A garden for all the senses
The Baroque era was a time of magnificent fountains. Drottningholm’s baroque garden was no exception, but it would be almost three centuries before Tessin’s vision of cascading water was fully realised.
The baroque garden would have delighted all the senses: the sight of colourful flowers, the texture of the pruned bushes and the sculptures, the fragrance of the foliage in bloom, and the sound of birdsong and the bubbling water of the fountains.
Water was an important element of Drottningholm Palace’s gardens, not least in the form of the water parterre and the cascades, a row of small waterfalls that were to form the backdrop for the water parterre. The Crown fountain at the centre axis was also an important part of the gardens.
Supplying water for the magnificent fountains was no easy task. The water had to be accelerated via natural pressure, which required ingenious engineering, full reservoirs and intact water pipes. The French fountain engineer Louis de Cussy was engaged in 1683. He created an entire network of ponds, ditches and buried pipes. The water for the waterfalls and the park’s fountains would be led using hollowed-out tree trunks – oaks from Gripsholm – joined with iron fittings. The water came from several ponds that had been dug for this purpose on the island of Lovön, north of the park.
When the baroque garden was restored during the time of King Gustaf VI Adolf, it was decided that the cascades and the Crown fountain should also be reconstructed. The task was given to the palace architect at the time, Ivar Tengbom, who drew up a simplified version of Tessin the Younger’s original plan. Water could now be fed using modern pumping equipment and updated pipework. On 16 June 1961, the water flow to the Crown fountain and the cascades was turn on. For the first time, the fountains and cascades of the baroque park were working as they had been intended to 300 years previously.
The cascades. Photo: Kaffegruppen/kunligaslotten.se