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Winter Gardens

Words & Photography: Courtesy of The Plant Journal

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It was on an early Monday morning in mid-January that we took the S-Bahn to the Botanischer Garten in Berlin. The gardens are located in the Lichterfelde area of Berlin in the outer areas of the city but are easily accessible by public transport. It was our first trip to the city and the gardens were high on our list of things to see. 

It was eerily quiet as we approached the garden gates, a white layer of snow blanketed the ground creating the kind of light that only comes with a January snow. We walked through the Arboretum, admiring the frost covered Evergreens that sheltered us from the harsh winter light that occasionally pierced through. We walked swiftly, in anticipation of the welcome relief of the warmth the glasshouses would offer for our frozen hands.

Approaching the two largest glasshouses, it felt like we were in some kind of fantasy land. The spires of the Mediterranean house, or the ‘Cathedral of Plants’, draws your attention from a distance, the grey sky reflected in their glass making them even more striking. Inside, we attempted to warm our camera lenses after the sudden change in temperature. Next door is the largest Tropical house, a looming dome of metal beams and structures; we wandered through in complete awe of its architecture. Inside, the views are just as impressive, the enormous ceilings are high enough to house a giant bamboo of twenty six metres. We meandered through the various linked glasshouses and reached the Cactus House just as winter’s low midday sun shone through the glass panes and lit the inside in a warm glow. We were fooled for a moment that we could actually be in a desert somewhere in North America. The snow muted many of the colours that would usually be found here, allowing the stunning architecture of the Botanical Garden’s many glasshouses to stand out. We were lucky enough to capture a unique glimpse of this winter sanctuary at a time where we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.

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