Inger Wedborn was one of Sweden’s leading landscape gardeners from the 1940s until her death in 1969.
Inger Wedborn was born in Stockholm in 1911. She was the daughter of Victor Jacobsson, a secondary-school teacher, and his wife Clara Carlesson. She began her landscape gardening training in 1929 at the Önnestads kvinnliga trädgårdskola (women’s school for gardeners). Like several other women in that profession – such as Ruth Brandberg and Sylvia Gibson – she also studied at the Horticultural College for Women in Swanley, Kent. She returned to Sweden in 1933 and the next year she began working with Sven A. Hermelin, a landscape gardener. However, in 1935 she went abroad again to continue her training at the Institut für Gartengestaltung der Landwirtschaftlichen Hochschule in Berlin-Dahlem, from 1935–1936, under the guidance of Professor Heinrich Friedrich Wiepking-Jürgensmann. In order to enter this level of academic training six years of prior attendance at an advanced school was required, as well as at least four years of experience. Inger Wedborn was able to meet these requirements with eight years’ attendance at a girls’ school, her studies in England, as well as through her previous employment with Sven A. Hermelin. The first two terms of her Berlin schooling were focused on the fundamentals of the trade which was then followed by specialising in the art of gardening and rounded off with an exam to obtain a national qualification.
Once Inger Wedborn had gained her qualifications she worked for a time at Alvin Seifert’s landscape gardening office in Munich where her work involved landscaping plans for the Reichsautobahn. This was an exceedingly large-scale job which entailed vegetation management along the German motorways as they were being constructed. Just like Ester Claesson Inger Wedborn was probably influenced by the ideas of Paul Schultze-Namburg, as well as Alvin Seifert.
Upon her return to Sweden Ingrid Wedborn once again worked as an assistant to Sven A. Hermelin. They became business partners and ran a joint firm, Hermelin och Wedborn Trädgårdsarkitekter FST. Inger Wedborn’s extensive training in both England and Germany, coupled with her practical experience, meant she had the knowledge required to run a sizable office with many simultaneous commissions. Several staff and interns were employed at the office whilst its leading position also allowed it to function as a nursery for young up-and-coming landscape gardeners who then eventually went on to run their own agencies. As head of office Inger Wedborn was responsible for delegating the work amongst the staff. She was also in charge of drawing up the overarching plans as well as making the detailed plans for various different gardening commissions.
Some of her office’s most prominent commissions were: (in collaboration with Henning Throne-Holst at Marabou) the Marabou park in Sundbyberg, which still survives in good condition; Lötsjön in Sundbyberg; Lidingö cemetery; the factory and residential area for the Findus canning factory in Bjuv; the Cepheus quarter of Gamla Stan (the old town); the gardens for the terraced housing on Finbagarvägen in Sköndal; the layout at the Ifö-works grounds in Bromölla; Studentstaden in Uppsala in 1951; as well as refurbishing and renovating older gardens, such as Hässelby castle in Stockholm.
Inger Wedborn’s experience of largescale landscape projects whilst working on the German motorways was reflected in several of her articles, such as “Vägen och landskapet”, published in Svenska Dagbladet on 24 May 1936, and “Tysk väg- och landskapsvård”, written for Lustgården, published 1937–1938. Her articles also deal with subjects such as conservation and landscape preservation, such as in “Judarnområdet – ett stockholmarnas naturreservat”, published in Lustgården, in 1941, as well as ancient gardens, her own projects and reviews. Inger Wedborn believed it was vital that architects and landscape gardeners worked together in order that gardens and surrounding buildings complemented each other. This is apparent in her written pieces such as “Arkitektur och landskap” and “Byggnaden och dess omgivning – en enhet” in Havekunst, published in 1941. Her extensive knowledge also served her well in the Hermods course which she, Sven A. Hermelin, and their mutual colleague Åke Steen jointly created in 1944.
Inger Wedborn had already shown an interest in the professional side of landscape gardening during her student years, partly by attending Nordic landscape gardening conferences. Her career activism within the profession is also revealed in her memberships of organisations such as the Föreningen Svenska trädgårdsarkitekter (Swedish landscape gardeners’ association) and the International Federation of Landscape Architects, as well as her involvement in civic matters by joining Lidingö church council, Lidingö natur- och kulturskyddskommitté (nature- and heritage committee), and the Lidingö branch of Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundet (association).
Inger Wedborn died in Lidingö in 1969.