Post-tour to “A Fairytale of Roses” – By Sheenagh Harris

Text and photographs, Sheenagh Harris

After a very hectic and most enjoyable convention in Copenhagen, 9 of the 22 South African delegates, joined the post- convention tour of about 70 people to Sweden.  The Heritage Rose Society members were Monika van Heerden and her husband Colin, Claire Meyer and her husband William and Sheenagh Harris. Henny Johansson, President of the Swedish Rose Society gave us a great welcome and travelled with us for the 4 days of this well organised and most pleasurable finale to our time in Scandinavia.

From Denmark to Sweden the route took us over the Øresund Bridge which is nearly 8 Km long and includes a tunnel under the water to Skåne and on to the Rose Garden and open-air museum of Fredriksdal in Helsingborg. Lars-Ake Gustavsson, well known in the rose world, was our guide among the collection of 280-300 genotypes of the most valuable old Swedish garden roses, two of which are depicted below…sorry no names!  The formal garden with old roses tumbling over arches was particularly beautiful.

After tea and coffee with delicious eats made by the Rose Society members, we boarded our comfortable bus to Gothenburg Rosarium on the West Coast of Sweden.

After a night in a comfortable hotel and a delicious dinner we were ready and eager for the 2 private gardens to be visited on Day Two.  The first garden overlooks the sea at Dramsvik, near Ljungskile.  Our generous host from the Swedish Rose Society had the tea table groaning with homemade eats including Eggoost which could have been mistaken for pudding. It is a traditional dish served in this part of Sweden.

Over another long bridge to the island of Orust for the next private garden at Lunna.  It was hot with unusually high temperatures and our host had glasses of cold elderberry cordial to quench our thirst. We were given a picnic lunch that we enjoyed with rose friends in this pretty garden.    

The afternoon was spent at the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens which were planned by the local municipality and opened in 1923.   I did’t find any roses but enjoyed the many orchids and disas in the glass  house, including plants found in South Africa.  We had a special dinner lasting 2 hours at the Gothenburg Opera Restaurant that night.

Each day in Sweden we traveled through agricultural countryside with atractive farm houses, mostly wooden, painted in pastel colours and as we hopped from island to island there was often a view of the sea.  Many fields were brown due to the lack of rain and high temperatures. Our first stop on day 3 was an 18th Century estate – Gunnabo House with a formal garden surrounding the mansion and a productive and interesting vegetable garden.