A one day tour exploring Lake Vänern’s western side
Join us on a very packed tour of four gardens. We’ll experience magical herbs, manor house gardens, a Japanese inspired place and admire Sweden’s prettiest privy. All on one and the same day.
Örtagården i Dals Rostock, Brunnsparken, 464 50 Dals Rostock
Baldersnäs Herrgård, Baldersnäs 22, 666 94 Dals Långed, Sverige
Eka Miljörum, Ekagatan, 666 31 Bengtsfors, Sverige
Von Echstedtska gården, Västra Smedbyn, 661 94 Säffle
Today's first destination is at the foot of Kroppefjäll, or more precisely in Brunnsparken, at the Örtagården Herb Garden in Dals Rostock. We’re fascinated by the hundreds of specimens that have been planted here, including herbs, shrubs, medicinal plants and heritage garden plants. The plants are clearly in great condition and excellently labelled. It’s even more exciting when we also discover herbs used for witchcraft and sorcery! The herb garden was created in memory of Johannes Henriksson, one of Sweden's foremost herbalists. Down by the large pond, bees buzz next to the hive and interesting aquatic plants catch our eye. Dals Rostock is a historic health spa, with a local history museum, summer café, textile museum, antique shop and an artist's studio in the town. As the garden sells plants we of course buy some herbs from here. It smells lovely in the car as we continue our journey.
After a half-hour drive, we arrive at today's second destination, Baldersnäs Herrgård. Baldersnäs is set on a peninsula and the manor is regarded as a real jewel in the crown here in Dalsland. The English park was laid out as early as the beginning of the 19th century and was then the most distinguished of its kind. The turn-of-the-century charm and magnificent natural scenery complete the favourable impression. We walk around among the beautiful trees and many bushes and soon arrive at the pretty coastal path that goes around the peninsula. The sun is shining and we fancy a dip. Luckily there are many lovely swimming spots to choose from. Feeling hungry we eat lunch at the manor restaurant, where primeurs from the vegetable garden arrive on our plates. They couldn’t be more locally grown. Sated and satisfied, we end our stay with a visit to the craft shop, where an attractive range encourages us to make some purchases.
Today's third destination is Eka Miljörum and the contrast with Baldersnäs is striking. What a varied tour this is! The Eka Miljörum Environmental Sanctuary has an intriguing history. This was once contaminated land that has been given new life through extensive redevelopment. From being somewhere no one wanted to be, it is now a perfect place for an excursion. Stone and water are the main themes and inspiration has come from Japan. The water garden has been built in locks and we walk the longer path. Viewing chambers have been built here giving visitors an insight into what garden art can be. It’s both fascinating and different. There is a butterfly park south of Eka Miljörum and at the northern end of the Eka bridge a lock park. We sit down here and rest our legs next to the Dalsland's canal. Our thoughts revolve around water, both as an important element in a garden and in life in general.
Today's fourth and final destination is the von Echstedt manor, about 50 minutes by car from Eka Miljörum. Here, magical herbs mingle with Värmland apple varieties. The apple orchard is unique, as only varieties from Värmland are grown here. The manor itself is magnificent and the 18th century interior paintings take our breath away. We have heard that there is an outdoor privy like no other and our curiosity is naturally piqued. The privy turns out to be big enough for five adults and two children and we can see why it is considered the most beautiful in the country. Because it’s summer, the manor is putting on an art exhibition which we’d like to go and see. Afterwards we head to the café with its tasty offerings. We sit on the small hill in front of the café and enjoy both the view of Lake Summel and the delicious coffee. A fine end to today’s garden journey.