Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stranger in paradise

Henrik Zetterlund in the inner sanctum
 I was the stranger: this is a picture of the master. The paradise is Gothenburg. What can I say? Now that Jim Archibald has passed away, I think Henrik is the greatest living gardener in the world (in my humble opinion). Spending a large part of a sunny day in Gothenburg, at the height of spring bloom for the bulbs--well, what can I say? This is a day I shall long remember. If you are not aware of it, the botanic garden in Gothenburg, Sweden, is probably the finest institution of its kind on planet earth. I can think of no other botanic garden which has done more ground breaking research in the Caucasus, in China, all over the Himalayas and Central Asia, throughout the Mediterranean and Europe, in North America and the southern Hemisphere--bringing back an enormous volume of plants new to cultivation, new to science, and growing them to perfection. A visit to Gothenburg for a plant nerd is tantamount to apotheosis! And believe you me, I'm lovin' it!

Tulips, mostly in the T. montana group
 Tulips galore in the glass houses, the outdoor bulb display, in the garden...

One of literally thousands of kinds of corydalis at Gothenburg
Everything is meticulously labeled: the huge bulb display yard was in primo condition. Nuff said.

Tufa cliff in one of the alpine houses
 One of the numerous greenhouses, full of treasures... this one featuring lime loving Mediterranean plants...

Iris fosteriana

More treasures in a backup glasshouse
These pretty much speak for themselves...

It is not a daffodil: it is from Peru.
 I shall let you guess the Latin name...

Helleborus thibetanus in the rock garden
What more can one say really?

Henrik treating botanic gardeners from Germany, all over Scandinavia and USA for lunch

Small portion of Dionysia house (there were many in bloom as well
If you are very nice to me, I shall show you some of the wonderful yellow, purple and white dionysias that were still in bloom!

One of innumerable vignettes in another greenhouse with all the finest treasures in perfect display.
A random pot in one of the functional greenhouses full of Oxalis laciniata coming into bloom.

One of innumerable the bulb display yard

Shortia uniflora coming into bloom in the Asian garden
There were countless Shortia, Schizocodon, Berneuxia in the Asian peat beds. It will be mind boggling in a few weeks. You may notice some burning on the shortias: Henrik told me that this was the worst winter they had ever had at Gothenburg, with the most winter damage ever. Which has certainly been the case at Denver Botanic Gardens this year as well....but you wouldn't have guessed it--there was so much in bloom and things were so trim. As my ex-wife once put it, one of the secrets of great gardening is removing the carcases promptly, which I think they've done. But the quantity of magnificence at Gothenburg would take a thousand blogs to begin to convey. I truly felt like a stranger in paradise.


  1. Somewhere I will get to one day soon ... possible day trip from here but better as a weekend away! Paradise indeed.

  2. I can understand your excitement at being there. What an amazing set of greenhouses and plants. I particularly like the Dionysia house

  3. Are some Some of the plant display pot in pot?

  4. Holy !@#$. Giant Peruvian Daffodil. If only I had a greenhouse. And the Corydalis sewerzowii.

  5. I'm jealous Panayoti! And show some Rhodies too please and trees! Give my best to Alden and Zetterlund and to Jens in Copenhagen when you see him. Safe Travels!

  6. Thank you very much for the lecture and all wonderful photos that
    you showed us at Peter Korns "Nerd Saturday"
    I hope that you will have a great time tomorrow with the "West Sweden Cactus and Sukkulent Society"


  7. All I can say is WOOOWWW.

    Paramongaia weberbaueri??

  8. Oh, drool! Now I really have to go visit! Thanks for sharing all of these images PK!

  9. Henrik rocks! I originally met him at the ISU meetings in Europe. I remember coming some years back and was interested in Pulmonaria species. He grabbed a trowel and a plastic bag, smiled and said, "OK, what do you want?" -as he led me out the door... Whattaguy!

  10. Gothenburg Botanical Garden is my favourite place to go, and you've described the reason spot on. An incredibly broad selection of species and varieties in meticulously well kept conditions keeps me longing there every spring./ Marianne Grundblad


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