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The Gottorf Codex

The tremendous importance of the New Work as Friedrich III’s garden is referred to in historic sources was based both on its exceptional arrangement as a terraced garden of Italian format and its variety of plants. It incorporated numerous plant types not native to Schleswig-Holstein which were expensive to acquire and confronted the gardeners with new challenges. Thus, it also contained various species of citrus fruit, aloe and pineapple.

The efforts were worthwhile, because the unusual planting made the garden a botanic sensation. Friedrich III was so proud of it that he entrusted the Hamburg artist Hans Simon Holtzbecker (died 1671) with the job of creating a plant atlas - a so-called florilegium. As a result, Holtzbecker created from 1649/59 the four-volume Gottorf Codex, which is now to be found in Copenhagen.

In the meantime, we assume that the Gottorf Codex was written because Friedrich III and his court scholar Adam Olearius wanted to develop a nomenclature as a basis for botanic taxonomy. However, this scientific incentive was first to be fulfilled by the famous Swedish nature researcher Carl von Linné during the course of the 18th century.

Holtzbecker’s plant catalogue serves as a basis for today’s historic planting of the Baroque garden. Although the garden had not been maintained for some 250 years, some 20 of the approximately 1,200 species have remained intact up to present times.

They can be found in the neighbouring forest areas. When reconstructing the New Work garden, it was deemed imperative to keep these so-called “Stinzenpflanzen” at their regular location. They were recorded cartographically, individual samples dug up and reproduced at the Botanic Institute of Kiel University.

Schleswig-Holstein State Museums
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