How's It Grow­ing, Ber­lin?

Ber­lin is re­ally the best of both worlds, com­bin­ing ur­ban ex­cite­ment with plenty of na­ture to dis­cover. Hilda Hoy set out to ex­plore the botan­i­cal side of the city.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS - BY HILDA HOY

Ex­plore the botan­i­cal side of the city – and eat it too.

Bet you didn’t know this about Ber­lin: Though it’s most hyped th­ese days for its mu­se­ums and gal­leries, trendy bou­tiques, nightlife scene, and su­per-hip ur­ban cul­ture, this city is ac­tu­ally a bit of an earthy hip­pie at heart. Those who spend all their time in Mitte may not re­al­ize that Ber­lin is in­cred­i­bly green: 40 per­cent of the city’s to­tal area is taken up by parks, forests, lakes, canals, and rivers, which has clearly in­stilled its lo­cals with a deep love of na­ture. Botan­i­cal di­ver­sity is rooted in the fab­ric of the city, from the big Ber­lin forests right down to the court­yards hid­den within many apart­ment build­ings, which are of­ten planted with shrubs, flow­ers, and even veg­eta­bles.

Take A Green Stroll

With the green sea­son well and truly get­ting un­der­way this month, there’s no bet­ter time to dis­cover Ber­lin’s botan­i­cal side and en­joy some fresh air. Given its cen­tral lo­ca­tion, Tier­garten is the eas­i­est place to start. Orig­i­nally the hunt­ing ground of the Prus­sian roy­als, the sprawl­ing park is filled with forests, ponds, and a ro­man­tic lit­tle canal. Dur­ing the Cold War era, this is where West Ber­lin­ers – living on an iso­lated is­land in the midst of East Ger­many – would come when they needed a break in na­ture. Down in the south­ern end of the city is Neukölln’s Britzer Garten, which doesn’t have the woods of Tier­garten but has acres of well-groomed flowerbeds in­stead, plus a scenic pond and plenty of trails of­fer­ing re­lax­ing walks. The best time to visit is right around now, when all the tulips are in full col­or­ful bloom. For gar­dens with global flair, don’t miss Gärten

der Welt out east in Marzahn, a se­ries of in­ter­con­nected walled gar­dens with global themes. The Ja­panese gar­den is a real show-stop­per in the spring when its cherry trees are in full pink flower, and the Chi­nese gar­den has a pagoda that hosts oc­ca­sional tea cer­e­monies.

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