Meet Gavnø Castle’s Baroness, Helle Reedtz-Thott
Join Baroness Helle Reedtz-Thott on a tour of one of Denmark’s most beautiful castles and hear her story.
Two of The South Coast of Denmark’s most passionate firebrands work every day to create an amazing and quite magical universe in the Orangery at Gisselfeld Monastery.
From the minute you arrive at the Paradehuset orangery at Gisselfeld Monastery, it doesn’t take long to realise you have entered a different universe. A place where time stands still, where life is lived differently, and where passion, diligence and personality merge in with the atmosphere.
The Paradehuset orangery at Gisselfeld Monastery stands as a beautiful and lovingly restored image from a world that can seem far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And when you meet Paradehuset’s two creators and tenants, landscape architects Stig Lauritsen and Greg Kobett, you are gripped by a natural sense of calm, surrendering to the atmosphere, the smells and the sounds.We have no fixed routines – Well, the plants need watering, they need to be pruned and the place must look nice, but other than that it’s all one big wonderful dream, which we hope will continue to exist for many, many more years
And for the two passionate gentlemen, the Paradehuset orangery isn’t just a regular job, a hobby or a simple side project. In many ways, it forms the framework for their lives. They live together in the monastery’s beautiful head gardener’s residence, next to the orangery. In the house is their studio, where they dream up and design gardens, parks and facilities for discerning customers every day.
But the orangery is where the passion clearly flourishes – leaf by leaf – with exotic flowers, plants and trees from around the world. The scented geraniums send their citrus, liquorice and mint-like fragrances out into the rooms. The water features and the little wells glug lightly in the background. The light softly enters through the beautiful skylights, and everywhere you look you can see quirky, personal details.
And a visit to the orangery is a personal and extraordinary experience in every way. The cosy little café is run by Stig, who is also the predominant host for visitors of all ages. Children are encouraged to use their senses, to smell and taste their way around, and other visitors just come to talk and listen to the quiet, friendly voice that speaks about the different varieties of plants, about pruning and maintenance, and about the great inspiration both gardeners were given in childhood by their grandparents.
And a walk in the monastery park just over 18 years ago sparked it all. Stig and Greg happened to spot the abandoned orangery that has been part of the monastery since 1876, and quickly got in touch with the manor’s owners about a lease. They succeeded, and since then, they have lovingly built, renovated and collected artefacts from their many trips abroad to create what you see today.