Walking around the farm cluster
Walking around Agatunet farm cluster is a great experience. You can try to imagine what it was like back when people – lots of people – lived in the buildings, and how they lived side by side, in their day-to-day lives and during celebrations.
The oldest people in the community today, who grew up at Agatunet, say that life was good there, that they always had company, always a helping hand and that living so close together meant it wasn’t worth falling out with anyone. They describe how if you didn’t like what was for dinner at your own house, you could always visit another and see if you had better luck there. There was always room at the table.
Several types of historic rose plants grow around the buildings at Agatunet. Old fruit trees that bear cherries, apples, pears and plums that have now become uncommon grow at the farm cluster. The old trees look very different from modern types.
We also planted a small herb garden in spring 2005. Her Majesty Queen Sonja visited Agatunet and planted wild celery together with the gardening association Det Norske Hageselskap. Wild celery has a long history in Norway. Information suggests that it was already in use in the Viking Age. From the 1500s onwards, the plant played an important role in popular and academic medicine. Wild celery was often grown in special dedicated areas at the farm cluster. Other historic food and medicinal plants grow in the herb garden. Many of them are also used in the café at Agatunet, and when we serve guests in the protected buildings.
Queen Sonja has also planted an apple tree at the farm cluster, a Gravenstein, which is found outside the Isaksstova building. It was planted in 1992, in memory of Johannes Pedersen Aga, who planted the first Gravenstein apple tree in Hardanger (and Norway) in 1792. A standing stone was erected beside the tree, which we call the ‘Queen apple tree’.
We also have an impressive Laburnum tree – Laburnum anagyroides – outside the Sveinstova building at the back of the farm cluster. It flowers in late May or early June, and is an incredibly beautiful sight. The tree was planted in 1933 by Alfred Aga, who lived in Sveinsstova. It was grown from a cutting taken from the garden of the hotel in Ullensvang. We don’t know whether it is among the oldest laburnum trees in Norway, but a delighted botanist who visited Agatunet told us it certainly had to be among the biggest!