The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Upsala Botanic Garden

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439. The botanic garden of Upsal was founded in 1657, under the auspices of King Charles Gustavus, and by the attention of Olaus Rudbeck. This learned man, seconded by the credit of the Count of Gardie, chancellor of the academy of Upsal, and who had himself a fine botanic garden at Jacobsdahl, obtained funds necessary for the construction of a garden and greenhouse, and to collect foreign plants; and he augmented its riches by the gift he made of his own garden in 1662. The progress of this establishment may be seen by comparing the three catalogues given by Rudbeck in 1658, 1666, 1685. The latter enumerates 1870 plants, among which are 630 distinct species of exotics. (Bibl. Banksiana.) In 1702, the fire which consumed the half of the city of Upsal reduced the greenhouse to ashes, and the garden was in a deplorable condition till 1740, when its walls were rebuilt. Two years afterwards the botanical chair and the direction of the garden were given to Linnï¾µus; and the university, undoubtedly induced by that reformer of natural history, took charge of all the necessary expenses for the acquisition and preservation of plants. Linnï¾µus, feeling how essential it was to be assisted in all the details of culture, obtained Diedrich Nutzel, a clever gardener, who had visited attentively the gardens of Germany, Holland, and England, and who had then the charge of that of Cliffort, in Holland. He there constructed new greenhouses, intended for plants of different climates; and he solicited successfully the principal botanic gardens of Europe for specimens. Soon afterwards, several of his pupils, to whom he had imparted a portion of his own enthusiasm for botany, went across the seas to collect seeds and specimens; and many tropical plants, first grown at Upsal, were sent thence to the southern countries of Europe. The description and plan of the garden of Upsal may be seen in the Am£nitates Academicï¾µ. (Dissert. vii. t. i. p. 172.) Linnï¾µus, in 1748 and 1753, published the catalogue of the plants cultivated there, and since his time others have appeared, containing the additions which have been made by his successors. In 1804, the large orangery built by Linnï¾µus was found to be considerably out of repair, and was taken down and rebuilt. A magnificent lecture-room and museum were at the same time added. The ceilings of these rooms are supported by columns, which, being hollow, are used as flues, and thus afford an elegant and effectual means of heating the air. On the whole, the garden is respectably kept up; and many hardy plants, natives of North America in particular, are found here in greater luxuriance than in France or Germany. This old garden was still in existence in 1839, and many of the trees planted in it by Linnaï¾µus are now of luxuriant growth. The building it surrounds, which is now the house of the East Gothland Students' Society, was erected, in 1740, for the pursuits of Linnï¾µus; and here he and Thunberg prosecuted their botanical studies.