Three day tour between lakes Vänern and Vättern
A whole day in Falköping, with visits to two completely different residential gardens and a place where we learn about being patient.
This trip starts in Falköping at Villa Lindström & Kikongo Garden Design. The first thing we see when we get here is the impressive reflecting pool, a wonderful welcome! We stroll round among flamboyant flower beds, paths of lavender, roses and dahlias. In the orangery it smells of sun-warmed tomatoes and the cucumbers compete to be the biggest. There’s a lovely harmonious feeling, everything is so neat, well thought out and inspiring. We can tell that a garden designer lives here. After seeing both the impressive pool and the kitchen garden, we’re intrigued by the African theme in the form of textile products, trays, baskets and other things made in the Congo. We learn that when we buy these products, we directly support young Congolese entrepreneurs, which of course feels good. Happy with the trip's first destination, we move on to another, completely different, residential garden here in Falköping.
Garden view in Villa Lindström.
Ove’s garden has been called a paradise for pollinators and we’re inclined to agree. Here nature is left to itself and the bees are the main focus. Although the area is relatively small, there are lots of different species. We come across berry bushes, fruit trees and other nectar-rich plants. Ove himself proudly shows us his hives and we are impressed by both the bees' hard work and Ove's ambition to provide them with the optimal conditions to thrive. Both honey and apple juice are sold here, and we happily buy some to take home.
Ove welcomes both you and pollinators.
We stay in Falköping and head to Tunhems Gardens. The garden is located in beautiful farmland on the slopes of Mösseberg table mountain. The so-called Slow Flower method of growing is employed here, which means that everything is home grown with a lot of thought for the environment. Growing is sustainable because flowering is not forced. Waiting patiently is an essential part of the Slow Flower movement. We walk around the garden beds and just enjoy all the beautiful sights. We marvel at what an amazing designer nature is. The smallest petal is a miracle of perfection when it comes to colour and shape. After we have had our coffee on a seat in the garden, we’re tempted by the chance to pick a bouquet from the flower beds. Not so straightforward as we’re truly spoilt for choice! Before we leave Tunhems we explore the greenhouse where a local artist has an exhibition. It’s been a great day and we’re now ready to recharge for the upcoming adventures. For accommodation in the area, see vastsvergie.com.
Sanna with tulip harvest in Tunhems Gardens.
We start and end the day at an arboretum. In between we’ll visit a nursery and a historic abbey.
Day two begins with a visit to Alphems Arboretum. Three acres with around three hundred different species of trees and bushes, very impressive. Several of them are rare species which come from all corners of the globe. This place which started with a few American spruce in 1903 has grown into a fantastic arboretum. But something else other than the trees enticed us here. We had heard that the cottage which the dwarfs’ house in Disney’s Snow White was modelled on is in the grounds. And it is! The arboretum’s founder, rural postman Frans Johan Gergerfeldt’s cottage still stands for all to see. It’s not every day you get to admire a cottage with such a distinguished history.
The cottage which inspired the dwarfs house in Snow White.
From Floby we travel on to Gustafson’s Nursery in Vartofta. Amongst other things the large pelargonium display, consisting of 250 unique varieties, has lured us here. The nursery has been around for 80 years and a better example of its kind would be hard to summon up. Everything garden enthusiasts would want can be found here. We wander around the extensive beds of summer flowers housed in five well filled greenhouses. It’s a peaceful setting, and before we leave Gustafson’s we buy berries and fruit to take home. The Bigarreau cherries are sweet and juicy, the perfect travel snack as we drive on to Varnhem, about 30 minutes by car from here.
Large selection in a lovely setting at Gustafson’s nursery.
Varnhem is the last destination of the day and we have chosen to spend extra time here. It’s a big site containing a lot to see and we don’t want to miss anything. Varnhem is located at the foot of Billingen table mountain and the well-preserved abbey complex is pretty spectacular. In the grounds lie Ryttargården, Varnhem Abbey, the fantastic Herb Garden, the monastery ruins, the monastery museum and Kata Farm. The first thing we come across are the impressive dahlia beds located at the entrance to the complex. In the herb garden, it’s the monks' selection of medicinal plants that pique our interest. The Rosenstigen trail winds around the whole area. We decide to walk this two kilometre trail and, as its name implies, we get to enjoy all kinds of roses along it. There is both a café and a restaurant here, with a tempting selection to sate our hunger. After enjoying a tasty lunch we visit the church, the ruins and Kata farm and learn all about its fascinating history.
As we still have some energy left we decide to finish the day as we started, at an arboretum. Remningstorp’s Arboretum (Valles) is about ten minutes from Varnhem. Sawara cypress, walnut, Chinese Sequoia and many other varieties of tree can be found here. Satisfied, we leave Remningstorp and head to Skövde where we will stay the night. For accommodation go to vastsverige.com.
The Pilgrim Path at Varnhem.
The morning in a garrison town and the afternoon in a wooden town by Lake Vättern.
We have chosen two towns and their parks to end our garden trip. Skövde is first in line and thankfully several of the town’s parks are within easy walking distance of each other. We plan to visit four parks and start with the largest, Boulongerskogen. It has wide open spaces, beech woods and many lovely spots to sit. We feel as if we’re in the Skövde residents' own outdoor living room. We see people playing badminton, others strolling around and children playing. The next park is Kyrkparken, which is a lush and inviting oasis in central Skövde. The fountain here attracts both birds and children to water play. A five minute walk then takes us to Helénsparken. This is a cultural reserve where the oldest house dates back to the early 18th century. The stage is being prepared for tonight's concert. It’s a shame we won’t be here when it starts. Outdoor live music during the summer is always a highlight. We end our stay in Skövde by going to the city's old landfill. That might sound a bit strange, but the tip has been transformed into Garpaparken and is now one of Skövde's largest parks. The bird pond and its inhabitants is a lovely sight, and we stand for a while watching this watery hive of activity. After a nice lunch at one of the town's many excellent cafes, we get in the car and drive to the wooden town, in other words, Hjo!
Kyrkparken in Skövde
We easily find a place to park by Hjo’s Stadspark, where we’ll spend the afternoon. The park was laid out in 1877 as the grounds of the town’s health resort. People came here for many years to take the waters. In the middle of the 1930s the spa was closed but the park remains. We wander around this magnificent place which contains around 1500 trees. On the extensive playing fields there are both tennis courts and minigolf. Winding gravel paths stretch around the park and alongside the lake. There’s a fun playground for little ones and an outdoor gym for fitness enthusiasts. Us garden lovers head to the flower beds laid out in German garden style, with masses of roses. But what we find most impressive are actually the imposing wooden villas with beautiful carpentry detail found here. Incredibly well-preserved, they adorn the whole park. We end our day by visiting the German restaurant Biergarten, strategically located in the park next to the cosy hostel. We might stay here for a long time!
Relaxing garden rooms overlooking Lake Vättern.
Have a great garden journey!