|Bridge over the lake at Britzer Garten|
The Britzer Garten was created for the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Garden Show) of 1985. These Bundesgartenschauen - unfortunately abbreviated to BUGA - have occurred bi-annually since the first in Hannover in 1951. Their initial purpose was to rebuild city parks destroyed by the war, and to encourage visitors to areas in West Germany suffering economically, meanwhile promoting horticulture and horticultural architecture. They continue to this day, and in fact there will be one in Berlin in 2017 on the large open space left by the closure of Tempelhof Airport. There is a bit of controversy about whether national taxes should still go to fund these creations, but if anywhere is in need of a bit of landscaping, it is Tempelhof (it's like a bleeding airfield for chrissakes!).
The Britzer Garten is (Überraschung!) located in the Britz quarter of Neuköln. This isn't the area where ex-pat Brits live, but is actually the name of a village that was swallowed up by Berlin as part of the Greater Berlin Act of 1920. The village feel has long-since gone, and this is an area of high-rise Plattenbau, although in contrast to Marzahn these are of West German FDR construction. It can be a bit of an adventure to get to, and we found the best way for us involved the S2 station at Buckow and a couple of bus-rides.
The garden is pleasant enough. It is centred around a large lake with an architecturally interesting restaurant - Café am See - that looks like Antoni Gaudi was an influence (it was actually dsigned by Engelbert Kremser).
|Café am See - Britzer Garten|
|Modellboothafen - Britzer Garten|
|Spiel- und Liegewiese|
|Lese Café (Reading Café) im Karl Foerster Pavillion|
|rock garden by the Karl Foerster Pavillion|
|Kalendarplatz - Britzer Garten - NOT Sutton-in-Ashfield, England|
|Sundial gnomon or ray-gun - you decide.|
|Sculpture? Incomplete Monorail? Nice fountain in the background though.|
|Hill. With Sheep. |
This is the one and only resemblance of Britzer Garten to the Gardens at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.
|Der Berliner Regenwald|
It is not surprising that whilst die Gärten der Welt were packed, there were very few people wandering around the Britzer Garten, though admittedly the weather was duller. By the way, Britzer and Gärten der Welt are owned by the same GrünBerlin GmbH, and a Jahreskarte (yearly ticket) is valid for both.
Would we bother to travel out to the Britzer Garten again? Probably not. Consider that the centrally located Tiergarten is nearly two and a half times larger, and also has lakes and much better flower gardens (including spectacular rhododendrons) that you can enjoy for free. Alright, the Tiergarten doesn't have a train you can ride on, or sheep, and there is always the risk of wandering into a nudist area, but in a comparison it wins hands down.
So what we have learned so far in our horticultural explorations? For imaginatively themed garden designs, visit die Gärten der Welt. For exotic plants visit the Botanischer Garten. For somewhere to play around with a Frisbee (especially if you have a dog) or relax in a Biergarten beside a lake, you need go no further than the Tiergarten.
And I'll be BUGA'd if I'll travel out to Britzer Garten again unless I hear the tulips are really spectacular.