Flor & Fjære outside Stavanger
A break from reality - July 2008

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The boat to Flor & FjæreShort summary

This is a short ”trip report” from a visit to Flor & Fjære outside Stavanger. Flor & Fjære is a small garden located on the island of Sør-Hidle outside Stavanger. On the island you get a tour of the garden with useful info on how to keep your lawn perfect, how to maintain your apple trees etc. After the tour you get a dinner at the restaurant on the island and you get a chance to walk around the garden. I have been to Flor & Fjære several times over the years so this report will be a summary of all the visits :-)


The Norwegian flag in the wind as we leave StavangerThe name Flor og Fjære is a wordplay between Flor to indicate the flora on the island and Fjære (which means the breaking point between ocean and land in Norwegian) to indicated the maritime environment on the island. The creation of Flor & Fjære came about when Åsmund Bryn from Stavanger bought the land a while back as a recreational area for the family. After many years he became sick and he used the place to relax frThe Flor & Fjære logo in flowersom the stress of the city but I guess he was one of those people that can’t sit still :-) So as he was a gardener he planted trees and created a garden and they started using the place to bring out business associates and in 1995 they started opening the place to the public. As a reader you are probably wondering “why should I pay money to see a garden on an island in Norway?”. Well, to fully appreciate the garden one has to keep in mind that Stavanger is located at about 59 degrees north which is equivalent to Alaska. And the small islands around here on the west coast of Norway are often windswept islands where only short bushes can survive.


The Garden of Eden? The Flor & Fjære gardenThe first time I came to Flor & Fjære was back in 1996 if I’m not mistaken. Back then everything was pretty basic. Sure, the garden was there but the whole package was not as commercial as it is today and the food was pretty basic. Over the years I have been there 4-5 times and I have seen the place expand and it is still growing. The last time I went there was in the end of July 2008.Together with my family I went out there on a perfect afternoon as the sun was shining from a blue sky. After a couple of drinks at “the place to be when the sun is out in Stavanger” Hansenhjørna, we got on the Flor & Fjære boat at the Skagen side of the Stavanger harbour at 5 PM. The boat trip to Sør-Hidle takes less then 20 minutes but on the way out of Stavanger you get a chance to see places like the oil museum from the sea side :-)


One of many flowers at Flor & FjæreWhen you arrive at the island you should be able to see the contrasts. As you reach the island of Sør-Hidle you can tell there is not much vegetation there to start with when you pull up to the quay at Flor & Fjære it looks like you have reached a place located on a more southern latitude. The first thing you notice is the huge company logo made out of flowers and palm trees. Earlier on they used the slogan “a break from reality” and that is what it feels like to come here. They even have lemon trees on the islandWe were met by Olav and Siri who runs the place and were led to the wonderful garden where we got a tour of the place. The key to getting things to grow on the island are the trees that were planted here by Åsmund many years ago. Not many of the several thousand trees survived the harsh environment but the ones that did now acts as a shield to the wind and keeps the temperature is the garden higher than in e.g. Stavanger. And due to the proximity to the ocean it seldom gets very cold (or very warm) there. The tour takes you through a bit of the history, tips on how they keep their lawn perfect, how you can get palm trees to survive, how you can get lemon trees to carry fruits etc. The atmosphere in the garden is wonderful as you get the amazing smell of blooming flowers and tranquillity of nature. The new section that has been opened this year has been named Tuscany and it features olive trees, Tuscan cypresses etc.


A view to the restaurant at Flor & FjæreAfter the tour in the garden we went over to the restaurant where we had big windows facing the fjord ensuring a great view. The food is buffet style and we got a selection of creamy fish soup, flounder fish, chicken with cous cous, leg of lamb and various salads. For the kids they had burgers and hot dogs if I’m not mistaken. To round it of we had some sort of cheese cake with ice cream on the side and berries from the garden. The chef André has been around on the island for some years now and he pulled of some of his old jokes before dinner was ready :-) He also celebrated his birthday the day we were there and we all sang “Happy birthday” to him. After dinner we still had some time to look around the garden and take some picture before the boat took us back to Stavanger at 10.30 PM as the sun was setting in the ocean.


View of flowers and gardenI really enjoy Flor & Fjære even if I’m not much of a garden person and I have recommended this to a lot of people over the years. As you can see from the pictures it is a beautiful place. But I’m starting to loose a bit of faith in the concept and it is first of all related to the overall cost. When we went out there we came out on a “summer special deal” and each ticket was 740 kroner (about 145 USD with the current exchange rate). A wasp enjoying sweet leftovers at Flor & FjæreFor this you get the transport out there, the tour of the garden and the buffet. 145 USD is quite a lot of money and the food is really not that great. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good but it is buffet style and I’m not sure that it is worth the money. Note that if you want something to drink to go along with the food you have to pay extra for this. We had a bottle of Chianti Classico wine and that cost us close to 500 kroner (about 100 USD)!.Flowers called Angel trumpets I understand that they charge for this but if felt a bit ridiculous when we had to buy water at 25 kroner per bottle (about 5 USD). Note that we had the summer special and that the regular price is 970 kroner for evenings (about 190 USD). I know that Norway is expensive but this felt even expensive for us as Norwegians. I guess the fact that the Queen of Norway, Sonja, celebrated her 70th birthday at Flor & Fjære last year has given the place a lot of publicity and visitors are just pouring in. As I have been there a few times already I would have appreciated if I could drop the tour of the garden and pay less but that does not seem to be a part of the concept. I also have to add that the food has not really changed much over the years. Maybe it is time to consider a change of chef and/or menu?


Sun setting on our way back to StavangerMy conclusion is that Flor & Fjære is a truly beautiful place to visit on a nice summer day or evening in Stavanger. If you are interested in gardening I think you will be impressed by the garden, flowers and trees that they have there and how they are able to get it to grow this in an environment like this. But if you are a foodie there are many restaurants in Stavanger where you can get far better food for the price that Flor & Fjære charges. The visit is truly a break from reality even if you might say it is an expensive break :-) Please check Flor & Fjære's homepage on http://www.florogfjare.no/ for more information about prices, opening hours etc. Send me a mail on gardkarlsen@hotmail.com if you have any questions or comments. Please click here to get back to more general information about Stavanger.



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