A Prairie garden in Frankfurt
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Last July we went from London to Bristol, then to visit the Ungardener's sister in Frankfurt. We had lunch at the Skyline Plaza. (I'll never see the High Line in New York but this was almost as good). The Skyline Garden is the 'fifth facade' of a shopping mall. Opened in 2013 and designed by landscape architects from Wiesbaden and Baltimore. The plants improve the urban microclimate by increasing humidity, lowering the temperature and reducing air pollution. Irrigated by rain, which in turn reduces stormwater runoff. Restaurant with an outdoor terrace (our lunch - cheese and leek veggie burger!), children's playground, sport and activity spaces. I'll be with the flowers!
Prairie plants set against city skyscrapers echo the NY High Line and on a perfect day when all the flowers are at their blooming best.
Lime green Echinacea flowers make my heart happy.
Even my camera agreed to capture this bee on a pink Echinacea.
Our hotel room was high up with a narrow balcony across the corner and a view out to two sides. One evening as I was reading I heard music ... more music. I looked down to see the multi-lane road closed to traffic with a gazillion rollerbladers skimming along, followed by a few police vans holding back the cars. Every Tuesday. It was such an unexpected sight! Pied Piper of Hamelin racing away?
Frankfurt am Main. The Main River. As along the Thames, there is that contrast of very old and very modern architecture.
At the Römerberg is this reminder of a yet another time when 'we burnt books'. In Library, an unquiet history, by Matthew Battles, two of his seven chapters are book burning down the centuries.
I had seen Indonesian Joko Avianto's Big Trees in internet pictures. I was surprised that it was tucked into a narrow side street. Those bamboo trees were HUGE.
The artist was inspired by the environment, redevelopment, urbanisation, displacement and marginalisation, the city mourning its lost trees. Bamboo is a reminder of traditional craft in Bali. Village bamboo forests in Java are disappearing for monoculture palm oil.
We walked in the Palmengarten. Lotus and sea holly.
New to me was the idea of a Subantarctic House (there is another in Tasmania). Plants come from the mountains of New Zealand's South Island (also Patagonia and the Falklands). These 'fragile flowers' need to be kept cool in Frankfurt's inland summer.
Myoporum laetum is an invasive alien in South Africa. We had it in our Camps Bay garden. A plant my father recognised from his New Zealand home. It grows with ferocious enthusiasm into a shrubby tree with great thick branches that I was constantly pruning. How strange to see that same plant nurtured as an exotic in a Frankfurt greenhouse. Even stranger to discover that its home is subantarctic. Why does it grow so happily in Cape Town's mediterranean climate?! It is poisonous to livestock, and has lots of berries which the birds spread around. Maoris rub the leaves on their skin to repel mosquitoes.
From Frankfurt we took the train to Switzerland.
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You always post such stunning photos! :-)ReplyDelete
I have never heard of this skyline garden - and I am quite often in Frankfurt for the book fair and to visit my friend. The Palmengarten I know, but this garden is due for the next visit.ReplyDelete
Enjoy - I look forward to your blog post later.Delete
It's always especially gratifying to come along on trips with ones who emphasize the plant-centric aspects. The 'Big Trees' are fabulous...faintly reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy, though he uses only materials found on site. It's great to see the incursion of prairie plantings into urban areas, with the Highline leading the way.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing this wonderful trip of yours. Great photos.ReplyDelete
The Skyline Garden is wonderful! I hope gardens like it, the High Line in New York and Tongva Park in Santa Monica, California (constructed by the same people responsible for the High Line) become standards for other high-density urban areas in the future. You have a talent for finding unexpected treasures in big cities.ReplyDelete
Cape Town has the iconic KirstenboschDelete
and Green Point Urban Park
Thanks to my BIL and SIL for surprising me with this delight!
What an interesting post! I enjoyed the whole post, but was especially the skyline garden in Frankfurt, as I'm unlikely to get there. It is lovely to see Prairie plants flowering and flourishing in a big city. Also the Joko Avianto's Big Trees... very effective. The Palm oil industry in ruining the habitat of so many animal, bird and insect species.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the interesting post.
When we gardeners go on holiday, we search out gardens. Thanks for sharing these. -JeanReplyDelete
Love the bamboo trees and the Skyline garden looks a good place to visit, such lovely planting.ReplyDelete
Paris also has a 'high line' which predates the New York garden by many years but that is planted with shrubs and doesn't feel so inviting and it wasn't being used as much either. I enjoyed by visit with you, thank you.ReplyDelete
Paris looks interesting in a trees roses and architecture wayDelete
I love the prairie garden it looks amazing especially with the plants growing so far from the ground. Sarah xReplyDelete
Joko Avianto's Big Trees is astonishing! And a gorgeous prairie garden against a skyline of skyscrapers, along with cheese and leek veggie burger - you are living good!ReplyDelete
Sadly when I Googled for a supporting link to the Big Trees I found - today we are dismantling. All gone!Delete
Reading your post, I seem to recall that the young Roberto Burle Marx first learned to appreciate the plants of his native Brazil while on a visit to German botanical gardens... ;-)ReplyDelete
Makes sense. I first saw Lithops (succulents that look like pebbles) displayed protected under glass in Zurich's botanical garden. And the national collection of Streptocarpus near Hay on Wye on the Welsh border.Delete
HI Diana! Lovely to visit your blog after a long time. Enjoyed this post, still hoping to see the High Line in NY some time, interesting that there's a similar one in Frankfurt. I've been to the sub- Antarctica cold house in Tassie, and have been meaning to write a post about it for ages. The bamboo Big Trees also good to know about - there's more chance of me seeing that than going to NY.ReplyDelete
When I Googled Big Trees sadly I found - today we are dismantling. All gone.Delete
Would love to read your post about the cold house!
What a wonderful trip! We live close to New York but rarely visit as we 'country folk' are not fond of the city, so never walked the High Line. Now I'm thinking we should ignore our 'fears' and just go there. P. xReplyDelete
Let me see it thru your eyes ...Delete
Also not so fond of city crowds, unless we are travelling.
(I prefer my home comforts and same old same old routine)
Completely agree ...Delete
Beautiful photos, Diana! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour! Happy 2017 and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)ReplyDelete
Oh, I'm jealous. We've been wanting to do a trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for several years. One of these years, we'll do it. Thanks for the tips on sights to see. Those prairie plantings are beautiful!ReplyDelete
In a February post, I will continue our journey to Switzerland.Delete
I can see a trip to Germany coming up! Your photos are beautiful. It's so lovely to have the contrast of soft flowers in a 'hard' city. I'm also looking forward to hearing about Switzerland.ReplyDelete