Station: [19] The Herb Garden

Medicinal plants and herbs have been grown in monasteries and convents ever since the Middle Ages. One of the earliest gardening books, for example, the "liber de cultura hortorum", was written in the 9th century by the abbot of Reichenau Abbey.

Ointments, tinctures and tisanes, or herbal teas, were made from the medicinal plants and supplied, not only to the monastic community, but also to people in the surrounding villages. So convents were the earliest pharmacies!

However, Heiligengrabe’s herb garden is much more recent. It was only established in 2005, and is on the site of what was once the Abbesses' Garden. Until the mid-19th century, the two-storeyed half-timbered house beyond the garden was home to the incumbent abbess. Before that, in the 18th century, it was the bailiff’s house, since Heiligengrabe, like all convents, had summary jurisdiction. 

The Abbess's Garden, which originally extended all the way to the abbey, was probably an ornamental garden that included several fruit trees.

The historic photo on your screen now shows a view from a later period. The fenced garden has an arbour. It was laid out in the style of a park and was obviously used for recreational and entertainment purposes. 

But today’s herb garden also offers a chance to enjoy a few quiet and contemplative moments. Feel free to take a seat on the bench and revel in the unique atmosphere, the scent of the herbs and in summer, the hum of the insects.

All depictions © Kloster Stift zum Heiligengrabe