The Uppsala University Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Sweden. It was founded in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck the elder, professor of medicine. The garden was then situated in the centre of Uppsala, close to the river Fyrisån (the picture). The garden was used for teaching students botany and pharmacy. By the end of the century, more than 1 800 species were grown in the garden, many of them for the first time in Sweden. Olof Rudbecks´ botanical garden was largely destroyed by a fire in 1702. The university could not afford to restore it, and it was left unattended for a period of 40 years.
In 1741, Carl Linnaeus became professor of medicine at Uppsala University and responsible for the neglected garden. Under his supervision, it turned into one of the foremost gardens of its time. Through contacts with fellow scientists all over the world, Linnaeus was able to gather thousands of foreign plants in cultivation. They were grown in parterres either based on ecology or following the classes of the sexual system. This botanical garden has been reconstructed according to Linnaeus´ original plan from 1745. It is now called the Linnaeus´ Garden.
The location close to the river Fyrisån was unsuitable for gardening as the grounds were very swampy. Furthermore, by the end of the 18th century the expanding garden needed more space. In 1787, Carl Peter Thunberg, Linnaeus´ disciple and successor, persuaded King Gustaf III to donate the Uppsala castle garden to the university, so that it could be turned into a new botanical garden. The castle garden was a baroque garden designed in 1750 by the architect Carl Hårlemann. The king also donated a large sum of money, for which the orangery building Linneanum was erected. All the plant material was moved from the old garden, which then fell into a stage of neglect.
Today, after being enlarged several times, the Botanical Garden extends over 34 acres. Some 11 000 species and cultivars from all over the world are under cultivation. The garden is divided into many different sections: economic plants, rock and arid gardens, stone troughs, peat beds, annual beds and areas for research and education. The cool orangery has been supplemented by a Tropical Greenhouse with about 4 000 species from the warmer climatic zones.
The Baroque Garden has been restored according to the plan from the 1750s. Linneanum still houses an orangery, the oldest plants grown there are Linnaeus´ laurels, four 250 year old trees.
The main tasks for the Botanical Garden is to provide plant material and horticultural support for research and education within Uppsala University and to promote public awareness on all issues concerning biological diversity. Each year, more than one thousand students are tutored in botany, pharmacology, horticulture or ecology. The garden regularly arranges guided tours, exhibitions and events open to the public.