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Renaissance & Baroque (ca. 1500-1770)

The beginning of the 'modern age' -around 1500- is marked by the development of ornamental gardens. Garden art flourished and green facades fled from the private monastery walls. In the new landscaped gardens of the nobility, free-standing arbours, pergolas, and green walls were being planted. Espalier fruit played a major role in the 'kitchen gardens.' Such fruit was first cultivated on wooden trellises, then later emerged on particularly artful and elaborate trellises and treillage latticework.

Vines and roses on metal cables, castle Salem / Bade-Wurttemberg
Vines and roses on metal cables, castle Salem / Bade-Wurttemberg

Wall greening catches on...

After the step from the private abbey garden to the aristocratic garden, facade greening spread even further. From manors and large farmsteads, to the most modest houses or cottages of day laborers-- walls were becoming green! In many regions of Germany, every homestead had its trellis, most planted with vines. In France, espalier fruit began to play an important role. Soon new climbing plants were introduced and cultivated: Virginia creeper (1629) and thicket creeper, the trumpet vines (1640) and wild (fruitless) grapevines(1656). The clematis species came to the fore in England as early as 1650.

Wooden Trellises/Espaliers

Facade greening during this time was primarily done with wooden trellises. Depending on the region, various designs and constructions were used, but the classic lattice batten/lath trellis (modeled after a garden fence) dominated: horizontal battens with vertical laths. Particularly in the Baroque period, we see elaborate and artistically designed trellis construction (the treillage), intended to feature the trellis itself and not necessarily for supporting plants!

Trellis Ropes and Talut Walls

Long before the wire-rope systems that are common in building greening today, espalier fruit in the Baroque era was grown on wires, as they were more durable than textile cords. This is how the term "cordon" for wall fruit came about. At that time, the copper wire was still produced in water-powered forges. The fruit espaliers were sometimes protected by special glass walls-- the first greenhouses-- ('Talut-walls'), such as those erected in Potsdam-Sancoussi in 1745 -1747 under Frederick the Great.

Meinholdsches turret (tower) house, Radebeul / Saxony
Turret house with vines


Here you can find more examples of greened buildings dating from about 1500 - 1600 AD; please click on the photos.

3 'Regent' vines; residential house of the mill Zettenbach / Unstrut, Saxony-Anhalt
Detail of mill Zettenbach; see previous photo
Rose trellis at the old 'witch' house from approx. 1600, Bautzen, Saxony
Ivy, old castle, ca. 1600, Stuttgart / Baden-Württemberg
Clematis, residential building from ca. 1600, Laucha / Saxony - Anhalt
Vines, old forge church str. / Leopold-Bing-str., demolition about 2005, Bad Sulza, Thuringia
Wild vines in autumn on the Renaissance Schloss Nossen / Saxony
City Hall / castle in Riesa, Saxony, Germany, greened over 100 years ago with Wisteria.
Old espalier pear, East area of Dornburger Castle / Thuringia
Burg Giebichenstein, Unterburg, old trellises with wild vines, Halle an der Saale / Saxony-Anhalt
Gatehouse with horizontally guided wisteria at historic zoological garden, Colditz / Saxony
Espalier peach on a Renaissance-Portal, an old boys' school from 1564, Colditz / Saxony
Climbing roses flanking a portal, marketplace Colditz / Saxony
Grapevine on wire rope, registry office Grimma / Saxony


Examples here: greened houses from the Baroque period around 1600-1770 AD; please click on the photos! 

Grapevines on a baroque house v. 1754 (Musäus House in Weimar, Thuringia
Grapevine, baroque village church of Schönburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Pears, trellis garden historic model v. 1739, Castle Gnandstein / Saxony
Wisteria on ropes, town hall of Lichtenfels, Bavaria
Dutchman's pipe on ropes, town hall of Lichtenfels, Bavaria
Akebia on steel cables, town hall of Lichtenfels, Bavaria
Trellis vines, Meinholdsches Tower, Radebeul, Saxony
Vine trellis planted by Goethe, House on the Frauenplan, Weimar / Thuringia
Wisteria, water palace Pillnitz Castle ('China-style'), Dresden / Saxony
Lower wall, historical trellis wall with vine, Dornburger Castle / Thuringia
Upper historic trellis wall with wine, Dornburger Castle / Thuringia
Upper historic trellis wall with vine, Dornburger Castle / Thuringia
Old half-timbered house in the vineyard slope, Dresden / Saxony
Wine trellises, baroque st. urban church, Meißen / Saxony
Old house with espalier pears, Kohren-Salis / Saxony
Wild vines on trellis work, Schloss Tiefurt, Weimar / Thuringia
Vine at the Keith House-- Lord Marshal House in Potsdam / Brandenburg
Goethe's garden house in estate Frauenplan, wild vines, historic greening of wooden trellises, Weimar / Thürigen
Old espalier fruit trees, Cavalier-house in Gut Hasselburg / Schleswig-Holstein
Apple trellises on historical models, National Stud, Moritzburg / Sachsen
Frankeshe Foundation, old wisteria on the well house (House 28), circa 1999 before restoration, Halle an der Salle / Saxony-Anhalt
Frankeshe Foundation, old wisteria on the well house (House 28), reconstruction in 2014 after refurbishment (see photo above), Halle an der Salle / Saxony-Anhalt
Baroque building with later-planted grapevines, Hälterstr. 2 in Merseburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Historical, terrace-like 'Talut walls' for trellis fruit with open glass in the castle park Sanssouci / Potsdam / Brandenburg
View behind the glass-enclosed Talut wall to the figs on trellis wires, Schlosspark Sanssouci, Potsdam / Brandenburg
Baroque vicarage, vine trellises after historical model, Seifertshain near Leipzig / Saxony
Baroque garden pavilion from 1740 with rose espalier, castle complex Döben near  Grimma / Saxony
Climbing roses on a Baroque building from 1752. Today it is a wine store -"Rosenschlößchen," Halberstadt / Saxony-Anhalt