The lemony scents of linden and jasmine hang thick in the air. Evenings greet an ever-more reluctant setting sun, against the backdrop of singing nightingales. Everywhere, bright green florets are sprouting, announcing the much anticipated arrival of Spring.
It’s time again to venture outside, and enjoy Berlin’s finest features; its green spaces. If you’re among the central city dwellers, you might already be privy to most parks inside the Ringbahn. Venture towards the southern neck of the woods, and you’ll find another gem, worthy of exploring.
In the south-west side of Britz, lies Britzer Garten.
Dating back to 1985, the park offers 90 hectares of hilltops, lakes and meadows. With its themed gardens, wild spaces and architectural curiosities, there’s much to explore. Best give yourself plenty of time.
For a glimpse into the old traditional Britz, enter at Sangerhausen. Here, the rose garden–with its pergola and rare varieties–greet you with traditional grandeur. Historical cultivars hark back to the early 20s, when most of Berlin’s bed-, shrub- and tea roses were cultivated here.
Continue east, and soon you’ll find yourself surrounded by funkias and delphiniums. Boasting over thirty different species, the perennial garden blooms throughout the year. Water lilies drift along the pond at the gardens centre, while other water-lovers, like daylilies and forget-me-nots, dance in the reflection of the water.
Further afield, what may seem to some as a weird display of rocks, is in fact a geological garden. Taking the shape of an ammonite, the garden represents the geological history of our planet. Onwards, toward the gate at Buckower Damm, visitors can marvel at the wide open meadows, framed by rhododendron groves currently in bloom.
Take the winding paths from here, and venture into the hidden “fairy gardens”. In late summer evenings, gold flake-, cinnamon-, and tree ferns, create a magical play of light.
Speaking of magic, a truly German garden would be incomplete if it does not include some sort of witchery. On the northern side of the ten acre lake lies the “Hexen” garden. Amongst the stone wall “castle ruins”, visitors can explore medieval species like ornamental columbines, wild strawberries and “trollblumen”. Guided tours offer insights into the use of plants during the Middle Ages–including poisonous species and those believed to ward of demons and witches.
Sitting like a fat bullfrog on the lake adjacent, Café am See keeps the fairytale notion alive.
Built in the so-called “earth-building” method of architect Engelbert Kremser, the curious looking dome is made from heaped earth that was first concreted and then hollowed out.
For the time being, since all thecafés remain closed, it’s best to pack lunch for a picnic on one of the many lawns.
A little northwards on Kalendarplatz, the orangery is a more pleasing architectural landmark. The south side of the building aligns with the prime meridian, where at noon the sun casts a shadow on the golden line in the central axis, from which local Berlin time can be read. Needing no conventional heating, its passive energy system stores the sun’s heat, making it the perfect place to overwinter less hardy species and enjoy sunny glimpses of the lake.
From here, alongside Kastanienallee towards the Masiner Weg entrance, the park is currently hosting a tulip exhibition. Nearly 250 000 tulip bulbs are in bloom, ranging from lily-flowered and fringed types to extravagant parrot tulips. Take note that due to corona, a time-slot for the Tulipan must be reserved in advance.
You can reach Britzer garten via the U6 and 181 bus. But if the weather is nice I would recommend a cycle. The route goes through other green spaces like Hassenheide and Tempelhofer Feld, past the Britz Schloss. The nearest entrance along this route is down Alt Britz and Mohriner Allee towards the Massiner Entrance, where the Tulipan exhibition is currently on show.
Entrance is €3 and can be bought online or at the gates.
- BRITZER GARTEN
- Sangerhauser Weg 1
- 12349 Berlin