Orangery – #atozchallenge



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.)

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in A to Z Blog Challenge - April 2013 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Orangery – #atozchallenge

  1. I did not know which was which! I suppose I covet an orangery, then. One of the things I miss about Texas gardens is the ability to grow lemons in the yard. We had a Meyer lemon tree here for years that we would bring inside each winter, but it eventually grew too big to fit through the door! We might try again, now that we have the garage. I sure miss that crop of lemons come January.

  2. I wish I had an orangery. I’d sit inside to sun myself out of the wind, like a delicate plant.
    A – Z Challenge

  3. Jessica says:

    This post was very interesting. I’d never heard of an orangery before. I love learning new things!

    Have fun with a-z.

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