The first to alter the gardens was the physician Olof Rudbeck in the early 1600's. He followed the norm of the time in finding out the medicinal uses of plants. He was also a botanist, and found unusual plants to be an exciting challenge so he began collecting things and bringing them to this site for further study.
Carl Linne certainly didn't know Olaf personally, but he studied at this same university where Olaf was such a commanding influence. There is no doubt that Carl just adored plants! He spent his entire life in the study,research,and collections of plant material that he brought back to this very garden. In 1735 he had collected thousands and thousands of living plants and also published his scheme for their cataloging. We still use this method today thanks to Carl's passion!
I've read a translation of Carl's daily journals that he kept and find the most interesting one to be his drawings and descriptions of the Sami people who still live above the arctic circle and herd reindeer. Other than the very short duration of the Roman's up there...life was too tough for them to stay long....Carl's descriptions are an interesting but also racist view into the past. He was a man of his times, but his written words were the catalist for the (almost) destruction of the Sami culture. Talk about the power of words! When he brought these words back to Uppsala, it began a chain of events to convert the northern heathens to Christianity and forced assimilation of the tribes.
It's a good thing he contributed so much in the world of botany, because we could easily look at him as the villan of our story!
Carl lived for awhile in this beautiful sunny villa that is now the main building for the botanical garden. He also had a summer residence within driving distance to Uppsala, where he had more gardens and taught during the summer months.( it's open April-September) Many of the very same plants that Carl collected are still here, which is amazing to note as you wander the paths. We were here on a sunny winter day, so I will be very jealous for those of you who go here during the peak of summer to enjoy all the colors and beauty!
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Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
June 23, 2002
Anything to do with botany in Uppsala is connected in some way with its most famous resident, Carl Linnaeus, who was born in Uppsala in 1707. He is sometimes called the father of Botany, perhaps foolishly as there were already botanists long before him. And Olof Celsius, who he met at the University of Uppsala while studying medecine, had a significant effect upon his choice of career. However, there can be no doubt of his importance as the first to establish the modern system of plant classification.
The gardens now have something in the order of 13,000 species and sub-species of plants from all over the world, and there is always something flowering. The vast outside part is free and the glass houses are a real bargain at 20 Swedish kroners.
The café is delightful and not prohibitively expensive.
From journal Delightful Uppsala
March 25, 2001
From journal Viking graveyards