Friday, July 27, 2012

The Orangery at Gisselfeld

The world exhibition in London in 1851 sent a wave of inspiration through Europe with its impressive glasshouse "Crystal Palace". In the second half of the 19th century several glasshouses were built in the big coties of Eueope. In Denmark the tendency was marked. Copenhagen's fourth and present Botanical Gardens was laid out in 1872-1874 - it had a spectacular greenhouse complex in cast iron, glass and wood.

Gisselfeld, manor at Zealand (history about G. see blog Church and Manor )

Greve Danneskiold Samsøe acceeded as director at Gisselfeld in 1869. His wife was from England, and his heart was for flowers and plants. He started a great modernization at the estate, fx. the two wooden bridges leading across the moat to the castle were replaced by walled bridges, Peder Oxe's old defense wall and the Bråby Gate were broken down and the Paradehuset was in 1876 built after a sketch by architect Herholdt.

The Paradehuset is built up upon a long wall, which reflect and absorbs the sunbeams. The glass clad main facade is facing shouth and leans with with its supporting iron constructions up against this wall. The house as a whole is protected.

Paradehuset today: 
In the orangery is the plant collection of Gisselfeld and a sale of plants and pots, primarily the emphasis is placed on historical plants, which all grew in Denmark when the house was built.

In the earlier orchid room are now plants for sale. The selection varies season and it includes:
little myrtles
scenting geraniums ( 25 various types)
unusual begonies
exotic orchids
winter-flowering camelias
white and blue Agapanthus
olive trees with fruit
several spiceherbs, medical herbs and perennials.

In the old pot room is a selection of handmade pots, antique as well as new and other things like:

reprints of 1800s botanical maps
little books about medical herbs and historical plants from fx New York Botanical Garden
handpainted botanique porcelain from France
scented candles with plant-scent from all over the world

baskets from the Mediterranea like Syria and France 
and maps and envelopes in gift boxes.

History in short:
An orangery is a building from the 17th to the 19th centuries in a classicising architectural form. The orangery was similar to a greenhouse or conservatory. A place where citrus trees were often wintered, though not expected to flower and fruit. The orangery originated from the Renaissance gardens of Italy, when glass-making technology enabled sufficient expanses of clear glass to be produced. Orangeries became symbols of status among the wealthy. The glazed roof, which afforded sunlight to plants that were not dormant, was a development of the early nineteenth century. Today it is a rare thing to fine an orangery and they are mostly in othe old castle gardens.

As early as 1545 an orangery was built in Padua, Italy.The first orangeries were not as well thought-out or as ornate as our modern versions; most had no heating and in the very cold nights had to have open fires to keep them warm. In England, John Parkinson introduced the orangery to the readers of his Paradisus in Sole (1628), under the heading "Oranges". The trees might be planted against a brick wall and enclosed in winter with a plank shed covered with "cerecloth", a waxed precursor of tarpaulin. "For that purpose, some keepe them in great square boxes, and lift them to and fro by iron hooks on the sides, or cause them to be rowled by trundels, or small wheeles under them, to place them in a house or close gallery" — which must have been thought handsomer than the alternative.

The Orangerie at the palace of the Louvre 1617, inspired imitations that culminated in Europe's largest orangery, Louis XIV's 3000 orange trees at Versailles, whose dimensions of 508 by 42 feet (13 m) were not eclipsed until, from the development of the modern greenhouse in the 1840s, were quickly overshadowed by the architecture in glass of Joseph Paxton, who was notable for his design of the Crystal Palace, and his "great conservatory" at Chatsworth House, which was an orangery and glass house of monumental proportions.

The orangery, however, was not just a greenhouse but a symbol of prestige and wealth and a feature of the garden, in the same way as a summerhouse or a "Grecian temple". Owners would conduct their guests there on tours of the garden to admire not only the fruits within but the architecture without. Often the orangery would contain fountains, grottos, and an area in which to entertain in inclement weather.

photo Gisselfeld, Zealand, Paradehuset, June 2012: grethe bachmann

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Mask in the Stone

Viking Age
The Sjellebro Stone/

North of Allingå river stands a special stone. It is easy to recognize from the country road, and when you go up to it in the meadow you can see a carved troll-like image with plaited beard on the flat side of the granite stone. Opposite to the runestones from that time - which were removed from their original place -  this stone still stands in its original place, where it has marked an old crossing point by the river. It was probably coloured in the Viking period, and it was possibly meant as a protection for the wayfarers against evil powers.

The Sjellebro-stone

The stone was found in 1951. It rested with the mask image downwards upon the same place where it had been for time immemorial, until the owner of the meadow sent for the National Museum; he had observed strange lines on the stone. The secret of the stone was revealed, showing a carved male head, a grotesque mask with a pointed chin, large round eyes and a clumpsy nose and a plaited beard. A bogeyman? A troll? Or was it the merman?

Four Prehistoric Roads
The find lead to an archaeological excavation in the meadow, and 4 well-preserved road-layouts from prehistoric time were found. The excavation revealed timber and heavy oak planks, a  road which was placed close to the Sjellebro Inn, plank by plank. It is wellknown that there were skilled engineers in the late prehistorics, and the four uncovered roads  increased the respect. From Iron Age was a paved ford, a solid road of timber from the middle of the 700s and an even better bridge from ab. 1000. The roads have replaced each other through centuries. The meadow was probably under water in winter and sludge has covered the soil. When one road was buried in sludge they built a new one. Other and later roads are seen in the shape of raised and grassgrown  road dams between the mask stone and the present high road dam.

Upon the wooden roads rested the planks of the driving road upon longtimber, which again rested upon cross-timber. For more support were poles driven in or downburied - each was securely strengthened. The poles stood three and three with regular intervals, but they did not support the timber foundation of the road, they supported instead the planks of the roadway. The stone roads,which rested upon layers of timber and branches, were edged with heavy field stones.

Through many centuries there was a road here at Sjellebro, and when one road decayed they built another. The tecnique changed and they built a bridge in 1860. The road was still placed between the mask stone and the present country road, the bridge was oak timber, but in 1928 the last rests of this road disappeared, which at least came from Chr. IV's time. Today the country road is asphalt, the bridge is granite and concrete.

The mask stone belonged presumably to the upper plank road. It was placed in the roadside bringint its message  - whatever it was  - to the wayfarers. 

The Århus-Stone, (Mammen style)

Similar Mask Stones

There were no runes on the Sjellebro stone. Similar mask images are known from other stones, both in Denmark and Sweden, and they all have runes. The most wellknown and the prettiest of all mask stones is the Århus stone with an inscription saying:  "Gunulv og Øgot og Aslak og Rolf rejste denne sten efter deres fælle Ful. Han fandt døden ... da konger kæmpede".

English: Gunnulfr and Eygautr/Auðgautr and Áslakr and Hrólfr raised this stone in memory of Fúl, their partner, who died when kings fought.

It is not that long ago the passage was difficult and dangerous. Sjellebro was then a place where people stopped and met, and the Sjellebro Inn still lies  here, but it is now a boarding school. Far back in time there was a market at Sjellebro which was celebrated up till the 1920s. People traded horses, cattle, pigs and especially sheep. There was entertainment too, like a medival market. The trade was mostly in open air, but there were tents and sheds for the incomers.The Sjellebro Inn and the trading life at Sjellebro might go as far back as to the Viking period.

The Merman, Elsinore

The Merman
At Sjellebro it was in the old days important to beware that there was a merman in the river - and he claimed an annual human sacrifice. Sometimes it took years before accidents happened; once it took 6 years, but in the 7th year a waggon with 7 people crashed and they all perished in the river. The merman had got what belonged to him on back payment.

Various legends and sinister stories went from mouth to mouth through generations. An old woman told in the 1950s what her parents and grandparents had told her, about a married couple, who drowned in the crossing point on their way home from market in Randers. She knew their graves on the church yard in the village Lime.

 Today the country croad at Sjellebro is broad and safe, and the merman has died - or at least disappeared, but both the legends and the finds from the excavations remind about the traffic of the past in the meadow downside Sjellebro Inn, west of the present Randers- Ebeltoft road. The place is quiet. Cars are quickly passing upon the road without noticing the ancient stone in the meadow or the pretty river valley, but the Merman is still waiting down there, speaking his old words: "Time has come - but the man has not yet come....."

Danske Fortidsminder, Danmarks Kulturarv Forening; Skalk, nr. 4, 1957, Sjellebrostenen, Georg Kunwald ; Danske Runeindskrifter, Natiolnalmuseet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Umbrellas and D-vitamin........

Umbrella's death 17 July 2012.
It seems that we were really lucky with some good summer-days  in our vacation in June. July has been very rainy and with moisty heat and thunder and lightning  - and today the weather-prophet said that if you want to see a water spout, then there is a possibility for it today. I don't imagine it is a tornado? because this is something much worse, isn't it. I once saw a water spout coming from the sea on a summer's day by the beach many years ago, it looked very threatening. But it is not a usual thing here. Yet.  I've seen TV-broadcasts from US  where you've got some large dangerous tornados, which cause some terrible damage.

Well I'll return to the present situation. A doctor was in the radio this morning telling us that we have had too little sun this summer - this means that we'll be easier exposed to diseases this winter. "So go out and find the sun", he said. Oh yes, that's easy for him to say. I'm always looking for the sun, but I can't remove that big cloud coming there pouring buckets of water down upon my innocent head, and a capricious wind tearing my umbrella apart. I came home wet as a drowned mouse the other day with running hair and a torn umbrella and a shopping bag with wet food and newspaper.

This morning  I went out and enjoyed fifteen minutes of sunshine. Now there are clouds all over again. I'll wait for the sun this afternoon, and if I discover the smallest beam of sunshine I'll run out and catch it.

The problem, he said, the doctor, is that you'll get too little D-vitamin . Don't we all know?  but it is okay to be reminded about it.  So it might be necessary to take some of my cod liver oil with D-vitamin soon. Let's see. We might get an Indian summer. I'll keep an eye on the sun. It won't escape!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Hills of Høvblege on the Island Møn

Ulvsund Bridge

From the summerhouse at Zealand we crossed the Ulvsund bridge on our way to the island Møn. Close to the coast we took a little break on a bench outside Kalvehave church where we enjoyed the beautiful view across the sound.

Møn is a  lovely island, this time we went for some special hills at Høvblege, known for their botanic richness. Along the road through the island are many interesting churches, they are especially known for their fantastic colourful and storytelling medieval frescoes, which fill the walls of the whole church, fx the church in Fanefjord, Elmelunde, Keldby and Borre. I have visited these churches some years ago, and if you are interested in the frescoes you can search the churches on my blog Church and Manor.

City Stege at Møn
We went through the city Stege after some shopping and went on south, close to the main road was a pretty golf course, where some sculptures were placed as if they were playing golf, and seen while passing they looked very much alive.

The hillside at Høvblege lies in a scenic landscape with a magnificent view to the Baltic Sea. That day the sea and the horizon were one blue smoky line. On a clear day you can see all the way to the island Rügen. In the Middle Ages people lived in fear in this district because of the Wendic pirates from Rügen who harassed the southern isles of Denmark. The Danish king had to build fortifications and strongholds to keep them at bay. All those castles and strongholds are gone now and so are the Wendic pirates All that's left are some place names.

The hillside has a unique biodiversity of plants and insects. There are paths from here to Klinteskoven on the eastern part of Møn or from at place by the road between the villages Mandemarke and Busene. Here is a parking place from where you can walk up into the hills and to the paths.

Dactyhorliza maculata (Skovgøgeurt)

Here is a small section of the plants I saw that day. The Dactyhorliza maculata with pink flowers grows in light-open deciduous forests and in calcareous pastures with spread trees and bushes. It is protected in Denmark.
Sainfoin (Esparsette)
Sainfoin Esparsette grows in calcareous soil (see my post about the plant on blog Thyra from January 10th, 2010).
Mignonette ( Reseda)
Mignonette/ Reseda a fragrant plant, was used for perfume and by the Romans to dye silk yellow.
Greater Butterfly Orchid (Skovgøgelilje)
Greater Butterfly Orchid, (Skovgøgelilje) with white flowers is common in East Jutland and on the Isles but rare in other parts of Denmark. It is protected. A protected orchid must not be plucked, digged up, gathered or destroyed. Some of the habitats of the Greater Butterfly orchid are protected. Flax and Fairy Flax (please see my post about this plant on my Thyra blog from 21. January 2009).
Fairy Flax (Vild Hør)

The area at Høvblege is a large hillside with pastures and grassland , there is a beautiful view across the eastern part of Møn and to the Baltic Sea, and in optimal weather- and wind conditions there are good opportunities to watch the migration of birds of prey in the spring time. The place at Høvblege is famous for its botanic rarities, but also for some butterflies, which are found only in a few localities in Denmark. It is a varied and exciting locality to investigate.

Marsh Harrier

Time passed and it was late in the afternoon when we left Møn -  on the way we saw a marsh harrier by the coast - and suddenly an elegant red kite which was enjoying doing some hovering high above in the air.
Red Kite

photo: Høvblege June 2012: grethe bachmann

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Visit to Copenhagen

Whenever I go to Copenhagen there are so many places I want to see or see again that it is difficult to chose which one, when you've only got a few days to spare. This time I wanted to see the Glyptotek, founded by Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914), who was one of the greatest art collectors of his time.  Carlsberg Glyptotek has got its name from his brewery, Ny Carlsberg. I suppose you know the Carlsberg beer?

Glyptotek means a collection of sculptures, but the museum has a great collection of paintings too. The sculpture collection is the old Egypt, the antique Greece and Rome and  a collection of Danish golden age painters and Danish and French scuplture. The alternative exhibition this summer is a fine collection of the French impressionists with a main selection of Gauguin - all borrowed from France, and it was this exhibition I wanted to see this time. I had a wish that Sisley and Pissaro would be there. They were. And so were van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Toulouse Lautrec and much more.

Black Diamond
Well, when I have been in one museum and seen one exhibition then I've got enough for one day. I get tired and I need to digest the impression - this time the impressionists! So - instead we went out in the city of Copenhagen. I know Copenhagen well, have been here many times on week-ends and vacations,

Busy girls...
but the city has really changed much -  like my own hometown Århus. Much has been renovated and there is much new architecture, some of it very exciting, like the National library, called the Black Diamond. There are lots and lots of cafés now, but this is the same in my town and elsewhere. People have annected this trend in Denmark. They "go more out" today, both singles and families. In spite of our difficult weather people want to sit outside with blankets and little heaters at foot of the table. We found a nice café opposite the University, a book-café, and I like those book cafés, I think they are cosy. Books and coffee and talk fit well together. We also found a pretty Italian café in Købmagergade, and I had a good strong coffee and a tiramisu. Mumms! The weather was fine, and we sat outside looking at people streaming by. I like to watch all those people from outside a café. You can see the whole world passing by like at Café de la Paix in Paris.
Bookcafé, University
children photo with the Silver Man
bikes bikes bikes
guy with dog and mobilephone
café guest with a fine boxer..

We were in a couple of Japanese shops in Copenhagen, this was one of our priorities, since we've got no Japanese shops in Århus. We wanted to have a teapot and some tea bowls - and some food articles. There is a fine little shop in one of the old streets, Fiolstræde, called "Sachie", with Japanese food articles, and we bought some Sake and plum wine, Japanese curry etc. Another shop had mostly ceramics, teapots and fine bowls  and kimonos. I know that what we call a kimono has another Japanese name, but I don't remember what. We bought a fine teapot. I wanted some bowls, but I couldn't decide. They were all so pretty. Typical me! A third shop was a mixture of Chinese, Japanese, Thailand and other Asian countries.

The most wellknown street in Copenhagen is Strøget. You really need to walk through Strøget when you are in Copenhagen. If I haven't taken a walk there then I really haven't seen Copenhagen! And then take a walk  to Gråbrødre Torv and Nyhavn, Kongens Nytorv and the Royal Theatre, the four palaces of Amalienborg,  the Opera and the channels, Tivoli , Kongens Have etc. There is so much to see and this time the sun was shining, the weather was beautiful and Copenhagen did show its most lovely face. So it was a good trip.  We "walked the streets thin" and when we got tired we sat down by a café and had a little lunch or a cup of coffee.. But we also wanted to see several places outside Copenhagen, in the countryside of Zealand - and we only had one week in the rented summerhouse at the east coast south of the town Køge, so we had to leave "the rest" of Copenhagen for another visit.

Some cars we saw! The yellow one is a Tesla, and I don't know much about it less than it's an electric luxury car and it is very costy. Found it on the net. About 90.000 dollars. Ouch! The blue one looks like a Buick and the silver grey is certainly a Bentley. What a car! And its' from Georgia. Wonder who's in town!

 And there must also be a room for some of the old streets and houses in Copenhagen. Here is a small collection.

photo Copenhagen June 2012: grethe bachmann
a little Renaissance too



at Nyhavn