2016 saw the Society visit Berlin and Poland. The meeting was in two locations; initially based in Berlin, Germany and then in Poznań and Warsaw, Poland. The Society has visited Germany a number of times before but never the area round Berlin. We visited Warsaw in 2000 prior to the Conference held that year in Dresden and visited Poland again in 2002 so it has been a number of years and another visit was well overdue. In this, the second of my four informal reports on the meeting, I will concentrate on the second half of our Berlin visit. For my other reports, please click Berlin and Warsaw - Part 1, Berlin and Warsaw - Part 3 or Berlin and Warsaw - Part 4. Please note that these reports have been written by myself, Fiona Woolfenden.
Garden JankNext on the itinerary were two garden visits to small private gardens that had been located in the former East Berlin. The group divided into two to see these small gardens. The first garden that my half of the group visited was that of Marianne and Wilfred Jank. We were welcomed by Marianne and Wilfred to their garden and I believe that we could have been the first group that visited them. It was a small garden but was packed with clematis, roses and interesting supports. The front garden beckoned and immediately we spotted some clematis growing on supports at the front of the house. In the back garden there was a large tree with a climbing rose (Rosa 'Lykkefund') with Clematis 'Fujimusume' at its base dominating a small lawn. There were several borders planted with a mixture of herbaceous plants such as delphiniums, geraniums and also foxgloves. There was also a pond to one side of the garden.
There were a large number of clematis in flower in the garden and I have selected 4 pictures to show you the range of clematis.
Garden Jank Garden Jank Marianne Jank welcoming us to her garden Rosa 'Lykkefund' with C. 'Fujimusume'
The house was in the former area of East Berlin and did not exist in its current form when the wall came down in 1989. We were shown pictures of the previous house, the garden and the streets outside. A lot of hard work has transformed the house and the garden into the attractive place that it is today. I mentioned above the interesting supports that Marianne and Wilfred used for their clematis to climb. We discovered that these were tomato plant supports sold in Germany at garden centres and probably made in Germany. A pair can be used to form a column or they can be used singly. They can also be used around a standard free-standing wooden post, for example as found on a pergola. Since being back home in England we discovered that the supports do not appear to be sold in the UK but can be bought on the Internet from Germany. Search for "Rankturm". I believe they come in galvanized (verzinkt) finish or clad in green plastic (grün).
C. 'Alionushka' C. 'Piilu' C. 'Juuli' C. 'Princess Diana'
Tomato supports used for
C. 'Pink Fantasy' to climb up
C. 'Königskind' growing on a
column of tomato supports
Garden HabermannThe second garden we visited was that of Jutta and Gerd Habermann. This garden was almost double the size of Garden Jank and had sweeping lawns bordered by flower beds. A number of the flower beds were edged with grasses and heuchera plants including what looked to me like the Japanese blood grass plant. As we were visiting in June this part of the garden would be spectacular later in the season. There was also a number of other foliage plants for earlier in the year including a very impressive hosta display with very few damaged leaves. Behind the plants edging the lawns were compact shrubs and a few clematis. There was a lovely C. 'Betty Corning' climbing through a purple leaved beech tree. In another part of the garden there was a bench under an arbour with roses and clematis growing over it which was a quiet spot to enjoy the garden.
Being welcomed to the garden, Garden Habermann
Gerd Habermann also made stained glass 'windows' or glass panels and there were a number of these arranged in the garden. They featured birds and were an unexpected addition to the plants. A magpie in a tree above a bed of hostas caught my attention as did a pair of ducks.
Garden Habermann, stained glass magpie Garden Habermann, stained glass ducks
Boat Tour of BerlinNext it was back to Berlin for a boat trip on the River Spree through the centre of Berlin. Our tour took us past a number of modern buildings including the Reichstag building where the Bundestag meets, the German Chancellor's Office and the headquarters of the Deutsche Bahn, a German railway company. It was nice and relaxing to sit and watch the world go by. On the boat some of us sampled Berliner Weisse. Berliner Weisse is a beer which relatively low in alcohol, only 2.5 to 2.7%, and it is usually taken with a shot (a "Schuss") of raspberry syrup (so it's red) or woodruff-flavoured syrup (this one is green) to cut the brew's tartness. (If you're interested in reading more about Berliner Weisse, visit www.germanbeerinstitute.com/Berliner_Weisse.html. Our organisers had suggested that we stayed near where the boat docked in the evening in the Nikolaiviertel district. My group found a restaurant near the statue of Saint George which offered a mixture of different German food and all of us were happy!
Boat Trip on River Spree Boat Trip on River Spree Boat Trip on River Spree, German Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) Prost! Boat Trip on River Spree, Berlin Hauptbahnhof Boat Trip on River Spree, Nikolaiviertel
Sanssouci, PotsdamIn the morning we departed for Potsdam on the north west side of Berlin. We split into two groups and each group had a tour of the Neuwe Palais. I was fascinated that there were a large number of statues which had been taken down from the roof being cleaned so you could see them close up. There was a very large number of statues! After the tour of the palace we were able to see some of the gardens. It was a bit of a route march as time was ticking by and our guide was enthusiastic to show us as much as she could. The first garden that we stopped at had the most fabulous trellis and pergola structures which would have looked incredible covered with clematis, but looked very bare. Then we were off to another part of the gardens with very large hoops with some climbing plants growing up them. The hoops with the plants made the area feel enclosed. It was a simple idea that worked very well. Unfortunately, I do not know what the climbing plants were. The next stop was the Rose Garden with all or most of the roses being old roses that were originally planted in the gardens. Most were scented. The last stop was the Vineyard Terraces in front of the main palace. The view looking upwards was spectacular. The fountains in Sanssouci Park were originally designed by Prussian King Frederick the Great in the 1750s. I understand that they never worked in his lifetime. As we climbed the flights of steps we could see fruit plants such as figs protected from frost growing under glass on the terraces. Later on after leaving the Palace we passed, I now know, the Dampfmaschinenhaus which looks like a Turkish mosque but is actually a pumping station in disguise. A steam engine in the building was used to pump water from the River Havel to the Great Fountains in the Sanssouci Park. For more information see www.amusingplanet.com/2015/05/dampfmaschinenhaus-mosque-shaped-pump.html.
Decorative trellis near Neuwe Palais
Garden near Schloss Charlottenhof
Sanssouci Vineyard Terraces
Fig tree protected from frost The waterfall pumping station
Rosengut LangerwischWe stopped at the Rosengut Langerwisch Garden Centre for lunch. It is a large, family run Garden Centre and we were warmly welcomed by some of the family. In the UK it is quite common for Garden Centres to have restaurants but I understand that it was not quite as usual in Germany. We were offered some regional specialities such as asparagus soup and sausages. The asparagus soup was made from the white asparagus which was in season and is found in and around Berlin and was very tasty. It comes from an area called Beelitz. There were strawberries for desert as well so we were well fed! After lunch some of us had a tour of the garden centre by the owner, Mr. Bräutigam, who proudly showed us a number of his green houses and his plant potting production line in the greenhouses. He had put a lot of thought into how to mechanize some of the various stages which was very interesting. The outside area had vast areas with a large number of roses available for sale. Some of the plants were very large and in full flower. It was a short but very interesting visit.
Rosengut Langerwisch Garden Centre - www.rosengut.de
Garden of Karl FoersterAfter lunch we travelled to Bornim where the house, garden and perennial nursery of Karl Foerster is located. Karl Foerster (1874 to 1970) had a huge impact on gardening in Germany. He was an outstanding gardener, growing a lot of perennials, a garden author and a philosopher. He founded the perennial nursery and introduced a large number of cultivars. Over 500 of his cultivars are still available to be bought which must be quite an achievement. They include delphiniums, phloxes, lupins and heleniums. The house and garden that he lived in has been preserved, initially by his daughter Marianne. When she died in 2010 by the 'German Foundation for Monument Protection' to ensure the lasting preservation of this cultural heritage. Our group divided into two groups for guided tours of the garden. A large number of the plants were labeled, which to me is a mark that the gardeners care about the plants that they grow, even if it also helps plant sales at the nursery. I noticed a lovely pink rose called 'Angela'. I liked the area round the sunken garden the best. The sunken garden lay directly in front of the house with a large formal pond at the base. It was a quiet and peaceful area mostly with green leafed plants surrounded by higher level colourful planting including tall blue delphiniums. At the back of the house was a rock garden with a large number of substantial rocks. This area was partly in the shade of some huge trees which our guide pointed out had been planted by Karl Foerster so the area would have looked quite different when he started. Now some of the trees probably needed to come out so the original varieties of plants could continue to grow there. There was a spring garden to the side, which our guides told us about and it sounded well worth viewing, but we were too late to see it in flower.
House of Karl Foerster Front garden Front garden Rosa 'Angela' Rear garden Rear garden Pond in front garden Tall blue delphiniums For more information, please visit www.foerster-stauden.de/.
Garden NäserAt the Karl Foerster Garden we were joined by Dr. Konrad Näser who escorted us to his garden for the next stop of our tour. Both Konrad and his wife Christa worked at Karl Foerster's nursery and were trained by him. After Karl Foerster's death Konrad Näser was in charge of growing the perennial plants from 1970 to 1989. Konrad welcomed us to the garden and our tour leader, Helga Marie Huber, thanked him for letting us visit. The garden surrounds the house but is mainly on two sides of it. There is a pond, a lawn and a number of flower beds. The garden was quite shady because there were a number of large trees surrounding it and also in the middle of one of the flower beds in the garden. These had been planted a number of years ago and were now very big. Every space had plants or a view of other parts of the garden. One of the best was along the side of the house where silver birch tree trunks could be seen in the distance in sunlight framed by roses and clematis growing up the side of the house and over an arch. There were a large number of statues, objects and water features which attract the eye. A large statue of a couple in the middle of a central flower bed was impressive but several smaller cats drew attention to the plants next to them. The garden of Christa and Dr. Konrad Näser contains a number of fuchsias which are Christa's passion. Konrad prefers spring flowers, perennials, plants that grow in shade and herbaceous clematis. There were some really nice plant combinations, for example, a red astrantia which picked up the red in the leaves of the plant in front of it. I really enjoyed our visit to Garden Näser which was the last garden in the Berlin part of our itinerary.
Welcome to Flower Garden Näser Helga Marie Huber and Konrad Näser Rose arbour Central flower bed and statue One of a number of garden cats Red astrantia C. 'Viola' C. 'Arabella'
Last Dinner in GermanyFor our evening meal we stayed in the area of Potsdam to eat at a restaurant on the shores of Lake Templin. The view across the lake was very peaceful although the light was fading. Then it was back to Berlin to pack for our journey to Poland the following day.
Next MonthNext month I will cover our journey to Warsaw in Poland and our first day in Warsaw. For my other reports, please click Berlin and Warsaw - Part 1, Berlin and Warsaw - Part 3 or Berlin and Warsaw - Part 4.
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