Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden

When I travel, I like to see health food stores, natural history museums and botanical gardens. So the first real tourist destination I made it to in Berlin was the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden. I got off the train at the Botanischer Garten stop and followed the signs along streets named for tulips and geraniums and hydrangeas. The woman who took my money was wearing a pentacle pendant necklace with a tiny amethyst at the center. The plants and their people make me feel like I am at home wherever I go.

I walked along the main path, across the vast grounds of the garden. Along my left side were a row of towering Bald Cypresses. Hello, friends! And buttonbush. Wait, really? Buttonbush? I was overcome with a bizarre sensation. Where am I? Back in Austin? I checked my map and sure enough, I was in the Americas section of the garden, and not dreaming. All of my familiar Bull Creek friends were welcoming me to Berlin.

A little ways up the trail I felt myself pulled, and followed the feeling to a glimpse of the Pyrenees – tiny mountain versions of familiar faces, planted on steep, rolling slopes. I haven’t been there yet, but I feel drawn to that area, the homeland of these delightful fairy wisps. It always seemed strange to me that people are called to places they’ve never been, but now that it’s happening to me I know it’s real. Even in artificial miniature, the Pyrenees call me. Some day… But enough of that, I’ve seen enough botanical gardens to be making my way directly to the glashausen. Isn’t that a wonderful word for them? I’m here for the weird.

First, though, I make a quick pass through the botanical museum. Wow, incredible models of plant physiology!

I’ll come back to study these more closely when I’m less intimidated by the German language. I’m too impatient right now. I just have to see what treasures are in the jewel boxes.

And then, just outside the greenhouses, moss! I’ve never seen anything like it. Bed
after bed of carefully labeled specimens, a collection of dozens if not
hundreds of species of moss. It is a wonderful feeling to know that
somewhere out there, perhaps long ago, someone took moss this seriously.
Anonymous moss lover, thank you! You are a kindred spirit, a long-lost
friend and I wonder what other passions we share!

The glashausen. At last. The home of the weird and unusual, the exotic and bizarre, the carnivorous and the huh? What the? How does that flower even work?


My appetite whetted, I left glad to know that I can come back on a cooler day to stroll the grounds. And then again. And again. What a wonderful place. I’ve hung the flyer for the orchid show in September in my kitchen and find myself excited whenever I think of it – like I’m 13 and the Duran Duran concert is next week! John Taylor! Nick Rhodes! Phalaenopsis! Paphiopedilum!

Farewell, noble Taxodium and dear love Cephalanthus. Bis bald!

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