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Solander Garden at Swedish Embassy, Canberra, Australia


Urban Ahlin, Edward Duyker and Pär Ahlberger in the Solander Garden


All photographs are by Katarina Prime Linmarker, Embassy of Sweden, Canberra, Australia


A Solander Garden was opened in Canberra at the Swedish Embassy on 7 September, 2017.  It all started in 2015 after the re-inauguration of the Solander monument at Botany Bay.1  The National Property Board of Sweden had just finished the restoration of the embassy building in Canberra.  The ambassador, Pär Ahlberger, then suggested laying out a garden in memory of Daniel Solander within the embassy ground.


The Australian National Botanic Gardens was consulted so the plants in the garden reflect some of the plant genera and species described and named by Solander from his time in Australia.  It will remain an ongoing project as identified species are developed for the Canberra climate, and further information is added about Solander’s work. 


Edward Duyker, Urban Ahlin, and Pär Ahlberger with the information board


The garden was officially opened by the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Mr Urban Ahlin.  Dr Edward Duyker, biographer of Solander,2 addressed the gathering about the man in whose honour the garden was laid.3 


The comprehensive information board


The image of Solander on the board is the one the Solander Society uses as logotype and it’s created by an local artist here in Öjebyn.


My thanks to the following people for providing me with information about the garden: Pär Ahlberger, Ambassador of Sweden to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Region; Katarina Prime Linmarker, Cultural Affairs and Commun­ication Officer; and Ivar Gustafsson, Solander­föreningen.

Ian Boreham


1.Cook’s Log, page 43, vol. 39, no. 3 (2016). 

2.Duyker, Edward.  Nature’s Argonaut: Daniel Solander 1733–1782.  Miegunyah Press.  1998.  Reviewed in Cook’s Log, page 1502, vol. 21, no. 2 (1998). 

3.Endeavour Lines, no. 69, October 2017.  Page 7.

Plants in the Solander Garden

Correa reflexa. 
Australia.  12 March, 1986.  80c.
Actinotus helianthi. 
Australia.  8 April, 1959.  2s.


Amongst the plants that have already been placed in the Solander Garden, Canberra, are the follow­ing.


Correa alba.  Collected by Solander at Botany Bay.  Originally named Jambolifera alba.  Sydney Parkinson drew it, noting “The flowers white the stamina before blown Fawn colour after yellow”.  This shrub grows to about 1.5m tall.


Correa reflexa.  Collected also at Botany Bay.  Originally named Jambolifera revoluta. 


Epacris longiflora.  Collected at Botany Bay.  Originally named Ericastrum pulcherrimum, mean­ing “the most beautiful heather”.


Melaleuca viminalis.  Collected by Solander at Endeavour River.  Named by him Metrosideros viminalis.  At one time was known as Callistemon viminalis.  It is a weeping bottlebrush.  Grows up to 15m tall. 


Dianella caerulea.  The blue flax-lily collected at Endeavour River.  Originally named Anthericum caeruleum.  Parkinson painted it, noting “flowers & buds pale blue wt a cast of purple the very young buds more purple”.  It can grow to 1m tall.

Actinotus helianthi.  This flannel flower was collected at Botany Bay.  Originally named Involucrata candida.  Parkinson wrote “the radius white the tips a little green the disc pale green somewhat grey”.  This flower is particularly abun­dant after a bushfire.


Pandorea pandorana.  Collected at both Botany Bay and Thirsty Sound.  Originally named Bignonia floribunda.  Described by Parkinson as “flower white the inside stript wt purple.  the leaves grass green”.  The wonga-wonga vine grows rampantly on larger trees. 


The above descriptions are taken from

Catalogue of the Natural History Drawings Commissioned by Joseph Banks on the Endeavour Voyage 1768-1771 held in the British Museum (Natural History).  Part 1: Botany: Australia.  Edited by Judith Diment, Christopher J. Humphries, Linda Newington and Elaine Shaughnessy.  British Museum (Natural History).  1984. 

Joseph Banks’ Florilegium: Botanical Treasures from Cook’s First Voyage.  Edited by Mel Gooding, David Mabberley and Joe Studholme.  Thames and Hudson Ltd.  2017.  See page 21 in this issue.


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 4, volume 41, number 1 (2018).

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