A trip to Gothenburg in Sweden is not complete without a visit to the Botanic Garden hidden away the otherside of a motorway. The tram will take you there but I decided to take a walk through the city, a meander through a park, over a bridge and through the back gate!
Mats, Agneta and Magnus were waiting for me in the office building which houses a superb botanical library where I could have happily spent a few hours, but I was there to see the garden so after an introduction to everyone, Mats and Magnus took me on a guided tour.
I was so privileged to meet both and soon realised how passionate and knowledgeable they are.
Mats Havström is the Senior Scientific Curator at the Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård and guided us through to see collections at the garden which are not usually available to the public.
Magnus Lidén with his PhD in systematic botany from back in 1986 has spent his career so far researching plants around the world and is very much well respected.
I soon learnt that Magnus studied at Edinburgh University to which he likens the climate to Gothenburg (not Stockholm in the East of the country) and we all discussed the different areas in the garden. It soon became the garden ‘proper’ and the ‘rest’ of the garden. The garden ‘proper’ being the more cultivated area. The botanic garden after-all also includes a managed National Park and Arboretum which is beautiful in itself.
We strolled through the greenhouses whilst similar to other tropical greenhouses most places in the world (although there are 1600 species of plants to see), it does house a stunningly impressive range of Orchids - the largest in Sweden no less.
Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård is home to the Easter Island Tree which has been extinct on the island itself in the South Pacific since 1962. The tree at the Botanic Garden in one of the greenhouses is actually from the seeds collected by Thor Heyerdahl from his voyage in the 1950’s.
I was privy to a huge propagation of unusual bulbs protected from the harsh weather and a rather stunning collection of Dionysia (Cushion Primroses). At this point, I realise I am with someone who has a lot of love for botanical research. Magnus has spent time traveling the world for his research and has been to Iran and Afghanistan where Dionysia grow in the wild. Beautiful yellow and violet flowers whilst some of the more mature varieties look somewhat like Cauliflower! One specimen was about 40 years old. Quite something, given they are very hard to grow. The protected area out of the public eye is home to 35 of the 50 known species. Something tells me Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård is the best of the best.
The obvious question I had to ask Magnus was ‘what is your favourite plant’ - Fumariaceae (Bleeding Heart) was his answer. A surprise! I wasn't at all expecting that - but upon further research, I realise Magnus has spent a long time researching the species. A big favourite in my own garden!
We went on to see the rock gardens from around the world, the Japanese garden and array of Rhododendron. There is a huge amount to see and the views as the sunset were beautiful. As much as I could have wandered for many more hours, as soon as the sunset it was freezing cold and time for a hot drink!
I could go into such a lot more detail but I will leave that for the article I will be writing about the garden. For now I just want to extend my huge gratitude to Magnus, Mats and Agneta for spending time with me - it was a privilege and to everyone reading this - Gothenburg is absolutely worth a trip. Ryanair provide very low cost flights to this friendly city and its worth it just to visit the gardens.
Photos below and a full set HERE
Easter Island Tree
The Guided Tour
Aren't Orchids Fascinating