Ffm. Not new, but more topical than ever: in the first flower show of its anniversary year, the Palmengarten is devoting itself to the theme of urban gardening. From Thursday, 9, to Sunday, 19 September, the garden experts in the gallery at the Palmenhaus show how everyone can become a gardener and what positive effects gardening in the city has, especially for insects. And that even a bag of soil is enough for this.
Urban Gardening - i.e. gardening in the city - is a trend. But the idea behind it is not new at all: "When people moved to the city in droves during the industrialization era, there was initially a lack of supply of fruit and vegetables. One solution was obvious: self-sufficiency via small garden plots that the workers cultivated themselves," says Palmengarten director Katja Heubach. "Around 1860, the 'allotment gardens' came along. They were originally intended to give children and young people the opportunity to play outdoors and to educate their parents about educational issues." Today, Germany is a country of allotment gardeners: around five million German citizens indulge in urban gardening.
Modern urban gardening has been popular in Germany for about 20 years. Its origins can be found in New York in the 1970s and Cuba in the 1980s. In the USA, activists wanted to improve living conditions in neglected neighbourhoods by greening backyards, gaps between buildings, roofs and verges. In Cuba, out of necessity - the Soviet Union had cut off oil supplies - people had to switch to post-fossil agriculture to ensure urban survival.
Whether in community gardens, on balconies or patios, space sets the limits in urban gardening. Raised beds, potatoes out of the bin, vertical gardening or growing directly in potting soil bags are the ways to go. The great thing about it: you reap what you sow yourself. You do something for the urban climate. And you ensure that insects find enough food: A tub or balcony box with kitchen herbs not only feeds the gardeners, but is also gladly flown to by insects. Thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, mint, oregano, berries of all kinds are not only popular with us humans. And the blossoms of carrots, radishes, rocket and broccoli are also highly prized by bees, bumblebees and co.
In addition to many tangible tips, the late summer flower show also features very special nesting places for insects: Six sculptures from the "Edenmenschen" series by Frankfurt artist Achim Ripperger, cut from tree trunks and drilled with holes, can be found among sunflowers, dahlias and Indian flower cane.
"The theme of this year's exhibition refers, as it were, to our guiding theme of 'Flower and Pollinator Ecology', which we proclaimed on the occasion of the opening of our new Flower and Butterfly House," says Heubach. "We all know by now how indispensable insects are to ecological cycles and especially to us humans. And also that everyone can do something to help the six-legged creatures thrive and multiply. There's room on even the smallest windowsill - our Urban Gardening show offers our guests lots of ideas on how gardening in the city can succeed. And we'll also be providing lots of insect-friendly implementation ideas at our late summer action days on 10 and 11 September."