Monday, June 18, 2012

Swedish Gardens and Landscapes

For a country with such a cold climate, Sweden offers surprisingly glorious gardens and unique landscapes. Cool summer temperatures and long hours of sunlight together with fertile soil help offset the short growing season.

I discovered Sweden’s beautiful landscapes when we first traveled there in the mid 1990s. A short drive outside the cities leads to verdant woodlands of pristine white birches, fragrant evergreens, lush ferns along with ancient rocks and boulders covered in moss and lichen. Equally lovely, the countryside is scattered with wildflowers.

Enjoy these photos from last week's trip and past visits.
Yellow fields of canola rapeseed plants burst into bloom in late spring.
 I love the barns dotting the countryside.
 We visited the herb, hops and vegetable gardens of Carl Linnaeus, the father of botany. A charming "green roof" on an 18th century cottage. Goats would have been placed on top to keep the grass in check.
Linnaeus (1707-1778) was a renowned Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. He is often portrayed with a sprig of his favorite flower: Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis).
Many of the medicinal and herbal plants in this garden would have been studied and used by Linnaeus. We noted lavender, thyme, sage, verbascum, chamomile, hops, valerian and more.
Violas growing under hops.
I love the lichen surface on the rustic, silvery willow fences. Behind is a row of garlic plants.
Isn't this "living" willow edger a great idea?
My first time seeing the angelica biennial herb plant.
Drifts of lupines were blooming everywhere last week---from roadside to meadow fields. A challenge for us in DC, I was especially excited to see lupines growing so vigorously.
We revisited Gunnebo, one of the finest Gustavian homes. The all organic gardens range from dignified and structured to naturalistic and informal.
The Chinoiserie railings are charming.
 Gray-on-gray Gustavian color scheme on the barns.
The cottage cutting garden.
A view of the woodlands beyond the parterre and fountain.
Last, a visit to a private garden with this amazing conservatory and antique statuary.


  1. Good morning Loi! Such a fabulous post to wake up to! Loved seeing all the sights in this beautiful country...thank you for the tour. Many years ago, my college roommate was from Sweden and I have been infatuated with this country every since. The lupines and wild flowers remind me of the Adirondacks...they are blooming here now too.
    Have a wonderful week!

  2. YAY - this was what I was hoping for -- your glorious pictures. I love those natural grass roofs! So cool. How much daylight did you have? Also - I'm thinking I need a consult. I need new life in my planter boxes in the front of my home. I want some little tree with a poof on the top -- there's my botanist technical name for ya. Like the trees in pics 13 and 14 but on a smaller scale. Any ideas?

  3. Wow, its all so beautiful. I really liked the living edger and I am busy thinking of all the plants that would work for something like that.

  4. Thank you for transporting me there!

  5. Dear Loi - You only have to look at the photos and they immediately spell Scandinavia clean, fresh and understated colours.
    Gunnebo is a magnificent Gustavian home, which I would love to visit.
    Living willow is wonderful for making interesting shapes in the garden I have even seen a gazebo made out of it.
    Delicious post.

  6. Goodness me - Sweden looks absolutely incredible - I never knew! Gunnebo is utter perfection and as for the gardens - breathtaking! Loi, you are the only man since my husband to show me such a good time on so regular a basis - keep the pictures/inspiration coming - lol!
    Paula x

  7. must have been in Tone on Tone heaven !!! My father's side of the family came from Sweden. My father was first generation American. So Sweden holds a special place in my heart. And your lovely pictures only endeared her to me even more. Looks like you had a wonderful visit. I too, love the idea of that 'willow' border. How ingenius.
    You certainly get around to some interesting places.........and I get to tag along via your photos. Yippee!!

  8. Gosh how I enjoyed this tour. I am so glad you went and took your camera to share with us your trip. The canola is wonderful...we have a few fields in our county...abundant butterflies! Thanks for being so great Loi!

  9. Stunning Loi! The contrasts were abundant. Love the countryside and canola(ours is just coming to flower too) ....The bas-relief!!! WOW! Thanks for taking some time out to share. Safe travels:)B

  10. Excelentes fotografias de belos lugares....

  11. Loi,

    Your photographs of Sweden are beautiful. Those canola flowers in your first two photos are stunning. I can smell the fragrance of the herbs in the gardens. The entry to the Gunnebo Gustavian home is breath-taking, Wow! Wonderful tour!

    Enjoy the start to your week :)


  12. Hi, Loi - I can see that you were in your element, in so many ways. The range of greens is so rich, and I would have loved to have peeked into Gunnebo. I hope your shopping spree is going as well!

  13. Sweden and gardens do not seem to exist in the same sentence, but you have proven such a union does exist. Love blue in a garden so the lupines were a real treat. A pretty and instructive post all at the same time. Thanks, Loi, for sharing your travels and your photos. Great as usual.

  14. Coming from the sunlight of southern Europe, I have always looked down on (what I thought) was an overcast, cold and boring Swedish landscape. How wrong I was! These pictures portray a place I would love to visit. Thanks, Loi.

  15. I have always wanted to visit Sweden and now it's moved to the top of my bucket list. Gunnebo is an amazing home and gardens...spectacular!!

    1. Hi Loi....Sweden is so beautiful and I need to go back there. I've only been once many years ago since my Mom was from Sweden. The homes and gardens you've shown are stunning. I hope you had a lot of fun and found lots of inspiration!


  16. I think I must have some swedish blood somewhere- I love everything about the look.

  17. Loi,
    We drove through southern Sweden on our way to Copenhagen today. The lupine are blooming everywhere! We stopped at Sofiero to see a beautiful house and garden. I'm going to all of your favorite shops tomorrow. Peeked in the window at Tage Andersen...I can't wait!

    1. The shops in Copenhagen were closed the day I was there :( Can't wait to hear all about your trip. Hope you are having a great time.

  18. Loi, So so beautiful. It looks like you had a fabulous time. The gardens are breath taking.

  19. Hi, Loi, I have never been to Sweden. It looks so beautiful through your eyes...maybe one day. I am in love with Gunnebo. Perfection.

  20. Thank You so much for the tour! Beautiful pictures!

  21. Loi

    Thank you for the tour. Your photos are stunning as usual. I love the idea of the living fence...I am wondering if you could make rosemary do that? Willow takes way too much precious water here. The lupine are magnificent. We did not see a lot of lupine here in CA this year. Lovely post on a Monday morning!

    1. Yes, willow loves water, and Sweden gets plenty of precipitation. Rosemary might be a better alternative for a dryer climate. I often see it as a topiary. If you try it, please let us know. Thanks!

  22. Hi Loi,

    What a treat to be instantly transported to the wholesome beauty of Sweden through such stunning pictures that have captured the vitality and variety of this northern European country. The feeling of freshness for me was especially felt in the first picture of the vibrant yellow field and secondly, in the cottage cutting garden at Gunnebo. Peacefulness and purity prevail here. Thanks again for thinking of us and providing us with such perfection.

    Have a great week,


  23. Hi Loi! Sweden looks so beautiful!! How exciting to see those lupines growing wild. Hope your trip was wonderful - looks like it!
    take care,

  24. Loi, this was fabulous! If it weren't for the cold climate I would move there after reading this post! It was all very beautiful as well as informative! Thanks so much for always posting such quality in your pictures as well as your information! I loved it and I'm so glad I got to read it! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful week!

  25. Hi Loi,

    Sweden looks perfectly wonderful. I have always wanted to visit, it just hasn't happened yet, but I am so happy to see your photos. I will ask for your recommendations when I finally put the trip together. Gunnebo will certainly be on the list, the exteriors are beautiful - I am quite envious of the perfectly pruned topiary.

    I look forward to seeing photos of any new additions to the shop!


  26. What's interesting to me is to see so many neoclassical details in the Gustavian home. I think I need an art/architecture history course.

    The first few images are awe inspiring. It makes me want to get my paints out.

  27. Sweden is next on my "must visit" list!
    I am saving your gorgeous post as reference.
    I love the pale gray barn! Oh and those gardens!!!

    It looks like you are having a wonderful trip.
    Thank you for taking us along!


  28. Oh, I would love it there. Sweden is on my list. A lot of this reminds me of Canada. Here we also have vast yellow fields of canola (originally called rapeseed) in the summer. And lupines grew like weeds at my parents' home on the east coast - ditches and roadsides were full of them. Lovely!! xo Terri

  29. Gunnebo looks amazing and the gardens are beautiful. Thank you for sharing those beautiful images with us!


  30. Every post speaks to me, Loi! Lupines are the most beautiful flowers, and I read the book "Miss Rumphius" numerous times to my daughter. As a gift she gave me a new copy. If you have children get it!
    Isn't it amazing how many herbs are healing and calming? I try to use them when possible in cooking and drinks.
    Now to the countywide, oh my goodness! I can't imagine looking out onto this land each morning. Miles and miles of gorgeous.
    Thank you of much for sharing this beauty.
    Happy Tuesday.

  31. I love the photos, especially the grey barn. Would love to visit one day...!

  32. Beautiful pictures. I am half Swedish and have visited family in Sweden (many years ago). It's a beautiful country. Your pictures do it great justice. I love the roof top herb garden. I my named after Linnaeus and I have several ornamental pieces with the flower on them. Thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories.

    1. Thank you, Linneann. I love Sweden! So delighted you enjoyed this post. Please visit again :-)

  33. What a feast for the eyes ALL of your posts are! This one is no exception -- what amazing architecture and gardens. I come back and revisit your posts. There's too much beauty to take it all in during one viewing! I hope you're having a lovely week!

  34. Hi Loi,
    Just FAB!
    Gunnebo looks wonderful, and those gardens! Oh Yes!!
    Have a lovely day,

  35. such clean, streamlined, fresh landscapes. Thank you for sharing

  36. Just catching up on all of the posts I missed during last week's trip.

    These photos are so gorgeous and make me even more determined to fit Sweden in this summer. I've been dying to go and am trying to figure out how to fit all that I want to see in to my planning! Any suggestions would be greatly already know that shopping will be involved :)

    Beautiful post Loi!!!!

  37. Sweden is a country I would love to visit, your photographs are spectacular Loi. The house at Gunnebo is out off this world. You certainly know how to induce longing with your wonderful posts.

  38. Che luoghi incantevoli e che splendide immagini!
    Grazie Loi:)
    Felice sera!
    ciao Luci@

  39. Thanks for your visit. I actually saw a post on your home and shop by Phyllis at Henhurst Interiors recently and love your style. I will definitely be back for more. Greetings from South Africa. Sharon at Roses and Rust

  40. Beautiful photos Loi! I can't believe they have wild lupins - I would love to see that. It's a country on my list of countries to visit list, hopefully one day I will get to go and see all those amazing greys in person. The grey on grey of that Gustavian house is DIVINE.


  41. Looks wonderful, Loi! I want one of those willow fences. Or a willow playhouse. All the relaxing colors look so great on the buildings, I'm rethinking my love of color.

    Happy first day of summer!

  42. Loi,

    What a feast for our eyes. How beautiful to see so much in one place. The gray barn is fantastic! Seeing all the colors I can only imagine how wonderful the scent was. Again thanks for including us and sharing your great photos which would make wonderful wall prints as well. Very spiritually it!


  43. Loi,

    These images of the Swedish countryside are so beautiful...what a trip! (trips) The gardens are gorgeous, especially love the living willow edger. (Just dashed outside to see where I might put one :) ) The gray on gray is so soothing. Your photos however, resonate with me on a personal level. My father's mom & dad were both born in Sweden. I'm told my grandmother (who I never knew) adored her West Seattle garden and flowers...planted casually, to look like they grew wild. I've done research on their journey, written and blogged about it and would love one day, to visit their homeland...thank you for taking us there. Too much information, I'm sure but this post really hits home with me. I'll bet YOUR Lupines are...white! Beautiful post.
    Thanks again,

    1. Thanks, Monica! I hope you visit Sweden soon. I know you will love the people, country, and sights just as much as I do.

  44. Bellissime fotografie, bravo! buona giornata e felice fine settimana...ciao

  45. Hi Loi,
    Your photographs are beautiful, I am living vicariously through your travels!
    I can't wait to see where you will take us next!

  46. Gorgeous! Love the gardens and the countryside...and that willow fencing is adorable! Thanks for sharing your travels and artistic photos with us :)

  47. Wow! Absolutely beautiful photos! I love the grey building but my mouth fell open at the stunning garden and parterre.

    Thank you for taking us along on your adventures! I cannot wait to see more.

    Have a wonderful weekend and happy summer,


  48. I like this blog.I’m really glad I have found this information.This post is really helpful for us. i certainly love this website, keep on it.Excellent post, I will be checking back regularly to look for updates.

  49. What a beautiful inspiring post, Loi! Thank you for sharing with us. We are so eager to travel to Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, hopefully one day soon. I am fascinated by Carl Linneaus and Gunnebo, two destinations to start researching! Did you take more photos of your journey last week? Hope you found lots of treasures! Cindy

  50. Hi Loi! Thanks for sharing with us your beautiful photographs of your trip to Sweden(lucky you!!) They are a feast to the eyes! Did you actually go inside Gunnebo? I'd love to see its interiors!

  51. The most interesting photo here is the green roof. It looks well-kept. Green roofs can improve the air quality and heat cycle in your home. This type of roofing can also work in the urban setting, where pollution is more rampant.

  52. Such a beautiful place, your pictures are fantastic :)

  53. Such a beautiful place, your pictures are fantastic :)


Many thanks for your visit and comment. If you have a question, let me know and I will respond here. Loi