Sweden’s northernmost mountain botanical garden is found in Jokkmokk, about 10 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Come and familiarise yourself with alpine plants normally found on mountain peaks in Sarek, or species-rich moorland in Padjelanta.

The Mountain Botanical Garden in Jokkmokk is a part of Ájtte, Swedish Mountain and Sámi Museum. During more than two decades a world of its own, a miniature mountain landscape, has emerged. It ranges from taiga forest and low-lying land to snow drifts and the little mountain peak Ingrid, where the bedrock has laboriously been uncovered by hand. Here you can climb up and look out over an entire little mountain world, with a unique diversity of species.

Respect for the plants

– One hectare pure happiness, says Ingrid Hellberg, gardener at the Mountain Botanical Garden in Jokkmokk.

– The plants are carefully gathered in the mountains with permission from the County Administrative Board. It’s important to ensure that the conditions where they arrive are the same as where they belong. The plants must be respected, says mountain gardener Hellberg.

Inspiration from the Jarre mountain

Constructing a mountain top in the lush forest near Jokkmokk has been a real challenge for the mountain garden team. But for a biodynamic gardener such as Ingrid, who got her passion for alpine plants in the rock garden section of Gothenburg’s botanical garden, it’s been worth all the effort.

– I’ve been inspired by the Jarre mountain; from there you have an amazing view of the mountains. It’s going to be a wonderful spot where you can see plants as they grow in nature, but without travelling into Sarek. Some plants have adapted quickly and others have been more difficult. Pincushion plant, Diapensia lapponica, has been a challenge. The discerning evergreen subshrub only grows on barren, windswept peaks.

Beneficial peace

The rushing water of the stream Kvarnbäcken roars and foams and pied flycatchers, bullfinches and woodpeckers join in the symphony as a copper butterfly flutters by. The sun’s rays are refracted in the wings of a damselfly as it rests for a brief moment on a rock by the stream. Despite the hustle and bustle, it’s the stillness that captures visitors. This is a place for tranquillity and peace of mind, an undemanding place.

– You can be yourself here, it’s a place to catch your breath, says Ingrid.

Learn more
The Mountain Botanical Garden is located a few hundred metres from the Ájtte Museum. For opening hours and to learn more, visit ajtte.com.

Wild herbs and medicinal plants

The small garden café tempts with locally-made cinnamon buns and a slide show featuring photographs taken by legendary ranger Edvin Nilsson. Most people settle down in the garden, take their time. During the summer months when the garden is open to visitors, and during July when it’s also open on the weekends, the views constantly change. Following a plant from budding flower to falling petals is a project in itself. Every afternoon the theme is mountain plants and wild utility plants.

Ingrid has noticed an increased interest in wild herbs and medicinal plants. Every year all books on the subject are sold out.
Her own favourite is the nettle variety Urtica dioica L. ssp.sondenii, with stinging hairs that are less painful than those of the common nettle. She uses it often, in soups, smoothies and tea, or dried in bread. Roseroot, Rhodiola rosea, is another medicinal plant that fascinates.
– It thrives up in the mountains, near streams. Use it to make a tincture if you’re tired and in need some extra energy, Ingrid tells us.

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