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Linné on line arrow The Life of Linnaeus arrow Linnaeus the child arrow An interest in nature awakens

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.

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.