Gardens of Tilto Street

Wilhelm Hermes. Still Life with Fruit and Vegetables. 19th century. Šiauliai Aušros Museum

The gardens of Vilnius’ noblemen were just as impressive as the royal ones. Near present-day Tilto Street, in place of the houses we see today were the manor and gardens of the Radvila (Radziwiłł) family. You could find conventional fruit trees here; there were fig trees and walnut trees in the wooden greenhouse, even mulberry trees producing what we now consider a super food (they grew in the garden of Elisabeth Sophie Hohencolern-Radvilienė, Elisabeth Sophie von Brandenburg). Written sources have recorded that there had been no such berries in Lithuania before, as exotic fruit trees were extremely expensive. In the 16th century, the penalty for the destruction of a tree was equal to the cost of 12 cows or 24,000 cabbages.

In addition to fruit, you could also find berries in gardens. There was also a cottage garden with the so-called Italian vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, arugula, chicory, herbs – and potatoes were mentioned among the vegetables, perhaps for the first time. Thus, the people cooking for the nobility had all kinds of opportunities to demonstrate their craft. The most impressive exotic fruit garden in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which grew in Biała in southern Poland, was owned by the Radvila family. It had orange trees, pomegranates, fig trees and passion flowers – in total, 1,675 different trees.

Tilto g.
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