Abbeys have also always been places of horticulture. In addition to providing vegetables, fruit, medicinal herbs and flowers for the abbey community’s own use, they were also places for congregating, spiritual and physical recreation, prayer, and gardening. For the Augustinian Canons’ of Novacella, it might be safe to assume that this was a kitchen and ornamental garden from the very start, even though we have no exact knowledge of its medieval organization. The present form of the ornamental and kitchen gardens, arboretum with fish pond, aviary, and orangery surrounded by walls on the south side of the Abbey, most of which has been preserved and was restored in 2001-04, can be traced back to the Baroque era.

 

Upon entering the garden, the Giant Sequoia in the back of the garden catches visitors’ eye, as do the centuries-old ginkgo trees right across. In between lies the Baroque garden with its beautiful fountains and lush flowerbeds. In autumn, the trellised vines are heavy with grapes. Continuing to wander below them, visitors then come upon the seventy-five or so varieties of herbs raised in the kitchen garden – among them not just the old familiar varieties like St. John’s wort, motherwort, or fenugreek, but also truly exotic herbs such as lemongrass, pineapple sage, Jamaican thyme, or tobacco.

 

The Monastery Garden is part of the private area and to this day, it is reserved for the Canons’ recreation. It is accessible to the public from April until October during guided tours.