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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Two very different gardens in Copenhagen

It's four weeks ago today since I visited two very different gardens in the Copenhagen area.

A grey cold day at the beginning of February isn't the ideal time to see these outdoor spaces in their full glory of course, but there were compensations. You can see the bones of the garden , the hard landscaping and it's fun to imagine what they look like in the lushness of the summer months.

In the morning, Lucy and I went out to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art which is about forty km away from Copenhagen, a mere thirty minutes by train. we were there to see the artworks for sure, but I was very interested in what the garden had to offer.

The museum is set overlooking the sea and Sweden...yet at the front entrance, it looks like what it was...a 19th century home.

 It was built in 1855 for Alexander Brun , a Master of the Royal Hunt and if you're wondering why it's called Louisiana, well, he married three women who were all named Louise. At least he never called any of them by the wrong name in the throes of passion.

But in 1958 the then owner  Knud W. Jensen opened this place as a museum of modern art. And before you even arrive at the front entrance, you can see that this is a museum which is a major player. This Henry Moore statue simply can't be ignored.

 At the back of the original house you can  still see part of the garden as it would have looked when Alexander and any of his three wives were here.

But the main house now has two modern wings where the main exhibitions are shown...all sleek white walls  and glass which bring the outdoors in, especially in the
 Giacometti gallery overlooking the lake.

And in winter the starkness of the steel grey sky and sea are offset by the sixty or so sculptures dotted around the garden by Alexander Calder...

Miro, and many others.

In some areas, though , the trees look as if they have carved out of the ground...I admired  the patterns of the roots on show

before following Lucy back towards the house, where I could imagine all the Louises sitting on the verandah looking out to sea.

Indoors there are numerous exhibitions which are constantly refreshed, as well as 3,000 works in the permanent collection. Warhol, Lichenstein, Picasso, they're all here...but Lucy and I were intrigued and completely drawn in by Resistance, the exhibition byMindaugas Lukosaitis  

A hundred or so finely captured sketches showing the horrors of conflict, soldiers, the people  defending themselves , their homes, the bloodshed ....there's such an immediacy and vibrancy here.

And we couldn't ignore the whole wall of colour which sent us virtually cross eyed... a whole corridor of blue and red squares

by Francois Moreliet whose work is based on telephone numbers taken at random from the telephone directory.

But this is a post about gardens in Copenhagen, so onto the University of Copenhagen's Botanical Garden, which is a mere two minutes from the hubbub of central Copenhagen.

A slight mizzle by now, but it was our last afternoon in Copenhagen and I was determined not to miss it. With twenty four acres and twenty seven glasshouses, there's quite a lot to see but entrance is free and it's well worth a visit.

The stars of the show for our visit on a winter's afternoon were the glasshouses. Imposing, Victorian, I adore the ornate class of these standing proudly on the hill.

And once inside , they took us to different continents, different worlds....

And in the largest, most central palmhouse there's a beautiful cast iron staircase which you can climb, and then walk around the perimeter at the top of the glasshouse and look down on a tropical rainforest...

and then as you walk through the other glasshouses, there are progressively cooler, drier gardens .

 But as with so many botanic gardens, this is a place for serious research which was built on this site at the beginning of the 1870's. This is where the city's old fortifications were  - you can see the old ramparts where the rock gardens now.

The lake was created from where the old moat used to be....I really love how the designers worked with the space , highlighting the origins of this space, not completely obliterating them.

The Botanical Gardens are fascinating even though many the 13,0000 species planted here were hibernating for the winter. To be able to spend an hour or two wandering around admiring the views, and the planting of the glasshouses made me feel very content indeed.

What a lovely final day to our trip to Copenhagen. I can't wait until next time , and although Copenhagen is a city for all seasons, next time our visit will be in the summer!

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