The Oldest Danish Book about Gardening
By Jette Abel
Garden History: Garden Plants, Species Forms and varieties from Pompei to 1800, edited by J. H. Dickson, P. M. Jørgensen and D. Moe (PACT Belgium, 1994)
Abstract: Our knowledge about which plants were cultivated in Denmark in the antiquity and in the Middle Ages is still improving, because of new excavations, studies of archives, better dating methods and macro- and micro- fossil analyses in old cultural layers.
Documentation about horticulture and garden design is not found until the middle of the 17th century. But studies are in progress to elucidate this at the King’s garden at Rosenborg from the beginning of that century, and even earlier – the garden of Tycho Brahe at Uranienborg, at Hven from 1576. But there is one major, important written source, Horticultura Danica from 1647.
Introduction: The book about gardening in Denmark was written by Hans Raszmusson Block. Very little is known about his origin and education. He uses an old title – URTEGARDSMAND (a person who takes care of the herbs) – and introduced himself by saying that “As he considers the skill to lay out gay and useful gardens is a rather important skill, and he has several masters; among others, his own Majesty and other noblemen.” We know that he studied foreign books about gardening, and decided to make one in Danish.