Productive Gardens

European Themes

The harvesting of fruit and vegetables has always been one of the main motives for establishing and tending gardens. The fruitfulness of gardens was also essential in other respects, however: herbs and medicinal plants increased the variety and enjoyment of culinary dishes and were used for preserving food as well as for preserving or restoring health. Other plants were cultivated because they were indispensable for the home and for crafts, e.g. for textiles and dyeing.

Knowledge of plants, their cultivation and reproduction as well as how to process them correctly was often reserved for initiated circles. Such knowledge was passed down from one generation to the next or, in monasteries, from one monk to another. Botanical gardens, collections, school and training gardens and comparable institutions continue to fulfil their role of increasing this knowledge and of making it accessible to the general public.

Gardens are also "fruitful" in a further sense due to their peace and quiet and their naturalness, their positive effect on body, mind and soul. This is particularly evident in the case of spa parks and gardens used for therapeutic purposes, which further health, convalescence and well-being.

And at a time when public money is in short supply, can those parks and gardens which succeed in generating the means for their maintenance (largely) themselves without suffering a loss in quality not also be termed "fruitful"?

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