany, in June 2015. It was part of a display by the state forest service at the show, which runs through Oct. 18, 2015. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A variety of flower boxes at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany, gives visitors an idea of the different flower combinations that can be used at home.

A variety of flower boxes at the Landesgartenschau in Landau, Germany, gives visitors an idea of the different flower combinations that can be used at home. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors to the Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show get a view of the grounds from the show's observation tower.

Visitors to the Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show get a view of the grounds from the show's observation tower. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

If you are a flower aficionado in Germany, this is your summer.

The Rhineland-Pfalz state garden show, or Landesgartenschau, as it’s known in German, covers an expansive area that was a German military base in World War II and then was used by the French army until 1994.

After years as a ghost town, planners decided to convert the old kaserne to a residential area, but first Landau wanted to host the state garden show on the grounds.

However, plans to open the show last year were stymied by the discovery of unexploded bombs from World War II. The opening was postponed a year while explosives experts scoured the grounds for other buried unexploded ordnance.

Since it opened in April, the show has drawn more than 300,000 people.

On a recent sunny June day, visitors strolled through the gardens, stopping to smell the flowers — everything from anemones to zinnias — or discuss the park’s layout, spread across 66 acres and roughly divided into three sections.

The first is the area that will be turned into housing once the show is over. A couple of apartment houses already have been completed.

The gardens there are divided into plots, each featuring a particular plant or theme. There are plots of roses, dahlias, herbs and vegetables, including lettuce, leeks, cabbage and onions. A former motor pool garage serves as an exhibit hall where you can get ideas for how to decorate your patio or balcony. One plot is full of prickly cactuses. There is also an orchard of fruit trees.

Speaking of trees: Organizers say they planted 1,000 trees on the grounds. Trouble is, most are still relatively small, making for little shade on a hot, sunny day.

Another section of the show, called the Park der Generationen (roughly translated as multigenerational gardens) is a long rectangular area that features a reflecting pool, green lawns, artworks and a large playground. The park will remain after the show closes.

This section ends at the railroad tracks that split the grounds in two. Beyond is the third section of the show.

A row of gardens leads up to the 69-foot-high observation tower, which gives you a view over most of the grounds on one side and of the hills of the Pfälzerwald on the other.

From there a path leads past fields and pastures down to new sports facilities built to augment the new housing to come.

There is also a Ferris wheel that offers a view of the area. A train, the “Gartenschau Express,” circles through the grounds.

In an original building tract of the former base, there is a souvenir shop that sells T-shirts and gardening paraphernalia.

Is Landau too far away?

If you live in the Wiesbaden area, the Bavarian flower show in Alzenau, just east of Hanau, will open until Aug. 16. Near Stuttgart, the Baden-Württemberg show runs until Sept. 13 in Mühlacker.

It’s a good year for friends of flowers.

abramsm@stripes.com

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