Speaking of trees, I failed to mention about Visby something important—I discovered there was a botanical garden a mile from my hotel and since I am always happy in such places I walked there a time or two each day. It’s only about 5 acres and is essentially a park with specially chosen and cared for plants and an abundance of old trees of various species. But like all these it had an atmosphere that drew me in, a mélange of solemnity, wonder, gratitude for the existence of such life and beauty, and wistfulness for the lack of more such places. They also induce in me a meditative quietude that I appreciate and am happy to indulge.
After my first visit I read something that shocked me–in this garden there lives a Sequoia, which was planted in 1961 and is now about 50-60’ high. I was almost unbelieving and found it an interesting coincidence that I sat beneath it the first time I chose to just be present with all that was growing there, to silently admire the trees and other plants and feel the spirit of the place. Each time I came back to the garden, I sat beneath that tree. The informational plaque beside it was in Swedish and it took a while to find someone who could translate it for me, but it said nothing about how and why the Sequoia seed was brought to Visby, and that was my main interest. I’ll try to email and learn more. I found a sibling to Yosemite Valley in a Norwegian fjord and now a tree from the Sierra; so many connections. There was also a Dawn Redwood, a species I’d not heard of but that turns out to be one of the three species of which the Sequoia and Coast Redwoods in California are the other two making up the genus. The Dawn variety is native to China, a curiosity to say the least, and approached extinction but is now being planted in many places such as this botanical garden. It did not look like the Coast Redwood and I suspect wasn’t altogether healthy. The Sequoia, on the other hand, was flourishing.
Photos by Author – Craig Brestrup