Station: [27] Calm Garden

M 1: There’s a cherry tree on the lawn, shrubs grow here and flowers bloom. This is a place where the eye can rest and relax. But at the time of the canons, all the green spaces within the monastery walls had a clear purpose: they provided a supply of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Every unoccupied square foot was used for that purpose. 800 years ago, there would have been no such thing as a “Calm Garden”.

F 2: The Calm Garden serves as a reminder that compared to medieval times, people’s own gardens serve different purposes these days. They’re mainly intended for recreation, and help to improve the work-life balance. For a lot of people, nothing is more relaxing than being in a garden, gazing at green leaves and colourful flowers, trees and shrubs. But that’s a fairly recent use for a garden. In Central Europe, the first ornamental gardens were only laid out in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, initially around palaces. There, the garden was no longer a place of toil, but of gentle strolls and the search for beauty. Ornamental plants such as the rose and the tulip embarked on their triumphant advance. But even during the following centuries, the ornamental garden remained the exception – the rule was a kitchen garden. In Germany, it was only with the spread of detached family houses in the 20th century that ornamental gardens became a mass phenomenon. Even then, growing carrots and lettuce dominated early on, though nowadays, that’s receded more into the background, and former kitchen gardens have increasingly been transformed into ornamental gardens.

Foto: © Stiftung Kloster Jerichow