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A garden monument from the 1950s

The Steppengarten was laid out in 1953 by Willy Alverdes. As the director of Berlin’s Tiergarten park, he was in charge of the redesign of the public park, which had been destroyed in the war.

On a sunny and very dry slope, only 300 m from the Brandenburg Gate, his vision took shape of a pastel-coloured fragrant garden with many well-adjusted grasses and perennials, some wild plants, but also roses and irises in vivid reds and blues.

Despite the construction of the Berlin Wall and the relief road nearby, the garden was maintained for many decades thanks to regular care by gardeners.

Working against the loss of garden culture

At the beginning of this millennium, the eastern part of the Tiergarten was completely redesigned in a 19th-century style. The Steppengarten, too, was cleared and replanted – now with different grasses and perennials. But, only a year and a half later, there wasn’t much left among the nettles and other uncontrolled growth. The Steppengarten was in danger of being lost completely.

Since the beginning of 2011, we have taken care of the Steppengarten in our free time as volunteers. Once a week, between two and 20 of us turn up and, per year, plant around 3000 grasses and perennials to fill in the gaps that remain.

We invest at least ten unpaid hours of work a week. We did, however, receive a little bit of money from the borough of Mitte last year for our volunteer work. We spent all the money on plants. The Parks Department says that it has no capacity to look after the garden. If we were to stop, the Steppengarten would be lost.

But we’re not yet ready to throw in the towel. We enjoy the working plant beds, tough grasses, beautiful combinations of blossoms and the fun we have working together. Helping hands and donations are always very welcome.

You can visit the garden free of charge at any time – it is freely accessible. If you have any questions or would like to meet us, just come around on Fridays from 2 p.m. or ring us to make an appointment (Contact).
(Translation: Andrew Davison, andrew(at)uebersetzung-davison.de)


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