Skrúður

Skrúður is Iceland’s oldest botanical garden. It was established in 1909, and there are still people dedicated to keeping it going today.

Manicured paths inside the garden

Manicured paths inside the garden

Tending a garden in Iceland is really a labour of love. It’s not the most hospitable environment for growing things. Have a look at where Skrúður is situated – it’s within the small patch of dark green trees planted amongst vast open space and mountains.

An isolated patch of growth

From further away

From further away

Even further away - now tiny in the greater landscape

Even further away – now tiny in the greater landscape

As you can see from the above photos, part of what is interesting about this garden is the difference between it and the rest of the surroundings, and how unnatural it actually is in this setting.

The main reason I wanted to visit here is because of the whale-jawbone arch that marks the entrance.

Looking out from inside

Looking out from inside

The original arch was taken down a few years ago due to weathering and is now in the Natural History Museum at BolungarvÍk, which we also visited. It didn’t look quite as impressive just lying down in the Museum. The current arch has been in place since 2009 and is from a fin whale.

When you’re in the garden, it’s impressive to see the wide variety of plants cultivated this far north in a relatively small space.

Looking at the guestbook it doesn’t seem there are that many visitors. We arrived just as two buses of cruise ship tourists were leaving, but this is not usually the case given the number of signatures in the guestbook. I think if you visit here you will usually be pretty much on your own.

Finally, some shots from the inside looking out.

I think this reads: “Man sows and plants. God gives fruit.”

Even if you don’t like gardens this place is worth visiting. It’s a real testament to how man can tame nature even this far north! I was impressed that people are willing to put so much effort into this garden.

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14 thoughts on “Skrúður

  1. What a great and special place. We missed it, better said we didn’t knew it exists. 😉 I like how you zoomed out the garden in your photos. So one can get a good impression about the proportions. Have a really happy day!

  2. I am glad I found your blog. I have never visited Iceland but just reading about the country had made me fall in love with the country since I was a little kid. We are now planning to visit it next year (2014)

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