Flashback: The copious blooms of Copenhagen

Last year, I went to Copenhagen for the first time. It was late May and the city was at peak bloom. I also ate and ate and ate.

Rolling our bags from the Nørreport metro station to Ibsens Hotel, it felt like my friends Anthony, Brian and I had just been dropped in the middle of a musical. The sidewalk cafes were packed. People in confidently mismatched patterns glided by on bikes. I had a feeling Copenhagen would become one of my favorite cities in the world.

A blomster in Nørrebro.

Pilea peperomioides just spilling out onto the street.

Some truly unreal lilacs along Frederiksberg Alle 34.

At the flower market at Torvehallerne.

Grabbed some cut peonies to give to our Copenhagener friend Christina, who was hosting pre-dinner champagne at her flat.

Violas in a stump! Who doesn’t love violas in a stump?!

In the sculpture garden of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located 25 miles north of Copenhagen. That landmass you see across the Sound is Sweden! 

At Kastellet: my travel comrades Anthony and Brian.

Outside the gift shop of Copenhagen Botanical Garden.

Also by the entrance, these blooms will make you stop and wis-STARE-ia.

The iris-dotted landscape of the botanical garden in late spring.

Tree peonies!

There were hyggelig get-togethers and five-course menus, some of which were created by Noma alumni. But this blog post is about trees and shrubs, and flowers that could almost make you cry.

(Okay, about the food though, do check out Hija de Sanchez, 108, Höst, Baest…)

Along Frederiksberg Alle 34, lilac season was coming in loud and clear. The blomsters were overflowing, almost like their doors were being busted open by too many houseplants, including some healthy-looking pileas. One of the things I loved about this trip to Copenhagen was that, one minute your surroundings were densely urban and the next (maybe after walking a dozen meters off the sidewalk), your surroundings were densely horticultural. At least, that was true where we visited.

Along the water surrounding Kastellet.

We spent hours at the Copenhagen Botanical Garden. Set on 10 hectares in the city center, the garden was first established in 1600 (!), changed locations twice, and has been in its current place since 1870. The peonies were off the charts. The irises deserved their own motorcade. As far as the landscape goes, there were rocky mounds dotted with lilies and less likely plants like yucca.

And in the palm house, there’s a white spiral staircase I someday, somehow, want to replicate in my own outdoors among the birds of paradise. Where will this staircase go? What will it do? Maybe it’ll lead to an observation deck with views of LA. Inspired by CPH.


Just one of the breathtaking peonies you’ll find blooming at Copenhagen Botanical Garden in the springtime.

Herbaceous (i.e. non-tree) peonies need at least 400 hours of chilling time at 40 degrees or below every winter in order to bloom. That’s why they’re more closely associated with northern climates. Tree peonies need fewer hours, between 100 and 300.

This pink blanket is an Anthyllis montana, native to mountainous regions of Southern Europe and parts of the Alps.

Camassia cusickii