Gardening Goes Urban: Copenhagen

As the weather is beginning to warm up, so too is interest in allocating green spaces in urban cities. In Copenhagen, DK, the goal is for everyone to have easy access to an urban garden. The interest in creating urban gardens has led to a variety of different garden styles in Copenhagen. Some of the gardens of interest are: Asistens Kirkegaard, the Fortification Parks, Botanisk Have, Mimersparken, and Superkilen.

Assistens Kirkegaard was originally created 1760. The cemetery contains the remains of many important Danes, including: Hans Christian Andersen, Søreb Kierkgaard, and Christen Købke, to name a few. Today, the cemetery is still used as a burial ground. However, it is also a beautiful space for people to pay their respects and wander through the lush greenery. During the spring, people who visit the park will likely see trees in bloom and beautiful flowers lining the graves. The natural beauty of the park connotes respect towards the deceased and offers a wonderful spot for contemplation.


The photo above, is an undated photo showing people enjoying the blooming trees in Assistens Kirkegaard, the photo was found on Below, is a picture of some of the trees in the park today, taken from 7317689-assistens

Like most architectural projects in Denmark, the Fortification parks were carried out at the request of Christian IV. However, it wasn’t until 1868 that land from the fortifications was designated as a park. The land from the fortification was split into three different parks, including: Østre Anlæg, Østedparken, and Aborreparken. In 1870, the Botanical Gardens were also added to the Fortification parks.

Today the parks offer an opportunity for people to wander along different paths, often alongside a body of water (rivers and ponds). The Botanic gardens in particular, are important to people today. Specifically, the University of Copenhagen uses the gardens to study different plants and provide educational opportunities for the public.


Check out this website: to learn more about the botanical gardens.

Clearly, all of the abovementioned parks are important for their use of greenery and space.

Mimersparken and Superkilen, which both opened recently in 2012, offer more contemporary approaches to greenspace. Much of the land in both Mimersparken and Superkilen, is covered by pavement, with some sections of grass. The design of Superkilen in particular, features pavement painted with a funky design, as evidenced by the aerial view of the park below.


For more images of Superkilen, go to this website:

Both parks were designed to include members of the community and children. For instance, Mimersparken has a basketball court, a football and hockey field. There is also a playground for kids to enjoy. Superkilen contains a playground and equipment for kids as well. It also contains a skate park. The park is unique because it features monuments and plants from places across the world. For Superkilen’s design, residents of the community were asked to submit suggestions for the parks features. Overall, Superkilen represents the diversity of the community and the residents of Copenhagen’s general desire for inclusiveness.

When combined together, it is clear that parks in Copenhagen are intended to include a diverse group of people. Entire neighborhoods benefit from the parks, as they offer an opportunity for kids to run and play and adults to relax or, perhaps, play themselves. Contemporary urban parks demonstrate the necessity of accessing open greenspaces in our busy lives and should not be taken for granted!



Gardens that Bring in the Big Bucks

Although public gardens are well known for their beauty and pleasure, gardens also functioned as a means for the upper class to express their wealth and power. Throughout history, gardens have been used as an important way of communicating power to society and the lower classes.

Beginning with early Roman gardens around 700 B.C.E., the members of the wealthy class were able to use their gardens as an area for throwing parties, displaying works of art, and relaxing. Some Roman gardens were even used as an area to sell artwork featured in the garden. For the Romans then, gardens represented a way for nobility to reinforce their power through their overt demonstration of wealth in the form of artwork, statues, and other elaborate garden features.

Centuries after the Roman gardens, in the 1500s, gardens continued to remain an important demonstration of wealth for the nobility. King Henry VIII ascended to the throne in England in 1509; as a celebration of his rise in power, the King’s Beasts were commissioned. As pictured below, the King’s Beasts were statues of animals which symbolized the different branches of royalty and the King’s own lineage.


The lion was commonly used as a symbol of England. Placing the lion in the garden served as an excellent reminder of the power of England. Additionally, guests who visited the garden were immediately reminded of the might of the king, and his royal ancestry.king's beasts

This website: contains more information about the significance in the colors chosen for the statues, along with the restoration process at Hampton Court Palace.

However, one of the most expensive gardens was the garden of Versailles in France. During the mid 1600s when Louis XIV ascended to the throne, gardening in France became more elaborate (and expensive.) The garden of Versailles was an extravagant way of entertaining.

King Louis XIV spared no expense in wooing visitors of the garden. In fact, when important visitors toured the garden, employees in the garden were required to turn on certain fountains, wait for the visitors to pass, and then turn off the water and wait for the visitors to approach the next fountain before turning it on. Although the cycle was tedious for the garden staff, the result for the tourists, and king himself, was breathtaking.


Viewers were also awed by the King’s orangerie, or citrus collection. The collection of trees was moveable, which meant that during the winter months the trees were brought inside and sheltered from the cold.


As visitors tour the Garden of Versailles, it remains as breathtaking today as it was when it was first created (although a little smaller). The Garden of Versailles, and Hampton Court Palace both serve as significant reminders of the wealth and foresight of kings like Louis XIV and Henry VIII.