Hamburg botanic gardens
An extempore trip driving through Germany last week ended with the welcome respite of visiting another botanical garden. Having spent most of the last few years at home on the farm, I had quite forgotten how stressful it is to drive along large and super busy motorways and to be honest I found it quite exhausting. My friend Maria turned up to help share the burden, and I was really grateful to have a co-driver!
Maria and I have travelled a lot together, and she wasn't in the least surprised that all roads lead to some kind of garden. It gives me great pleasure to "collect" visits to botanical gardens, and I rejoice in the fact that my collection doesn't hoard any space at home unlike normal collections of say stamps or guitars. The one we visited was the Loki Schmidt botanical gardens, which is a good detail to mention as Hamburg has eight botanical gardens registered. It belongs to the University of Hamburg and is often referred to as the New botanical garden, as the Old botanical garden nowadays mostly consists of five large greenhouses.
Perfectly in tune with current worries about the insect armageddon and climate change, large parts of the gardens have been given over to native flora, scrubland management and wildflower meadows. It probably dismays those who expect pristine areas of systematical beds, but I have to say I enjoyed the low key nature reserve feeling it gave. As can be seen from the pictures there was plenty of beautifully curated landscaped garden too! The gardens are large, and to me the mix of curated and wild abandon made it especially enjoyable.
Walking around the gardens I was reminded once again of the privilege to have access to green space and nature. For city dwellers it's not a given that they can follow the season through plants, nor that they can enjoy birdsong or the soft hum of insects in grass. Public gardens do fill an enormously important function in the giving access to these things to all those who otherwise would be lacking, and I applaud the University of Hamburg for making their space so beautiful.