Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mårbacka - Selma Lagerlöfs home

In the county of Värmland you find Mårbacka, the home of the famous Nobel Price laureate Selma Lagerlöf. As we drove from Lake Stor Treen back to Oslo, we were determined to get a glance of this important cultural site. Sadly, the house was closed but we walked around in the impressive garden she commissioned.

Selma was born here in 1858, in a house that had belonged to her family since 1801. The original building had been built in 1793. As her father, lieutenant Erik Gustaf Lagerlöf, died in 1885 the family had to leave the manor house.

Her literary career started in 1890 with the novel Gösta Berlings Saga. Through 45 years she wrote 20 books, the last published after her death during the Second World War.

In 1909 she was awarded the Nobel Price in literature and with the money from the price she bought her beloved Mårbacka back, and here she lived until her death in 1940.

She redesigned the old main building 1921-1923 with the help of the architect Isac Gustaf Clasons.

Selma Lagerlöf loved her garden. She and her horticulturist Ruth Brandberg created a beautiful garden with bushes, shrubs, fruit trees, vegetable and flowers.

Gårdsflygeln (The Wing built 1909-1910)

Gårdsflygeln or Flygeln was built when Selma Lagerlöf took over in 1909.

From 1920 a cereal called Mårbacka Havrekraft, or Skredmel, was packed here, a flour made from barley said to be inexpensive, nourishing, healthy and strengthening, highly recommended by doktor Per Clarholm at the hospital in Karlstad, the capital of the county.

Mårbacka Havrekraft was a great success and sold in Stockholm, and was even exported to the United States.

The garden (1909-)

Most of the garden was created early in the 20th century. There are, however, remains of an old English garden called Toddylunden, commissioned by Selma Lagerlöfs father and designed by an eccentric local gardener.

In 1909 Selma Lagerlöf wrote a letter to the newly graduated horticulturalist Ruth Brandberg, asking her to assist her in establishing a horticultural nursery at Mårbacka.

Ruth Brandberg moved to Mårbacka and created a garden after Selma Lagerlöfs design. The two of them did not succeed to create a nursery at Mårbacka, but they managed to create a garden, that could offer pears and apples from the orchard on the market at Sunne, the nearest village and from a shop on the property.

The garden was restored in 1996-1997 by landscape architect Anna Tandre.

See the official website of Mårbacka here

Here you have a little film to give you an impression of Mårbacka and surroundings.

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