In late May 2018, a group of AGS members embarked on a two-night break to Gothenburg Botanical Garden. Find out all about the trip in this report from one of our Gothenburg explorers…
Our 16 strong UK contingent met at Gatwick airport and, despite heavy thunderstorms that kept our flight grounded for two hours, we managed to arrive in Gothenburg in the afternoon. Here we met the other four AGS members from America and Russia, all eager to visit Göteborg's Botaniska Trädgård: Gothenburg's amazing Botanical Garden.
After leaving our bags at the hotel we took the tram to the gardens. Henrik Zetterlund, Marika Irvine and Magnus Liden were there to greet us with a selection of delicious appetisers! (Smoked salmon, dill and tomato salads and reindeer with horseradish among others.) We then enjoyed the Potting Shed welcome party, exploring the alpine collection and discovering what goes on behind the scenes.
The second day was incredibly hot with temperatures of over 30°C! We started the day with a guided tour of the gardens, led by Magnus. A world-renowned Corydalis expert, Magnus showed us many rare Corydalis species growing in the luscious woodland habitats.
Gothenburg Botanical Garden is set within a large nature reserve and paths weave in and out of the garden, with a very relaxed natural feel. The glacier-formed landscape is ideal for naturalistic plantings of woodlanders and alpines among natives like Trientalis europaea and Maianthemum bifolium.
Throughout the tour we must have spent hours exploring the winding paths in the Asian section. It was full of treasures one can only dream of growing including plants grown from wild collected seed in obscure but fascinating genera.
The alpine section, a rockery built initially to accommodate the Greek plants that Arne Strid was studying, features a large waterfall that runs down the slope in several fast flowing streams. These streams divide the rockery into beds with plants from all over the world, including my native Transylvania: Iris versicolor and Echium russicum.
The afternoon was free for us to further explore the sections we liked best. As a lover of wet temperate forests, I delved among the Rhododendron, underneath majestic native oaks, looking for Epimedium, Diphylleia, Parasenecio, Disporopsis, Arisaema and the like.
The day ended with a lecture by Johan Nilson, in the beautiful setting of the old botanical library. He talked about his favourite plants that grow in the areas he manages: the alpine houses and the outdoor peat beds.
On our last day in Gothenburg we were given a choice: spend the morning and early afternoon at the gardens or visit the town. Most of us took the first option and came back to the gardens. Even though the grounds are extensive and one could spend days discovering plants in hidden corners, one must not forget to visit the glasshouses as well, which are packed full of several collections.
My recommendation would be to start with the high-mountain plants followed by the orchids, carnivorous plants, succulents (including Madagascaran endemics) and ferns.
Our late afternoon flight back to the UK was delayed again by heavy rain in the south of England, but this just gave us time to make plans for future visits to the garden, at other times of the year when the extensive bulb collections will be at their best.
If you're interested in joining one of our tours, take a look at our schedule of upcoming tours.