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About the park

When Gustav VI Adolf and Margareta took over Sofiero after Oscar II, the garden was concentrated to the immediate area around the palace. Margareta, with her fervent interest in gardening, quickly and systematically started to create a new, much more extensive garden, including a flower walkway, beds, borders and much more. It is thanks to her and Gustav VI Adolf that the Sofiero gardens developed into the beautiful park we now enjoy so much.

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The Rhododendron Gullies

On either side of the palace there are two gullies that run in an east-west direction. The climate here is ideal for rhododendrons, with plenty of shelter and an ideal amount of shade from the canopy of trees. The soil is slightly acidic and water runs down the hillside. This is what Gustav VI Adolf realised in the 1930s when he started his rhododendron collection in earnest. He placed most of the plants in the gully to the north and, as his preference was for pure species, these are what dominate the north gully.

There are lots of rhododendrons in the south gully too, but they are not so old. These were planted mainly by the city’s parks authority after Gustav VI Adolf’s death in 1973. The work on planting is ongoing – as recently as in the spring of 2005, a new bed was planted in the north gully with unique plants from China. A few years previously, a bigger bed in the same area was planted with azaleas.

The Jubilee Garden

On 6 June 2016, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia inaugurated the park’s new Jubilee Garden, which was created for Sofiero’s 150th anniversary. This new garden was designed by landscape architect Mona Wembling. The garden, to be a permanent feature of the park, is intended for recreation as well as inspiration. Strict, clipped shapes stand in striking contrast against wilder, untamed growth, demonstrating inspiration from classic royal gardens as well as Japanese design.

The Wall Flowerbed

The glorious, wide Wall Border can be found beside the long stone wall that runs from north to south at the east side of the garden. Perennials such as gillenia trifoliate (Bowman’s root), blue-purple salvia nemorosa (woodland sage) mix with annuals such as cosmos bipinnatus (garden cosmos) and other tall flowers. Crown Princess Margareta liked perennials to be planted plentifully, in large groups, with the gaps filled with annuals, which she loved. Trellised fruit trees such as plum and pear grow along the wall.

Crown Princess Margareta’s Flower Walk

The satisfaction from something that one has been involved in creating right from the start is considerable – a feeling I hope many people can experience.

Crown Princess Margareta’s interest in gardening, together with her artistic talent and ambitious attitude, together laid the foundation for much of the gardens at Sofiero. Margareta succeeded in arousing Sofiero from its beauty sleep when she and Crown Prince Gustav Adolf received Sofiero as a wedding gift in 1905, going on to create a magnificent, vibrant garden with ponds, cultivated areas and walkways.

As a tribute to all that Margareta created during her short time at Sofiero, a reconstruction of part of her original design for the flower walkway, dated 1910, was initiated. This was inaugurated in 1993 and stands now in full bloom throughout the entire summer. Margareta appreciated most plants – as long as they were positioned properly. When the flower walkway was reconstructed it was decided to work with the part that displays the warm colour scheme – yellows and reds – with touches of blue and white. The part that has not been reconstructed had a lighter colour scheme with lots of blue and white.

The Rose Walk

There have always been roses at Sofiero but at times they have been difficult to manage as they do not seem to really thrive in the soil. To mark the turn of the millennium in 2000, a new Rose Walk was created, with completely new soil and the planting of perennials and sweet-smelling English roses. In England, David Austin bred a rose named after Crown Princess Margareta, and of course this particular rose has a prominent position in Sofiero’s Rose Walk. As with our other beds and borders, many varieties of bulbs bloom here in the spring. After that, the roses and perennials wake up and fill the walkway with a host of different scents, colours and shapes. The Rose Walk was reopened in July 2000 by Countess Sonia Bernadotte of Mainau.

Queen Silvia’s Flower Jewel

Directly inside the entrance to Sofiero there is a round flowerbed called Queen Silvia’s Flower Jewel, created for her 50th birthday in 1993. The Flower Jewel then displayed many of the queen’s favourite flowers including roses, perennials and delicate annuals. In springtime, gorgeous spring bulbs bloom in all their glory, then to be replaced with annuals for that particular year’s floral theme.

The Dahlia Area

Gustav VI Adolf was very fond of dahlias and had a classic dahlia area with about three hundred different specimens. During the mid-1990s a new dahlia area was developed, much larger and more modern than the original. Thousands of dahlias of different shapes and hues are planted here every spring, exploding with colour in the late summer. The Sofiero season always ends with Dahlia Day, when visitors can vote for that year’s most beautiful blooms.

The Kitchen Garden

In the past, the kitchen garden was the hub around which the whole garden revolved. It produced vegetables from early spring to late autumn. Sofiero’s kitchen garden now has a different focus. It is located in the old hotbed courtyard and is more for pleasure than utility, with the gardeners putting great emphasis on it being pleasing to the eye. All sorts of vegetables grow in perfect harmony with the most beautiful of flowering blooms. The produce is not harvested often, but is allowed to grow and go to seed. One year the garden may take inspiration from the Victorian era and the next year it might be presented as a royal kitchen garden dating back fifty years.

The Pleasure Garden

The pleasure garden is one of the more modern elements at Sofiero. It was laid out at the end of the 1990s and changes appearance from year to year. The basis is always the same: a classic single English yew parterre providing the framework for the floral display. The area itself is well defined with beautiful English yew hedges on the west and east, and the Winery as a border to the north. The beautiful big fruit trees form the roof for a magnificent profusion of flowers. It starts with a spring display of thousands of tulips and daffodils, later transforming into sumptuous summer floral compositions.

Queen Ingrid’s Scented Garden

In 1994 the then city gardener Ole Andersson visited the Danish Queen Ingrid at her summer residence Gråsten on southern Jutland. Her collection of scented geraniums made a great impression on Andersson, and soon the initiative was taken for a geranium collection at Sofiero. Queen Ingrid, who spent her childhood summers at Sofiero, contributed generously with cuttings that were then propagated and which today thrive happily next to the kitchen garden.

The bloom of a scented-leaved geranium is not as abundant as on an ordinary geranium, but the foliage is more impressive and it is these leaves that generate the wonderful scent. Scented-leaved geraniums originally came from India to Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, but they now originate mainly from South Africa.

The Winery

Sofiero’s beautiful winery was built in 1914 by Crown Prince Gustav Adolf and Margareta. It is characteristically very English, resting on a masonry base. It measures 15×5 metres, with a height of almost 5 metres. There is a wonderful symmetry in these measurements, apparent as soon as you step inside the hothouse. Beautiful old vines are nurtured here, planted as far back as 1914. So great was the old king’s appreciation of the vines that only he and the head gardener had access to the winery key.

The Melon House

The melon house is Sofiero’s smallest greenhouse. It is uncertain when it was built, but we know that it is old and that was built for growing melons. Around the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, the melon was considered to be one of the most exclusive things you could serve at a special dinner. During Gustaf VI Adolf’s era the melon house was used for propagating rhododendrons, from which cuttings were taken and seeds planted.

Nowadays, the greenhouse has regained its original role as a melon house. Here we grow melons as before, and August usually sees a fine crop of lovely fruit.

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CONTACT SOFIERO

Address: Sofierovägen 131
Zip code: 251 89 Helsingborg
Phone: +46 42-10 25 00
E-mail: sofiero@helsingborg.ses

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Sofiero Palace and Park - a part of Helsingborg City.