The museum garden
The museum’s garden is like an extension of the studio. Carl Eldh liked to work outdoors. Brita Eldh (1907-2000), Eldh’s daughter and the museum’s first director, placed several sculptures in the garden, which was also completed with more plants during this time. Bushes and trees are planted side by side with bulbs and perennial plants. You can visit the garden during the museum’s opening hours and in connection with pre-booked tours.
The garden was a space for work and rest for Carl Eldh, even though he did not engage in gardening himself. There are a number of old photos where Eldh can be seen in the garden working on a sculpture, spending time with his family, friends or models. The garden is surrounded by a fence, making it a private space, and protecting sculptures temporarily placed outside.
Located on a steep, sloping hill, this plot did not have ideal gardening conditions. When the studio was built the hill was covered with soil as a backfill, but there is still a considerable amount of rock in the garden to this day. However, these barren conditions offered some opportunities as well. Examples include a small pond in a crevice and some discrete steps carved in rock.
The yellow daylilies are believed to be one of the earliest flowers planted in the garden by Elise Eldh (1881-1958) in the 1920s. From the late 1920s and up until the mid-1950s, the garden had a more natural character (naturtomt?). After that, the garden was organized by Brita Eldh who lived and worked in the house.
Landscape architect Karolina Strehlenert wrote her thesis about the museum garden in 1993, presenting a history of the garden and inventory of the plants. She divided the garden into sections and these designations are still used to this day. An example of such designation is “Oak crown room” (Ekkronans rum) at the garden entrance, where a mighty oak spreads its branches. For Carl Eldh, the oak represented both his home and his hometown; when Eldh was traveling he was often expressing his longing for “The Oak”, referring to his studio in Stockholm and the tree in his garden. Here, in the museum garden, one gets to know several of Eldh’s sculptures, like the Sitting girl amongst lilac bushes.
Brita Eldh’s interest in Japanese garden art was expressed through shaped spruce and bird cherry trees. Elm and maple were pruned in unconventional ways to create a sense of space. During the spring, bulbs such as daffodils and narcissus bloom in large quantities. Summer begins with flowering lilacs, rhododendrons and philadelphus. The garden is most beautiful in spring and early summer.
It was restored in 2017 with antiquarian and financial support from the County administrative board. The garden and museum building have been listed since 2010, hence the restoration that gave the opportunity to solve problems that had occurred during the years. A new addition was made as well – pallet collars with compost became a space for pedagogical activities for children in a part of the garden that was not in use prior.
Today, the garden is a space for museum visitors to sit and enjoy the calm atmosphere. Here, one can forget about all the city noises, in spite of the fact that several busy roads are located just below. The museum is situated in Bellevue park, which has been a part of Royal National City Park since 1995.