Gothenburg and surroundings
We start off in a family garden, then visit one of Europe’s largest botanical gardens and finish up with a local food experience.
Our first stop is at Känn Sensory Garden in Askim. This is a 1050 m² family garden in an idyllic spot. When we get here, we understand why it is has been called a green paradise. The garden consists of six different rooms, with each room designed to evoke a special feeling and mood. Sustainability and quality with a very personal touch are the guiding principles here. The garden's owner, Camilla Danielsson, has written a book about the creation of her garden (Känn trädgården). The book is about finding your own garden design ideas. After visiting we of course want to buy it and thankfully there is a small but well-stocked shop here. Satisfied and inspired, we’re now ready for the next stop on our journey. We get in the car and after about a quarter of an hour we arrive at one of Västra Götaland's most popular visitor attractions.
The Gothenburg Botanical Garden was laid out as early as 1923, with the aim of being both a botanical garden and providing recreational opportunities for the city's inhabitants. It covers a huge area. The gardens consist of 16,000 plant species over a massive 175 hectares. There is an incredible amount to explore. The award-winning rock garden, the rhododendron dell, the perennial beds, the Japanese garden and the herb garden with its pretty summerhouse are just a few examples of what we enjoy experiencing. We could easily spend the whole day here. There are lots of lovely places to sit for picnickers and plenty of choice for those who would rather eat in a café or restaurant. The garden is next to the Änggårdsbergen nature reserve where there is an arboretum with an impressive collection of trees. We end our visit by admiring Sweden's largest collection of tropical orchids. It’s easy to understand why more than half a million visitors come here every year. The Botanical Garden is in a class of its own.
We drive through Gothenburg and stop in the outskirts at Kålltorp. Here, in the grounds of a historic former sanatorium, is the Renströmska garden, where a city farm was established in 2019, growing vegetables, herbs and flowers. Bees buzz in the air while hens pick contentedly at the ground. It feels exotic to experience farm life in the middle of an urban environment. The garden offers pick-your-own cut flowers and in the shop there is a lovely assortment of home grown vegetables. We take a seat in the restaurant and reflect on everything we have experienced today. It has been a fantastic start to our journey and now a good night's sleep awaits before we set off again. For accommodation suggestions, go to vastsverige.com/en.
Day two promises a stately home in an English landscape park and a visit to Gothenburg city centre, where one of Europe’s best preserved 19th century parks is situated.
We start off at Gunnebo House and Gardens. Gunnebo is about 20 minutes by car from inner city Gothenburg. After we park, we walk up the magnificent slope leading to the house and its gardens. Gunnebo is a neoclassical mansion with a terraced French garden and a large reconstructed kitchen garden. An English landscape park surrounds it all. It's as impressive as it sounds. We stroll around the pretty paths and let all the beauty sink in. An orangery is currently being rebuilt in its original location and will be inaugurated in August 2022. We have to content ourselves with following the work from a distance. A guided tour of the castle sounds enticing and when we hear the story of John Hall, the place and its history become even more alive to us. John Hall built Gunnebo as a summer residence. At the end of the 18th century he was one of the richest men in Sweden. After a deep dive into history, we feel like some refreshments, and we’ve heard good reviews of both the café and the restaurant. As we sit there enjoying our coffee, we talk about the short car journey to Gothenburg city centre we’ll soon be making, a journey that in John Hall's time was made by horse and carriage, taking considerably longer than the less than half hour we have ahead of us.
Next stop is in the middle of Gothenburg, more specifically in the Trädgårdsföreningen Garden Society park. The well-kept lawns, winding paths and the adjacent canal are the first things we notice after passing through the magnificent entrance gates. On the canal, the Paddan tour boats so well known to Gothenburgers glide past, and the guide's voice reaches us over the water. The Garden Society was founded in 1842 and is one of Europe's best-preserved 19th-century parks. There is an impressive rose garden, filled with thousands of rose bushes, and walking the paths here while enjoying the scented blooms is a delight. We start feeling peckish so we go to the Rosencaféet for a nice fika. The Trädgårdsföreningen feels like Gothenburgers' own living room, albeit outdoors. Children are playing, people are strolling around and colourful picnic blankets decorate the lawns here and there. It really is an oasis in the middle of the city. We want to visit the Palm House before we leave so we head there. The Palm House, which is centrally located in the park, is a magnificent greenhouse built in 1878, where both palm trees and other tropical plants thrive. It's as if we’re suddenly in the Mediterranean. The exterior of the Palm House is a glittering work of art in glass and cast iron. Tired but satisfied after our second garden day in Gothenburg we decide to explore both the city's choice of restaurants offer and places to stay. See vastsverige.com/en for suggestions.
Day three promises unique havens along a pretty circular walk and an award winning manor house garden.
We start off in Lerum, a municipality neighbouring Gothenburg. We’re here to visit Växtrum i Lerum. As we walk by the Säveån river we’ll get to experience a total of ten different garden rooms which have been created via a collaboration between garden designers and work groups of residents from Lerum itself. A very exciting project that has achieved great success. Its aim is to help create a more sustainable society and its vision is to inspire, visualise and invite collaboration. We start our walk by the Aludden Providore restaurant and wander through the different gardens, each as impressive as the last. The biodiversity is noticeable and the commitment put into the making of the respective gardens is also apparent. We choose to do the complete walk which is 3.6 km long. It feels good to have plenty of time as there is so much to see and take in. The burbling waters of the river Säveån are beside us the whole way, adding to the lovely ambience. At some point we think we see a water spirit playing its violin but we might have imagined it. There are lots of lovely spots to sit and have a fika, and if you’re ready for lunch you’ll find plenty of alternatives in the centre of Lerum, right next to the Växtrum. Satisfied, and with a few steps on the pedometer, we travel on to the last destination on our tour.
Just over ten kilometres from Lerum lies Jonsered Gardens, where our garden journey will end. Jonsered Gardens is a recreated 19th century manor house garden, in the grounds of Jonsered Manor. These organic gardens consist of a formal garden, a kitchen garden, an English rose garden and a show garden. We learn that the show garden, designed by the British garden designer Susie White, has a special importance for Trädgårdsresan, as it was created in collaboration with the British National Garden Scheme and Trädgårdsresan, as part of an international cultural exchange. Jonsered's gardens sit proudly on top of a hill and at the entrance we pass a majestic beech forest. There are several walking trails around the grounds and below the mansion Lake Aspen glitters. The surroundings are captivating. Anyone interested in beekeeping will find the display hive providing an educational insight into the impressive work bees do in the hive fascinating. There is also an interesting diversity trail. Along it we learn how to create good conditions for wildlife such as hedgehogs, beetles, bumblebees and frogs to thrive. There are many places in the garden for picnic eaters to sit, and there is also a lovely cafe where we are tempted by beetroot and goat’s cheese salad. Delicious! At the end of this enjoyable three day trip, we can reveal that Gothenburg and its surroundings receives a high rating from us.