From the Onsala peninsula to the Tygriket, West Sweden’s Textile Area
Day one starts with masses of inspiring borders, continues with a garden designer’s villa garden and ends at a magnificent castle.
Our first stop is at Lindarnas Garden in Vallda. Everything from Christmas trees to stately orchids are grown here. What strikes us first are the imaginative borders with names like Grandma’s Border and Sunshine Border. Just the names put us in a good mood! We stroll past ponds, a Japanese inspired corner and a newly planted woodland, to name just a few of the things you can see in this large 400 m² garden. Wild plants are allowed to sneak in, but in an orderly manner. Lindarnas Garden is a great example of how you can live in harmony with nature and enjoy life as a gardener. After a really enjoyable visit we head off to our next destination on the Onsala peninsula.
This next garden is one that stimulates our imagination and challenges us to be creative, because it’s a Mindful Garden. This truly is a place for all the senses. Everything here has been done with sustainability and environmental awareness in mind. Naturally, growing things to eat is an important part of the garden. We are also struck by how the history of the place has been allowed to play a dominant role in the design. There’s a stately seven-armed pine here, for instance, that in the 1940s was just a small shoot. It’s noticeable that the owners, also gardeners and garden designers, let their professionalism permeate the garden with clever, fun and imaginative solutions. We really like the surprise putting green that is suddenly visible behind swaying grasses. We sit down next to the pruned rhododendrons and enjoy both our packed lunch and the surroundings. Then we are ready for the last stop of the day on our delightful garden tour.
Our final destination is Tjolöholm Castle. Even from a distance we can see that we’re going to be experiencing a remarkable place. The castle is Scandinavia’s most English Tudor-style estate, located on a peninsula in the Kungsbacka Fjord. The gardens are unique, strongly influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement*. They were created in the early 20th century by the same architect who designed the castle, Lars Israel Wahlman. The castle is like something from a fairy tale and both the interior and exterior are resplendent. The magnificent castle gardens were recently named one of the world's eight most beautiful by Vagabond magazine. That list also includes the Alhambra in Spain and Monet's garden in France, so you can tell this garden is something really special! After admiring both the castle and the garden, we decide to walk around Allmogebyn ,the former worker’s village, where it feels as if time has stood still. Here, too, the flower beds are lovely. We realise we’re now feeling quite hungry, and fortunately the Storstugan restaurant is right on the spot. Inside, we enjoy a delicious meal using seasonal ingredients, made by highly skilled chefs. For those who prefer simpler refreshments, overlooking the castle just a short walk away lies Cafe Manegen.
Happy and satisfied, we decide to end our visit with a walk down to the castle’s own beach. The shallow waters are great for the kids who content themselves with catching crabs, a popular activity for anyone living on the West Coast. Swimmers get their fill and the rest of us who just want to sit on the grass, the sand or the rocks, can do that. What a day we’ve had! There’s a great choice of places to stay, either here at Tjolöholm or in nearby Kungsbacka. For suggestions go to vastsverige.com/en/
*= The Arts and Crafts Movement originated in Britain during the late 1800s. Promoting a set of artistic ideals, it had a huge influence on crafts, architecture, garden design and interior design.
Our second day starts early. We want to fit four gardens in, without rushing. We’re going to enjoy magnolias, visit a garden on the edge of the forest, experience organic gardening in practice and head to the border between Småland and Västergötland. Better get a move on!
Nyhagens Trädgård & Plantskola, Lekvad 11, 511 96 Berghem
Furet, Skutesjövägen 4, 511 92 Örby
Björnhyltans Trädgård, Hunnabo Björnhyltan, 514 93 Ambjörnarp
Grimstorpet Gård, Grimstorpet 1, 514 95 Grimsås
Today's first destination is an Eldorado for us magnolia lovers. Here at Nyhagens Garden & Nursery we certainly get our fill. This is a rural garden with a large kitchen garden, greenhouses, terraced beds and masses of both perennials and bulbs. We pick up lots of inspiration for our own patch at home when we walk round the grounds. The surrounding fields and meadows give the place a lovely calm atmosphere. We decide to enjoy our picnic lunch in the inviting pergola where there is plenty of space to sit down. In the nursery's well stocked shop we are most attracted by the special range of magnolias on offer. We really want to take some home for our own garden. The ceramics for sale don’t escape our notice either. Once at the checkout, we pay for both the magnolia and a lovely ceramic bowl, which, whatever the season, will remind us of this wonderful place and day.
Today's second destination, Furet, is about ten kilometres away from the first. Unlike Nyhagens, the nursery here no longer trades. Instead it has become a place where you can explore two gardens, the old nursery garden and the owners' private garden. Both gardens are situated by the edge of the forest and this is reflected in the soundscape. It’s so peaceful and quiet here, and what you hear most is birdsong from the many feathered visitors. The nursery garden was laid in the 1950s and the private garden twenty years later. There are ponds, rockeries, greenhouses, perennials and a woodland, in a unique and personal setting where new projects are constantly being developed. It’s a great combination of conservation and renewal. We sit down with our food, close our eyes and listen to the pollinators buzzing. Life is good.
Eagle eyed readers will have spotted that the Tygriket textile area was named in the title of this tour. And of course the whole area has links to the textile industry. We’re tempted by factory sales and other things of course, but we won’t go into more detail here. For now we’re just focusing on gardens!
Today's third destination is Björnhyltans Garden. This wonderful place is surrounded by fields and meadows. Our visit begins inside the greenhouse and suddenly it feels as if we have been transported to the Mediterranean. Then we enjoy a wander around the kitchen garden, orchard, herb garden and flower garden. So much to see and experience! Chicken and sheep do their bit to complete the favourable impression of this lovely place. The garden is very fruitful and it’s no surprise that organic growing methods take centre stage in the work that goes on here. When it's time to eat our picnic food, we return to the greenhouse, where there’s a flowering peach tree. What a dream to sit under it! Before we leave Björnhyltan we check out the farm shop, where we buy some freshly harvested vegetables to take home and the perfect secateurs, which we’ve been meaning to get for ages.
Today's fourth and final destination is Grimstorpet. This farm dates back to the 1750s and the garden style is English cottage. The mullioned windows, handsome brickwork and the gorgeous greenery give the place a lovely feel. There are several greenhouses and an orangery that catches our attention. Both traditional garden vegetables and many kinds of flowers are grown here. We walk down to the pond to admire the outdoor kitchen with its woodfired pizza and bread oven. In the middle of the meadow next to a babbling brook is Kålgårdsstugan cottage, where you can stay overnight. Sheep and horses graze nearby. Could it be more romantic and enticing? Grimstorpet's owners call the place their very own paradise and we’re inclined to agree. This lovely spot is where our fantastic two day tour comes to an end.