November 24th, 2013
If we have anything to learn from the recent discovery of the remains of a 19th century garden grotto in Hamburg, it is this: if the Ivy looks too big to be true, it probably ís too big to be true. Because that is where it had been hiding for decades, this grotto like structure that according to ‘Gartenbauexperte‘ Jens Beck belonged to a bigger Winter Garden: under a big ivy. Even the caretaker of the building the garden now belongs to, had only suspected there was something under the Ivy. (The photo is part of a series by Michael Rauhe, and comes from -and links back to- Die Welt newspaper.)
The article linked to in the first sentence quotes Beck in saying that this Winter Garden was probably built between 1860 and 1890. The structure must have been attached to a lakeview property that once stood in the lakeside street called ‘An der Alster‘ nr. 34, bordering the southeastern shoreline of the ‘Aussenalster‘ just north of the Hamburg city centre. The article elaborates a little bit on the main occurrences of this type of garden (France, according to them), and mentions that the kings of Bavaria also had these kinds of gardens made. Ludwig II had a Wintergarten built on the roof of his Munich residence in 1869. It appears the Residenz Museum in Munich has an exhibition on the Wintergarten there. The garden was demolished in 1897, three years after Ludwig II died.
To find a Winter Garden this far north, and in a big city, is thought to be remarkable.
Dutch Winter Gardens
In the Netherlands, some examples are known, some of which are still rudimentally visible, like the one in the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam. A big and very much older example than the German Wintergärten mentioned thus far, was that of Dutch King Willem II, created in greenhouses next to his Kneuterdijk Palace in The Hague. An exhibition was held at Paleis Het Loo in 2010, to remind us of that garden that was broken down and auctioned in 1850, a year after Willem II died (these Winter Gardens must have been an acquired taste: they don’t seem to have outlived their creators for too long…).
More examples and information (in Dutch) on Winter Gardens in the Netherlands, can be found in a post from January 2013 on the TuinTerTijd weblog, here.