Open garden all year round

On the edge of Stora Alvaret in southern Öland, Capellagården is located in the middle of the beautiful terraced village of Vickleby. Here, the visionary furniture designer Carl Malmsten and the pedagogue Siv Malmsten founded their colorful school for creative work in 1960. Today, Capellagården has become a concept, a meeting place for people interested in crafts and culture from Sweden and the world, and with its gardens and farm environments is also a very popular destination . At Capellagården you are always welcome to wander around on your own, regardless of the season. Thanks to our gardening training, there is always something new happening in the garden.

The main piece, the ornamental garden, the park

We call the large area behind the farm building the big piece. It has long been the central part of Capellagården's garden and it has been cultivated on the site for a long time. In 2017, major remodeling work began in this part of the garden. The purpose of redesigning the place is to eventually create a visitor-friendly display garden with several different garden rooms and to tell about the gardening craft and the place Capellagården through the garden.

A pearl is the big one the parade discount which runs from the nursery and on straight out into the garden. It is inspired by "the long borders" in England and will be planted during the year with perennials in a succession planting where the flowering succeeds each other. In this way, there is always something beautiful to discover for each new visit during the year. In the spring, the flowerbed is bursting with tulips – a real tulip festival!

For the most part, we have also chosen to work a lot with fruit trellises as a way to highlight and illuminate the gardening craft. We have planted cordon apple trees and planted the so-called "Alnarps espaljén". It is a trellis with older pear varieties that previously grew at Alnarp in Skåne. With grafting from the original, new trees have been produced which will now have a place in Capellagården's garden. A future feature will be a pear tunnel in the middle of the large piece that is woven together with the pear trellis.

The students' gardens

In this part of the garden, Capellagården's gardening students create an idea garden with annual plants every year. The design and plant choices are based on a theme they choose themselves. Below the orchard are additional growing plots where the gardening students experiment with crops belonging to the kitchen garden.

The rose garden

Here, behind high limestone walls and the crowns of the pear trees, Capellagården's rosarium, our collection of roses, hides. The rose is one of the cultivated plants that has been in cultivation the longest, and many of the species that are in cultivation today can often be traced back as far as the 13th century. That the rose has been around for so long is perhaps not so strange to understand. There is something spellbinding about roses, aromatic, beautiful, fragile but at the same time prickly and sharp. The impermanence in that they bloom for such a short time during the summer or the strength in that they just bloom, bloom, and bloom throughout the season. All these opposing qualities make the rose, in a way that perhaps no other plant does, represent life itself. Maybe that's why we love the rose so much.

In Capellagården's rose garden there is a great variety and different types of roses, both bed roses, bush roses and climbing roses. Rosariet is also a gene bank within the Program for Cultivated Diversity (POM), which means that old cultivars are grown at Capellagården that are considered particularly worth preserving.

The rose garden changes shape many times during the year. The stone walls create a favorable microclimate and in the spring vegetation starts quickly, the garden is then resplendent with spring bulbs, early flowering perennials and a green luxuriance that gives hope for summer. Summer is the obvious time for roses in the garden and later the more late summer blooming perennials take over. Therefore, feel welcome to visit our rose garden several times during the spring and summer. Stroll around, smell, discover and settle down on the bench under the wine for a while.

The kitchen garden

Cultivation and the proximity to food craft have long been the heart of Capellagården's garden, and it still is. Here in the kitchen garden, we grow and deliver vegetables according to season to Capellagården's kitchen.

As long as the cultivation has existed, non-toxic cultivation has been the watchword - the cultivations started with a biodynamic focus and today an organic KRAV-labelled vegetable cultivation is carried out.

One of the pillars of organic farming is crop rotation. Crop rotation means that the crops rotate in the cultivation. Here we apply a 7-year crop rotation, which means that the same crop will not grow in the same place again until 7 years from now. The advantages of a crop rotation are many, among other things so-called soil fatigue is avoided. The risk of soil-borne diseases also decreases and thus also the need for plant protection products.

The orchard

In Capellagården's orchard, organic cultivation of apples, pears, plums and cherries is carried out, in total there are about 130 trees. The school takes care of all fruit and is basically self-sufficient in fruit all year round. In addition, apple must is made for sale and during the harvest festival at the end of September, the gardening students arrange an exhibition with many of the apple and pear varieties that are found here.

For a number of years now, the orchard has also been one of 14 local clone archives within the Program for Cultivated Diversity, POM. The purpose of the clone archives is to preserve and increase the use of our cultured plants, in this case fruit trees, and thereby promote biological diversity. This means that some of the fruit trees at Capellagården are local varieties that are considered particularly worthy of protection, so-called mandated varieties. Among the mandated varieties are the apple varieties Öland's kungsäpple and Sylvia, as well as the Mahogny cherry from Näsum, to name a few.

Already when the orchard was laid out in the early 80s, the idea of biological diversity has run like a red thread through the fruit growing at Capellagården. In the garden, birds build nests which keep pests away and both wild and domesticated bees help with pollination. The wealth of herbs that Capellagården's garden generally offers makes it possible for a multitude of life to make a home here.

The spice garden
Capellagården's old herb garden flows together with the garden cafe's service. A restful place to settle down and look out over the rest of the garden.

The vegetation in this garden room consists for the most part of plants with a Mediterranean origin and many of these will be herbs. Plants that thrive in the sunny, dry and thus rather exposed location.

The land and the cultivation

The soil in Capellagården's plantations is a sandy soil. The sandy soil is characterized by its airiness and high water permeability, which makes the sandy soil a warm soil that warms up early in the spring and is easy to dig in. However, very little water and nutrients are retained in a sandy soil, which as a rule makes the sandy soil nutrient-poor and therefore not so fertile . Although the soil at Capellagården is extremely good, the fact is that it is so good that it is considered one of the most fertile soils in the world. How is it that a sandy soil is one of the most fertile agricultural soils in the world?

The secret lies in cultivating the soil instead of growing plants, to preserve a living earth. If we take care of the earth, it will in turn produce for us. In the case of sandy soil, it is about increasing the soil's ability to retain nutrients. This is best done by constantly "feeding" the soil's micro-life with organic material, such as compost or stable manure. The fungi and bacteria that live in the soil will then in turn break down the material and convert it into stable mulch. Mulch likes to clump together and form so-called aggregates where water and nutrients are bound and retained in the soil.

Therefore, we can say that the more organic material we add to the soil, the higher the activity of the soil's micro-life, and with a viable micro-life, the soil's ability to retain nutrients improves and fertility increases.

What makes this soil so unique is that the soil is so calcareous. Lime acts as a kind of glue that makes the soil aggregates particularly strong in their composition and can thus bind even more nutrients to them. So with the long tradition of cultivation with a biodynamic and ecological orientation that exists on the site, in combination with the lime-rich soil, we can begin to guess why one of the world's very best cultivation soils is found in the small village of Vickleby in southern Öland.