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(June 20-25, 2006)

Andrew Reid

My Back Garden

Carsten T. Rees


Freiburg, Germany

June 23, 2006, 18:52 CEST

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© 2006 Carsten T. Rees, All Rights Reserved.

This panorama was taken in a „Schrebergarten“ or „Kleingarten“ (small garden) in Freiburg. „Kleingärten“ are plots of land that are of up to 400 squaremeters (app. 100 acres ) in size. These plots are grouped into larger units of several tens of units up to a few hundreds of units. These groups are called „Kleingartenanlage“. Each „Anlage“ is run by an association. The individual gardener is a member of this association and he leases his garden from the association. The gardens are located within town, close to the flats of the gardeners. The paths between the gardens are open to the public and there is up to 40 % of the area of such an „Anlage“ open to the public – paths, meadows, playgounds....

There are rules for the gardening in a „Kleingarten“. So in each garden you will find a mix of flowers, bushes, vegetables, and sometimes small trees, small spots of lawn or even a tiny pond. In each garden you will also find a little hut. Despising the use of chemistry in their gardens, the gardeners prefer biological methods of pest control. So these gardens are habitats for birds, hedgehogs, lizards, frogs and many insects. Nowadays even foxes are found here, hunting for rabbits and thus defending the gardeners cabbages. The bio-diversity in these gardens is much higher than it is in public parks.

The first „Kleingarten“-Association was founded 1864 in Leipzig by the paedagogue Dr. Ernst Innozenz Hauschild. He named this association after his late colleague Dr. Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber. Hence the name „Schrebergarten“. It was the time of industrialization in Germany. The children of the workers grew up in grey urban deserts with little or no contact to nature. So Hauschild leased a meadow and let school children plant flowers and care for their little plots of land. Soon the whole family cared for the garden. By 1869 there were 100 plots on this first meadow. At that time the first „Kleingarten“-Association was founded and equipment sheds, little huts and fences were built. By 1891 there were another 14 associations founded in Leipzig alone. By that time the initial idea had developed into a movement, that swept over Germany. By now there are more than 1 Million „Schrebergärten“ in Germany, summing up to more than 46.000 hectars (app. 178 square miles) of land.

This „Kleingarten“-movement was supported by the authorities for several reasons: The public health was promoted by work in fresh air and by consuming the vegetables and fruits grown in the own gardens. Spending their time caring for their gardens and enjoying these gardens, the workers would find little or no time for political activities. Germany was still a „Kaiserreich“ by that time and the emperor had forbidden Socialists and Social-Democrats in 1878.

After World War II „Kleingärten“ were built in many other countries of Europe to improve the public supply of vegetables .

But now back to the garden in my panorama. The garden is 200 squaremeters (app. 50 acres) in size. This garden is run by a widow who lives in a flat. You can see her harvesting red currants. In summer she gets up early. She regularly cares for the grave of here late husband. Then she goes to work in her garden. All the vegetables she needs for here living, she grows in this garden. She told me, that there are still some beans from last year in her deep freezer. But this year the winter was long and hard. So she has missed already one harvest of vegetables. And even worse, after the long winter, the summer is really dry. Nonetheless the widow still enjoys working in the garden and „the gardening keeps her young“.

The panorama was taken after several days of very cloudy weather – not much rain though. Finally the sun came out, but it was still very windy. And all this plants in the garden insisted on moving in the wind. Some of the plants grown in the garden are: peas, beans, kohlrabis, currants, tomatoes, carrots, salads, ... This is an ecologically run garden – can you see the compost-heap?


Europe / Germany

Lat: 48° 0' 2.26" N
Long: 7° 49' 6.51" E

Elevation: 248 m

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

EOS 300D, Sigma 8mm circular fisheye, Manfrotto 303 SPH, Realviz Stitcher, Photoshop

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