An interest in nature awakens

Nils used to hang flowers from his garden over his son's cradle and it is said that if Carl was unhappy, you only had to give him a flower to make him smile again. Throughout his childhood Carl learnt a great deal about nature from his father who took particular care to teach his son the names of the plants. When Carl was five he was given a small plot of his own in his father's garden.

Rare plants at Möckelsnäs

At the beginning of the eighteenth century
only elegant country houses in Sweden
had gardens for pleasure.Linnaeus’
father was an unusual man with a
lovely flower garden at his vicarage.

When Carl Linnaeus was five, his parents took him to Möckelsnäs, a country house on the lake Möckeln, near Stenbrohult. There he had a new experience – sugar! The gentry drank coffee and took sugar with this exotic drink. In addition, there was a strange plant at Möckelsnäs: a potato! Carl and Nils were not impressed, they also had potatoes in their well-stocked garden.

Many believe that Jonas Alströmer introduced the potato into Sweden. This is wrong. Alströmer first grew his potatoes in Alingsås in 1724 whereas Professor Olof Rudbeck Sr already grew potatoes in 1658 in the Hortus Botanicus at Uppsala University, now called the Linnaeus’ Garden.

What Linnaeus said about his native place

The scent of a beautiful flower makes new life. 

from Diaeta Naturalis 173

As you sit there in the summer and listen to the cuckoo and the song of all the other birds, the creaking and buzzing of the insects, when you regard the shining, brightly coloured flowers, you are completely stunned by the Creator's incredible ingenuity.

Linnaean fun facts
When Linnaeus was four years old, his paternal grandmother told him that the plants growing atop tall mountains have the strongest healing powers. The same night little Carl was missing! He had wandered off to a hill nearby to look for healing plants. He stayed away another day and night and hiw parents thought that they had lost their son, before he was at last found.
from the book Carl von Linné, by Ingrid Wallerström 1974.
Last modified: 2021-11-08