Swedenborg as Gardener

swedenborggarden.jpgThe property owned by Swedenborg in Stockholm, which contained his summerhouse, also had extensive gardens, and written sources indicate that he was actively involved in the selection of plants and trees. An almanac for the year 1752 has Swedenborg’s notes in the margins. One side of the almanac records the sending of Arcana Coelestia pages to the printer, but the reverse side reveals his love of gardening, with entries listing plants and their locations on his property. A notation at the end even lists seeds that he has acquired from plants in America, including buttonwood, beech, and dogwood. 

In 1745, “a desire for a quiet retreat and comfortable establishment led [Swedenborg] to invest in the property on Hornsgatan, to the south of Stockholm, situated upon a high cliff overlooking Lake Mälar, on the one hand, and the Salt Sea on the other, with the Royal Castle and gardens in front. There was a fence or house wall all around it, and probably only two buildings there to begin with—his own dwelling and a house for the gardener” (Odhner, Cyriel Ljungberg. “Swedenborg’s Hobby.” New Church Life 1923, p. 66).

About two-thirds of the property “were for the orchard, lawns and vegetable gardens, while the eastern third contained his own house, greenhouses and barn, the stables, and the gardener’s cottage. In the summer-time, he moved into the orchard section, and wrote in the so-called ‘summer house,’ connected by a passage with a library room” (Odhner, Cyriel Ljungberg. “Swedenborg’s Hobby.” New Church Life 1923, p. 66).

For more information on Swedenborg’s gardens, and the layout of his property in Stockholm, see the following articles:

Swedenborg’s Property

Swedenborg’s Hobby

An 1896 Swedenborg Medal Commemorates the Moving of His “Summerhouse”

November 18, 2006 | Posted by: Kirsten Gyllenhaal in New Church History Fun Fact