With September providing a couple of unexpectedly sunny and warm days it seems appropriate to look back on my trip to the Botanischer Garten (Botanical Garden) in Berlin or Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem to use its full title.
It seems like a lifetime ago but actually it has only been a month.
The Botanischer Garten was pointed out to me from the train after my trip to Zur Bratpfanne for my favourite Currywurst in Berlin so far. A visit was immediately added to my to-do list.
I entered the Botanischer Garten through the entrance on Unter den Eichen having caught the S-Bahn to Botanischer Garten station.
The history of the botanical garden dates back to reign of Friedrich Wilhelm in 1679, though it has only been in its present location since 1910.
Having admired a rather grand building in the grounds and the beautiful gardens in front of it, I turned to look out on a large Lily pond.
Next I chose to walk through the Arboretum and Plant Geography sections of the gardens. Whilst I was impressed by the well-maintained gardens and enjoyed looking at the plants, flowers and statues I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed at this point.
After this I went to the Botanical Museum contained within the grounds. As the descriptions of the exhibits and any audio or video were in German and the sun was shining outside I chose not to spend much time here. I did, however, enjoy the dioramas of various landscapes and there were some impressive items.
It was when I reached the Greenhouse Complex (Die Gewächshäuser) that the Botanischer Garten came into its own and I became really enthusiastic about my visit.
A cluster of 16 (mainly interconnected) greenhouses is open to the public and houses an impressive collection of tropical plants and flowers.
The main greenhouse (Das Große Tropenhaus) is one of the largest in the world and measures 60m x 30m and stands 23m tall.
Many of the plants and flowers here are grouped by geographical region or species. One of my highlights, and recommended by friends before my visit, was the Cacti collection.
It was as well that I had been told about the Cacti collection as I found the greenhouses a little difficult to navigate and searching for them made me persevere and discover many more houses.
Coming out of the main greenhouse I walked through Café Anthurium and took the opportunity for some refreshment in the shape of a cold Berliner Kindl, which I took out onto the terrace overlooking the Italian Garden.
Completing my circuit of the park, and approaching the house I saw on entering, I walked past a beautiful collection of Dahlias.
For a selection of stunning macro photos of the plants and flowers at the Botanischer Garten I recommend this post on annenieannenou film.
Having only visited once on a bright, sunny summer’s day, I’m looking forward to seeing the effects of the changing seasons on the gardens. If I stay in Berlin more permanently I’m sure I will visit the Botanischer Garten often and would probably buy a Multiple Ticket (which gives 4 visits for the price of 3 and is valid for 1 year) or possibly even an Annual Ticket.
I would also like to see one of the classical music performances that I’m told take place at 6pm on Friday evenings during the summer.
With about 22,000 different species of plants covering an area of 126 acres the Botanischer Garten is the kind of place that could take days to examine closely but is a great place to spend a few hours or even a day.
I spent about 4 hours there and would have stayed longer if I hadn’t been meeting friends for dinner at The Bird that evening.
If you’re visiting Berlin and looking to do something out of the centre I would certainly recommend a visit to the Botanischer Garten in the summer (I will hopefully be able to endorse it year-round once I’ve visited more myself) and do yourself a favour and get Currywurst from Zur Bratpfanne on your way home.