Urban farming and the gardening movement: Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin

December 4, 2011

A dear old friend of mine introduced me this year to “Prinzessinnengarten”, an urban garden community in the middle of Berlin.

A couple of days ago I read in the Bangkok Post, my daily newspaper, about the re-emergence of the urban gardening movement with a reference to the “Prinzessinnengarten”, and I thought, great, I have seen them in July with my own eyes.

During my student days at Bonn University, I always had a garden or was involved in some gardening venture. Usually together with some friends, we would rent a vacant plot of land in a deserted gardening colony or other public land designated for urban gardening.

We took issue with the older movement of “Schrebergaerten”, an earlier tradition of urban gardening in Germany, which we considered parochial, dull and boring. Instead we sympathised more with the tradition of the hippy and flower-power movements.

In fact our gardens were also always places for extensive garden parties with lots of alcohol and loud music.

But my gardening roots are much older than that. In fact my paternal grandfather, Hans Schuessler was the one who introduced me to gardening at the tender age of 5 or so.

Working for the railways he always maintained various gardens usually near to the rails where he grew vegetables and all kinds of fruit. He also made delicious fruit wines, and all kinds of marmalade and gelées/jellies.

“Prinzenssinnengarten” is an oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of Germany’s biggest mega-city. It offers food and drink and a wide range of entertainment as well.

The garden was set up in 2009 and it took just two years to make it into an urban paradise.

All kinds of boxes can be used to create opportunities for growing stuff

More boxes and..

..also plastic sacks to grow potatoes

…and cabbages

Crates to grow zucchini and rhubarb

Tomatoes are grown under plastic roofs

Nurseries are also included in Prinzessinnengarten

Prices are modest and the revenue generated is for a good cause

Enjoy

It is worth to visit “Prinzessinnengarten”, that’s for sure.


Anniversary of Thai-German relations celebrated in style with German wine

December 3, 2009

The other day Lufthansa celebrated it’s 50 years of scheduled flight services to Bangkok, Thailand. I was invited to a function at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel which provided not only a splendid backdrop to the event but also supplied the guests with very jummy culinary delights.

Also the wines, a red and a white, both from Germany, were first class. Lufthansa served a 2008 Spätburgunder from Meyer-Näkel, Ahr and a 2008 Riesling from Hermann Dönnhoff, Nahe. What a treat. I could not believe my luck.

When I was a student of agriculture at Bonn University, one of my fellow students, came from the nahe wine region. She had a sticker on her car reading: “Nahewein ein Edelstein”, freely translated as “Wine from the Nahe a gemstone” (unfortunately this does not rhyme as the German slogan). Both wines were gemstones, indeed.

In the end the Riesling somehow blended better with the food, a mix of Thai, German, and other cuisines served in small portions in a snack-type fashion. The anniversary was celebrated in style with beautiful visualizations (among them old photos from good old Bangkok), street food, a twist dancing group, sepia photo taking, a choir and other singers. I wish Lufthansa many more successful years with their venture in Thailand.

PS: I did not bring a camera and therefore do not possess any photos. I also somehow forgot to study the labels of the bottles carefully. That’s a cumbersome affair for me if waiters are serving.