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CHRISTIAN BOHNHOF (1822–1881)

Nursery grower at the foot of Arkadianmäki Hill

Christian Bohnhof, a German gardener who learned his trade in the imperial gardens in St. Petersburg, arrived in Helsinki in 1844 to take up the post of gardener in the large private gardens of the Sinebrychoff family, owners of a brewery. In the winter, he sold flowers he had grown in the greenhouse. In 1849 he launched flower sales displays in grocer's shops.

In 1858 the ambitious Bohnhof rented a villa plot at Arkadia, now part of the grounds of the Little Parliament building. There he began to produce and sell cut flowers and seeds, as well as trees and shrubs. In 1871 Bohnhof established the first florist's shops in Finland, in Helsinki and Turku. Bohnhof's trailblazing success in his gardening business was brought to an end by his death.

Services to maintain Helsinki's parks were purchased from commercial gardeners in the 1840s to the 1860s, but they seem to have been so busy that very little was actually done in the. The lease for the Arkadia villa may have included an obligation to look after public plantings. Bohnhof's achievements in Helsinki's parks that we know about for certain are limited to some expansive flowerbeds, which he created in front of Kaivohuone at the time of an industrial exhibition in 1876. Bohnhof's wide collection of plants may still be seen in Helsinki's old parks – some of them must have their roots on Arkadianmäki.