Gothenburgh Botanics (Goteborgs Botaniska Tradgard)

By Julie Kilpatrick

When I read that Gothenburgh's Botanic garden was voted the most beatiful garden in Sweden and the third most beautiful in Europe, I figured it was only a short, cheap hop across the sea with Ryanair to find out what all the fuss was about. In truth, I thought that Gothenburgh city would make for a nice weekend away and I wasn't expecting all that much from the garden. When you've seen as many botanic gardens as I have, they all seem to merge into one.

Botanic gardens are really plant collections and most of them follow a similar pattern: there's a rock garden, a water garden, a bog garden, woodland garden, herbaceous planting, palm house, etc and Gothenburgh botanics is no exception. However, what makes it a really lovely garden to visit is the way the plants are put together. There is a real sense of design in the planting and all the plant collections are very well thought out.

At the entrance there is a spectacular formal pond which makes excellent use of the the reflective qualities of water and, next to it, The Linnaeus Garden which won a gold medal at Chelsea. Dedicated to the Swedish man responsible for the binomial system of classification (how we name our plants today), this garden uses cool colours to great effect and is surprsingly modern for a garden named after a man who lived in the 18th century.

Worth a look is the formal garden where the perfect symmetry mirrors both the planting and the design. In the hedge surrounding the formal garden, there are little semi-circular seating areas carved out of the beech and, when you sit there, it feels like a real secret garden.

At the top of the garden, the woodland area, rhodendron valley, rock garden and water gardens will while away an hour or so in peace and tranquility as you wander through the maze of paths. The kitchen garden too is very well laid out.

I would thoroughly recommend Gothenburgh Botanics for a day out. Surrounded by a nature park, there's definitely enough to keep you busy and you'll find enough inspiration in the planting combinations to make it worthwhile.

Here are some photgraphic highlights for you:

The kitchen garden

Bench in the formal garden

The rock garden

Entrance to palm house

Herbaceous border

Rhodoendron valley

Visiting Gothenburgh

Gothenburgh city is a really nice place to visit for the weekend. Clean, bright, safe and extremely polite, it has a great cafe culture and you're spoiled for choice of places to sit and sip a coffe or a glass of wine, chill out and people-watch. The city has a number of canals running through it and the tram system makes it extremely easy to negotiate.

Another must-see for gardeners

Just across the canal from Central Station is Trädgårdsföreningen (The Horticultural Park) with its famous rose garden. Not being overly fond of roses myself, I didn't actually intend to visit this garden but rather came across it by accident and I'm glad I did. This beatifully-presented garden may just have changed my mind about roses but then that's why gardeners should always make a point of visiting gardens like these. You can always take home an idea or two.


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