Far away but close to home

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We believe the best kind of gardens mirror their creators and echo the owner’s interests and passions. Like a green haven that has the power to evoke feelings in the visitor and where creativity is limitless.

While visiting family in Sweden a couple of weeks ago we had the joy and privilege to visit such a garden in the medieval town of Visby.

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 Visby in itself is a rather spectacular place with a wall encircling the old town and many beatuful old buildings still standing.

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After walking around the town we were happy to be invited to our friends, the Radhe-Eklund family for coffee and cake and a tour of their imaginative and very special green space.

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They moved into their beautiful old house in 2003 and for the first few years they concentrated mainly on indoor renovations but their passion for gardening was truly awakened in 2006 when work commenced on a greenhouse. Today the greenhouse, like the rest of the garden is a beautiful and very restful space, full of quirky objects and with a strong artistic feel.

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After marvelling at the objects and planting, we ventured out of the glass house and entered a green tunnel with an almost tropical feel where bamboos and climbers jostle for space.

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The next stop was the very productive annual vegetable patch that also includes old fruit trees and berry bushes.  Everything is grown with the environment in mind and there are two bee hives in the garden to ensure all the plants are pollinated. An insect hotel is also available without booking along with many birdhouses.

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We ventured further past a gravel garden that resemble a pebble beach and around the side of the house where lush woodland has been created. Everywhere you look there is driftwood, gnarled roots and other found objects to tickle the imagination.

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Along the side of the house many hollyhocks create a colourful backdrop to the rest of the planting.

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Brick pillars have been built for climbing roses and a lion fountain creates a soothing sound.

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As we moved further along the path we came upon a building decorated with dried fish skeletons and many old nets and accessories that reflect the family’s keen interest in fishing.

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At the front of the house a large pond has been created and the element of water is such a beautiful addition to this garden, especially as Visby is a place with low rainfall and all water is precious. There are containers and other systems in place around the garden to harvest any rain that does fall.

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Max the parrot is probably the most unusual inhabitant of the garden, but he looks right at home amongst the flowers and greenery.

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Everywhere you look something catches your eye and it is easy to while away a couple of hours admiring the plants and artfully arranged objects. Rusted metal, glass floats from fishing nets, old tins and other recycled objects have all found a new lease of life in the Radhe-Eklund garden.

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We came away refreshed, happy and inspired and we hope it will not be too long before our next visit. It is lovely to see a garden created in a climate very different from ours but full of beauty and utility.  We visited a very special space that nourished both our bodies and our souls.

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