The wintergarden in its original form originated
in the residences of Emperors, Kings and other Nobles, mostly in northern latitudes for winter
care of cherished orange-and lemon-trees as well as for festivities and concerts during the
dull winter months - therefore the original name "Orangerie“.
This illustration shows the
so called "Pomerantzenhaus", which was built for Count Christof v.
Württemberg in 1560 in Stuttgart. It was glassed in with "bulls-eye-panes"
and was heated with a tiled stove
As the climate in the open of was (and is) not suited
to the cultivation of exotic plants the ruling class created buildings to keep the precious
plants properly cultivated during Wintertimes. The largest and most famous Orangeries were
set up in Versailles in France and Schönbrunn Castle in Vienna.
Orangerie Schönbrunn Castle, Vienna
With the late 19th century prosperity increased and living
spaces saw more and more decorative plants to aesthetic presentation and quality of living.
Usually more robust plants like Ficus
or Philodendron were used and
care was done manually.
Since however really exotic plants like Cacti or Orchids
are readily available the style of plant keeping has changed drastically. Many people are
not satisfied to keep some plant on a windowsill and started to create adequate growing spaces
for the plants.
What started maybe as a small glasshouse for the green
darlings or a green corner in a livingroom evolved into a Wintergarden which acts as an extension
of the livingspace. Very seldom now a place to keep only the "Pomerantzes" during
the winter but a place to sit at leisure in a green environment even during bad weather.
30 years ago the setup of a Wintergarden was either an
expensive undertaking open to very few people or a personal effort; today a broad portfolio
of constructions is offered by architects and building constructors and can be afforded by
many people. However the main topics of Wintergarden construction are design and materials.
Only slowly the owners became aware that the micro-climate
should support the wellbeing of plants as well as people to create a harmonic environment.