Monday, August 13, 2012

Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård > Desert Life 2012

Or Gothenburg's Botanical Gardens

The above banner for months could be seen all over Göteborg at most Bus and Trolley stops. For me it was an eye catcher and a real motivator for visiting the place I have been to countless times in Göteborg. One of the few retreats and escapes for someone who has a terrible dislike of cities anywhere on the planet. Well some I like. Most I don't. I have to admit I have not been there for sometime. I imagine for many most folks are into the spring displays in the gardens where all manner of flowers plants from Bulbs like tulips and such and loads of Rhododendrons & Azaleas flower profusely everywhere under the giant old growth tree canopies. While I'm okay with that sort of gardens, it's not necessarily my favourite. But I'll take it over the city any day.

This year however has been radically different. The poster was most inviting for me and I finally caved in last week and visited. But I've been putting off the visit as the weather this summer has been cool and constantly wet. What intrigued me most this year were some of the great creative ideas of recreating a type of ecosystem theme that won't normally exist here, but by substituting other plants that will survive but have similar patterned characteristics of  plants you would be familiar with in warmer climates, you can pull off a sort of smoke and mirrors of magic so to speak. I'll write about that on another post as some theme ideas deserve their very own subject matter.
photo: Mine
The photo above is of the long slender pool which greets the visitor. At the very end of the pool you can see the clever way they used plants to carefully illustrate through art this years Desert View theme. Take a close look below. Many succulents and other smaller plants used to recreate the cactus giants found in the warmer climates. Speaking personally, I think I would have made the Saguaro a little beefier looking. It's entirely made up of small agave type succulents more closely related to Dudleyas. Skinny or slender cactus pipe type examples are not the nature of a giant Saguaro.  But still looked good.

The Prickly Pear Cactus is something anyone could easily recreate as a permanent feature on a bank location. The setting looks like something you see on a bank of a Southwestern College Campus, but they probably would use the real thing anyway and would never consider such a arttistic display. Still, such a giant feature would look great at the open end of a football stadium. The Saguaro looks like goalposts anyway. Maybe even something for the enclosed interior of a shopping mall somewhere. I know because I've seen indoor enclosed ecosystem landscapes inside hotels and malls in Scottsdale Arizona where the harsh dry desert heat and bitter winter colds would not allow tropical settings to exist. Possibilities are endless.

Another kool feature aside from the usual displays like the water lilies in the pond were the flower arrangements in this years entrance feature in front of the pond that not only incorporated the use of Cactus and Agaves in among brightly coloured flowers giving the appearance of a desert spring, but the brilliant deep earth tones of the gravel and flower choice colour schemes not necessarily associated with Sweden and other northern climates. It was a refreshing change. Uusally here in Sweden such bright reds and organges only appear in the wild landscape's fruitage in the form of berries and other fruit. Flower colours are usually yellows, blues, purples, violets, soft lavenders and pinks/whites. Take a look below at the gallery of such southwestern mimiced combinations.

Photo: Mine

Blue Agave incorporated among traditional bright hispanic coloured garden themes.

A bit of an organ pipe patterned cactus here

Agave varieties are bright yellows, organges and reds

A varigated striped Agave used here

Photo: Mine
Makes me wish I was back home where such features are a permanent feature which won't have to be dug up and stored away for 6+ months or more.

Photo: Mine

This flower and similar ones in their displays brought back to mind Gaillardia 'Firewheel' , 'Arizona Sun'  or 'Blanket Flower' which are native to parts southwest. First time I saw them was at a roadside stop between Lordsburg & Deming New Mexico.
Link to Göteborgs Botaniska Trädgård:
Well I have more subjects and pictures, but they all deserve to be separated. Some are specimen and an Urban landscape's Hardscape features story. 


  1. Lovely photos from the botanical gardens. the agave, cactus and waterlilies are all beautiful. The firewheel is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing your visit.

    1. Thanks Eileen

      I've got a multiple part series with regards the Gardens here in Göteborg. This years theme for obvious reasons was a plus for me. Mostly I was impressed with the creativity of much of what they did and I'm not easily impressed by many things Swedish, especially garden themes and landscapes which I find rather functional and boring. More on that later.


  2. I bet the nordic folks are both amazed and blinded by those forms and color! Great scenes, and I even like the ground-mural of the saguaro and prickly pear. Those who've ruined Albuquerque with Yankee / northern European horticulture or landscape aesthetics are still shocked at form and color not always dependent on flower - but maybe a tuna or a bright wall. They must really like their anemic turf, white-barked trees or gray skies, not realizing where what they like comes from or where they vacation to often! Great post.

    1. Wait till you see some scenes from here on my Hardscape section and mimicing the desert scenes with other substitutes. You'll think you are seeing Sedona or somewhere in the Guadalupe Mountains south of you there in New Mex.

  3. I love that shot with the agave in the center with all the wildflowers around the plant. Beautiful. Back in Wisconsin I had to bring in all my cacti inside the house and keep them from rotting with too much rain during the summer.....tricky tricky stuff to do in cooler weather:) I kinda like that prickly pear garden art:) But tasting a piece of the desert isn't the same as being surrounded by it. These are fun posts.

    1. I should have posted more pics. They also incorporated many Chile plants with red and green peppers. They also used some ornamental corn with streaks of red veins thru the green leaves. Very kool and every much an equal to all the other annual flowering plants used.


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