Earlier this week, we were on an exploratory trip to Berlin. Monday through Wednesday, we were hunting for our new apartment (and found one we adore) and looking into the areas we could end up living. The apartment we like does have a small balcony which we’ll likely fill up with herbs and a few tomato plants. I might even manage to get the jean butts up there.
But something which seems to be extremely popular in Berlin is guerilla gardening within the tiny spaces between your front door and the street. And I love it!
Just down the street from us, one of the nearby tenants has put up a small fence (so people can’t park their bike in there) and created a little garden of wild strawberries and flowers. While I’m not certain I would actually be brave enough to eat something which was just growing out in the open to be tampered with by everyone, I love the idea of turning these otherwise dead, brown spaces into thriving green areas.
Most of the spaces we saw only had some sort of flowers growing in them, but a few of them herbs as well. And I also saw many a balcony loaded up with tomato plants, strawberries and the like. So all of this is extremely encouraging for our upcoming move. I even have a few ideas of place we may be able to invade to grow some actual edibles – with or without the permission of others. :)
In fact, there is a courtyard garden that our new apartment overlooks which I have to wonder about. It would be perfect for a family plot….the question is really just how one goes about gaining access to it.
I can already tell that although gardening takes on a rather different form in Berlin, it’s going to be quite adventurous and a lot of fun.
A few other Berliners have started an initiative called Gemüsekorb (“vegetable basket”) to use abandoned shopping carts as mobile gardens. They’ve planted everything from flowers to tomatoes to potatoes in them — and they can be wheeled around from time to time so they don’t become a nuisance or get reported. Yes, one major risk with guerrilla gardening is that your stuff will get stolen — but I guess that’s all just part of the game. Last year, a course on how to set up your own baskets was run and everyone got to take home a basket with them. Pretty slick really.
In Templehof, you can visit the gardens in Schillerkiez which are set up at the old Templehof airport which was closed several years ago.
In Kreuzberg, check out the community garden, Garden Rosa Rose. Or the 6,000 sq meter Prinzessingarten (Princess Garden), built entirely in crates so that it can be moved on short notice — since the lease is on a year-to-year basis.
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