I have made it to the letter O in the #atozchallenge. The subject of Orangeries came easily to mind since I have always had a keen interest in their first cousins, conservatories. An orangery is a garden building designed for wintering exotic shrubs and trees, primarily orange trees. The name reflects the original use of the building as a place where citrus trees could be wintered in tubs under cover, surviving through harsh frosts.The orangery originated from the Renaissance gardens of Italy,when glass-making technology produced clear expanses of glass. These classic architectural forms were a status symbols of wealth and like a summerhouse, folly or temple, became a feature in the garden.
We have all read novels, perhaps a mystery or two, seen a movie, where an orangery is part of the setting. On garden tours I have admired not only the fruits within but the architecture without. There are orangeries that include fountains, grottos, and an area to entertain guests in inclement weather. From the latter half of the 17th century into the early 18th century, few great gardens were without one.
You can visit an orangery at the gardens of Versailles in France or Kew House, Greater London. Need a book for further information? Check out @Orangeries by Michel Saudan. (from the great palaces of Europe, from Versailles to Sans Souci, this volume provides a record and cultural history of the orangery as both an architectural gem, a society microcosm and the missing link between palace and garden.)