Thinking of Sweden’s green landscape means often conjuring images in our head of nature or the peaceful coastline of the archipelago – in fact Sweden has a great variety of city parks and gardens.
One of the best examples in Sweden is the Gothenburg Botanical Garden. With 175 ha it is one of the largest in Europe of its kind, more than 16.000 different plants on 25 ha, also a nature reserve for resident and migrating birds.
You can discover the Nordic plants, a garden of flowers, you can get to know different kinds of bamboo, you can visit the amazing kitchen garden which is home to most of the vegetables in Europe and completed by a huge amount of healing plants.
If you’re interested in the systematics of plants you will be educated in a specialist area. The collections of orchids and carnivorous plants are famous all over Europe, growing in different greenhouse environments to provide the best climate conditions.
And – to link this all to contemporary art – in 2016 the Gothenburg Botanical Garden presented some of the natural artworks of arte sella who won the EGHN Garden award some years ago.
Botanical Gardens are public institutions with tasks of research and teaching, documenting the different variations of plants, the sustained guarantee of biodiversity and publishing.
With its growing education departments working outdoor with children and adults the Gothenburg Botanical Garden is an outstanding example for linking scientific research to practical knowhow.
The Botanical Garden offers lessons for all ages covering topics from compost and recycling to tropical crops and utility plants.
All lessons are curriculum based. Some of their popular lessons are
- Watercolours and adaptation / Paint pattern and purpose
- Compost and recycling / Who turns the peel to soil?
- Let’s talk about plants!
- Plants rest in winter, but how? / How do they survive?
Outdoor education also has many benefits:
- it improves concentration and enhances learning ability,
- it reduces stress levels and
- it increases the amount of physical activity
Every year approximately 10.000 students take part in different activities in the garden, the Gothenburg Botanical Garden also attracts teachers and children as a centre for outdoor education and gardening to inspire development of greener school grounds.
When I visited the Gothenburg Botanical Garden last year I could see a large number of children walking through the area with a magnifying glass or a little garden shovel in hand, heads directed to the ground, deep in concentration on discovering what there.
It was great listening to them when they found a worm, talking about its meaning for the soil – seriously, with good knowledge and with fun in equal measure.
All year round the Gothenburg Botanical Garden organises thematic exhibitions. Depending on the season you can discover the world of spices, mushrooms, apples, pears and plums, exotic fruits as well.
Guided tours are leading you through the exhibitions and there’s also opportunity to have your privately collected mushrooms reviewed by experts to determine they are edible – to make sure!
It’s high quality
You may get an impression of what quality means to the Gothenburg Botanical Garden when I tell you a little story experienced by some of us last year: Preparing a new European project, we visited the Botanical Garden to look for artworks as part of Gothenburg Green World. We found a tunnel of woven willow – elegant, elaborate, filigree – definitely one of the art pieces we’re looking for!
Until we discussed how this was created and how beautifully it fits into the surrounding area and we realised: This was created by the children as part of the outdoor education programme of Gothenburg Botanical Garden!
The combination of beauty, science, passion, fun and high quality linked to an amazing engagement of the entire education staff has utterly convinced the International Jury that the Gothenburg Botanical Garden is a worthy candidate of the Special Award of the Foundation of Schloss Dyck.
(Text by Roswitha Arnold, EGHN Awards Judge, Laudation given during the award ceremony. Photo: Gothenburg Botanical Garden)