Historical gardens

Den Gamle By - historical gardens
The beautiful Renaissance garden in the yard behind the Mayor's House.

Different kinds of historical gardens

Attached to six of the houses at Den Gamle By are gardens representing a certain time period with historical plants and crops, many which have disappeared from the gardens and households today. By having the gardens at the museum, we wish to show a more complete scenery of a Danish town, and what kinds of plants and crops there were.


The historical gardens here are vegetable gardens, typical in a Danish market town, an ornamental garden, a Renaissance garden and a Apothecary garden. Close to the entrance lies a large market garden (Bernstorff) as it was in the 1800s. Here you can buy historical plants, herbs and seeds. 

The Apothecary garden

Den Gamle By - Apothecary Garden

The Apothecary, a pharmacist before 1900s, would mash, grind, stain, boil or distil the ingredients for his medical preparations. He would grow most of the raw materials for his preparations in his own backyard. The garden has almost 100 different herbs, some with Latin names that you can reconize in the Dispensary. Many historical plants contain substances found in modern pharmaceutical drugs.

Bernstorff Market Garden 1885

Den Gamle By - Bernstorff market garden 1885

At the Bernstorff Market Garden the gardeners grow historical plants that were suited for the climate in the living rooms heated by the stove, where it was warm during day time and cold at night. Plants from the 1800s came from subtropical regions, which made it hard for them to survive when central heating became more and more normal in the homes. Today historical plants mainly grow in patios and orangeries.

Renaissance garden 1647

Den Gamle By - Renaissance Garden at the Mayor's House

In the yard behind the Mayor's House, you will find a beautiful renaissance garden as it was in 1647. The garden was designed to illustrate the ideals of measure and proportion, therefore it was only for show and not for use. The Masters and Mistresses, who came to visit, were to admire the garden and the labyrinth, and enjoy the view from the gallery. 

The Vicar’s widow’s kitchen garden

Den Gamle By - kitchen garden behind Eilschou Almshouses

The kitchen garden in the yard behind the Eilschou Almshouses is a typical exampel of a garden in a Danish market town in 1864. In the garden the widow grows cabbages, carrots, parsnips, turnips and other root vegetables, as well as different kinds of herbs and some historical plants. She was respectable but poor, and therefore had to supply herself.

The Merchant's kitchen garden 1864

Den Gamle By - the Merchant's Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden behind the Merchant's house is kept just as it would have been in 1864. The garden grows almost everything that the Merchant and his family required for household purposes such as cabbage, peas, beans, carrots and different kinds of herbs, some used to keep throat and respiratory diseases away. It was the maids and yardhands who took care of the garden. 

The Merchant's ornamental garden

Den Gamle By - the Merchant's Ornamental Garden 1864

The Merchant's ornamental garden was basically an extra outdoor living space, where the family would drink tea or coffee during summer time. The garden paths are bordered by variegated Saxifrage and Hosta, and large trees provides the shade preferred in those days. Here grows groups of Auricula, Orpine, Silver Sage, Lillies, Lamb's Ear, Ferns, Phlox, Balsam herb and Cupid's dart.

Miss Wahlstrøm's Garden 1920

Den Gamle By - Miss Wahlstrøm's Garden 1920

The garden behind Miss Wahlstrøm's house has been recreated using her own photo albums. It shows that the modiste, an independent businesswoman, had little time for gardening, which explains the small vegetable garden in the roughly 700 sq meters of garden space. A gravel path leads past a green-painted heagonal summerhouse with honeysuckle vines. The two semicircular beds contain Lavender, Heritage roses and peonies.