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Copenhagen bot.g.

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Sweden report, part 5: Sun, June 5, 2005.

Yes, I know that Copenhagen is in Denmark. This was, however, just a short detour in my Sweden tour.

The drive over the bridge and through the tunnel from Malmö to Copenhagen was nice (no winds), and at 110 km/h, it was a fairly fast drive, too. Finding my way to the city proper was a nightmare: there are no road signs.

I managed, in the end. I expect that Copenhageners swear over all the tourists who slow down traffic; they get no sympathy from me, as the problem would be easy to fix just by them adding proper signs to major roads.

The botanical garden in Copenhagen is nice, but small. They say they have 13000 species, but that must include both their greenhouses and their closed collections.

The Danish plant collection was nice. The annual plant collection was completely bare, nothing there yet. The order beds on the far side of the garden sported a collection of useful plants, which was very nice.

I've seen small botanical gardens in other large cities, but this was the first one with "don't walk on the lawn" signs all over the place. A hint to the garden planners: you should add paths to the tree islands on those lawns. See, if you have five different horse chestnuts all gorgeous in full flower, and add "don't walk here" signs to the lawns (and don't supply paths), you shouldn't be all that surprised when people ignore your silly signs.

The greenhouses, now: they had vanilla in flower and fruit. This is the first time I'd seen vanilla in flower, and very pretty it is, too. Of course I knew that it's an orchid, but I didn't know that the flowers were both large (about 5 cm (2") wide) and pretty. The plant itself was enormous, ranging all over the orchid greenhouse; it's a climber, or, well, a hanger-down. The gardener in charge told me that they pollinate by hand in order to get fruit. Commercial vanilla is made from the dried cured fruits. The green seedpods are 2-3 cm in diameter, and I have no idea how they end up with the 5 mm thick vanilla beans.

The large greenhouse closed before I had the time to look at all of it. I had planned two days for this particular garden, but alas, the city is a nightmare if you're driving, so I only stayed the one night.