Agda Haglund was a landscape gardener and a writer on gardening subjects.
Agda Haglund was born in Norrköping in 1890, the daughter of Alfrid Haglund, a building contractor, and his wife Emma, née Bergström. After having completed her education at the girls’ grammar school in her home town, Agda Haglund moved to Adelsnäs to work in the gardens. In 1919, she was awarded a state scholarship of 1,200 kronor to spend two years studying landscape gardening at higher educational establishments abroad. After studies at a gardening school in Germany, she travelled to Denmark to study at Kunstakademiet and Landbohøjskolen (currently Natur- og Biovidenskaplige Fakultet at Copenhagen University). After her return to Sweden, she continued her education in Stockholm.
Agda Haglund was professionally active as a landscape gardener from about 1925, first in Norrköping and thereafter in Stockholm. Like most of the other women landscape gardeners at that time, she had her office in her home. In her well-equipped work room, apart from her desk with writing and drawing implements, was also a camera to photograph her own and others’ gardens, and a slide projector for showing pictures during lectures. She also kept the three-dimensional models she made of her assignments, since they were an integral part of her professional practice.
Of Agda Haglund’s models, very few have been preserved and can be seen today, but published articles and other documentation show considerable breadth: gardens for villas and summer cottages, hospital environments, public parks, hotels, workplaces and cemeteries. One of her greatest assignments was a new hospital park with a kitchen garden in Norrköping. She designed it at the end of the 1920s at a hospital for which Carl Westman as the architect appointed to the National Swedish Board of Health was responsible. Agda Haglund contributed texts to the most important gardening publications of the time, like Allmän svensk trädgårdstidning, Täppan and Havekunst, most often describing her own assignments. Some of these articles on public parks, villa gardens and the courtyards of blocks of flats were reworked by her into lectures and talks on the radio. She did not hesitate to discuss suggestions about new parks and gardens publicly and to suggest her own solutions. She called for certain standardisation in villa suburbs, to be achieved through regulations and more extensive planning. She argued similarly for the significance of entrusting the work to professionals, knowledgeable landscape gardeners able to draw up the guidelines for gardens and select suitable plants.
Agda Haglund made several professional trips abroad during the 1930s. Her stays in Germany resulted in articles about current exhibitions. She cooperated in the garden exhibitions at the Jubilee Exhibition in Gothenburg in 1923 and in the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930. She also participated in the competition on designing the Örebro garden society park at the beginning of the 1930s. That Agda Haglund was established and respected by her colleagues is shown by her selection as one of three official Swedish delegates at the first international landscape gardeners’ congress in Paris in 1937. She participated in the Nordic landscape gardeners’ meetings, among them the Nordic meeting Den historiske havekunst at Föreningen Norden’s property Hindsgavl in Denmark in 1949; the first of its kind after the end of the war.
She was active in several contexts, like the association Föreningen för Dendrologi och Parkvård, the association Föreningen Norrvikens trädgårdar and the art society Konsthistoriska sällskapet. Her membership of Föreningen Svenska Trädgårdsarkitekter (later Landskapsarkitekternas Riksförbund, LAR) and Stockholms Trädgårdsanläggarförening show Agda Haglund’s dual professional affiliation; she not only designed and constructed garden projects, she also worked practically on the laying out of the designs. Membership in the right association could lead to contacts with people who were active in other professions, and also meetings with presumptive clients. One proof of her position as a professional landscape gardener is that several of her works have been included in what in hindsight has been shown to be the great “state of the art” of her time: Trädgårdskonst: den moderna trädgårdens och parkens form, published in 1948 under the editorship of Gregor Paulsson.
Agda Haglund died in 1969 in Stockholm and is buried in the Matteus Cemetery in Norrköping.