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Linnaeus’s Gardens: Hartekamp and Uppsala

Linnaeus’s Gardens: Hartekamp and Uppsala

There were two main gardens in Carl Linnaeus’s life: George Clifford’s garden in Hartekamp, Netherlands and the Uppsala University Botanical Garden in Sweden. Between 1735 and 1737, Linnaeus worked as house physician and head gardener for George Clifford (1685–1760), the director of the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) was established in 1602 by a group of merchant rivals who allied to create a single national monopoly on all Dutch trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. In addition to directing the VOC, Clifford was an avid horticulturist. He had Linnaeus supervise his hothouses—in which role Linnaeus helped cultivate Holland’s first flowering banana plant—and classify the specimens in his herbarium. At Hartekamp, Linnaeus worked on and published Hortus Cliffortianus (1738). Clifford's patronage aided the publication of his Systema naturae, Fundamenta botanica, and Genera plantarum, and it was at Hartekamp that Linnaeus’s international reputation was established.

The Uppsala University Botanical Garden was established in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630–1702) and is the oldest Swedish botanical garden. Olaf Rudbeck the Younger (1660–1740) appointed Linnaeus as botanical demonstrator at Uppsala University in 1730, choosing him over more prestigious and experienced teachers. In 1741, Linnaeus was appointed professor of medicine and also inherited responsibility for the garden, which he developed and organized to complement his student lectures and to reflect the system of plant classification by reference to reproductive parts of plants that he advocated. Linnaeus died in 1778.

By 1787, the garden had become too small for its increasing number of specimens. Linnaeus’s successor and student, Carl Peter Thunberg, convinced King Gustaf III to donate the Uppsala castle garden to the university to be used as a botanical garden. Today, Uppsala University’s Linnaeus Garden is the relocated reconstruction of the botanic garden which Linnaeus developed in the eighteenth century.

 


Blunt, Wilfrid. The Compleat Naturalist: A Life of Linnaeus. New ed. London: Frances Lincoln, 2001.

Morton, Alan G. History of Botanical Science: An Account of the Development of Botany from Ancient Times to the Present Day. London and New York: Academic Press, 1981.

Petersen, Ronald H. New World Botany: Columbus to Darwin. Ruggell [Liechtenstein]: A. R. G. Gantner Verlag, 2001.

Uppsala Universitet. “The Linnaeus Garden.” http://www.linnaeus.uu.se/historia/history.html (accessed December 3, 2013).

 
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