Hortus Oblitus is located on a square in front of the Market Church in the center of the medieval city of Paderborn. It is a temporary installation revisiting the medieval garden. The loose arrangement of 100 raised square boxes sitting on legs of different heights creates a pixelated geometric order, an adapted contemporary version of a traditional medieval garden as we know it.
100 different useful plant species from the Middle Ages are growing in the sequence of boxes. Some of the boxes are covered with grass and invite people to sit and relax on a soft and green bench amidst the growing and blowing plant scape against the backdrop of the stony square.
The garden becomes a place of communication, a place to meet each other in a peaceful and healthy environment, it invites a discourse about more actively participating in the making of our cities. Hortus Oblitus is a place to share knowledge about the power of plants and how to integrate and merge the useful with the pleasurable. It also questions who is using (or not) and taking care (or not) of the shared spaces in our cities that are actually a common good.
Enclosed by a wall on two sides and a school and the church on the other two, an intimate space is formed, close yet far from the buzzing life and the commercial pressure of the pedestrian zone. It carries the spiritual memory of previous centuries and is nevertheless a truly public space since secularization.
In the different boxes grow a wide variety of plant species from the Middle Ages: crops, herbs, shrubs and bushes that are generally forgotten and not part of the city scape, different types of medical plants, wild vegetables and plants commonly regarded as weeds such as the nettle. Some remain in the boxes, others grow outside the confinement of the walls and start to enter into the pedestrian zone.