Botanical Park Blankenfelde, Berlin

Client: Grün Berlin GmbH
Cooperation: UBB Dr. Klaus Möller GmbH, Hans-Georg Kosel, Dr. Hanna Köstler, Ökoplan und Dr. Susanne Salinger, Silas Ploner, Büro Christian Meyer
Period: 2014-2016
Dimension: 20 ha

The more than 100-year-old Botanical Park Blankenfelde in Berlin-Pankow was founded by Albert Brodersen on a former sewage field around 1910 as a school garden and has been listed since 1994. In order to enable the further development of the area in the area of tension between botanical show and greenhouse areas and cultural landscape as well as the preservation of the ecological potential, a development and measures concept was created as a basis for the measures to be carried out, which was submitted as a project outline within the framework of the environmental relief program. The proposed bundles of measures optimize the ecological conditions and the performance of the natural balance and preserve the diversity, uniqueness and beauty of the landscape. In addition, educational and local recreational opportunities are created.

Task | Objective

In the area of conflict between nature conservation, monument protection and recreational demands, the primary task was to make the characteristic landscape elements of the Brandenburg landscape, in their beauty and uniqueness, tangible again for the visitor. This required an extremely complex and careful redevelopment of the part of the Botanical Park that is under landscape and monument protection and the clearing of vistas for the perception of the gentle topography. In addition to the removal of disturbing structures and the construction of new paths, the UEP II project prioritized the following

  • Removal of non-native and invasive species through careful silvicultural methods in the park forest, which is particularly worthy of protection.
  • the dense woody plants along the paths were thinned out
  • the old fruit tree avenues were completed by new plantings
  • the watercourses have been made accessible again by selective removal of woody plants
  • the botanical axis as the main development is completed in its representativeness by wild shrubs accompanying the paths
  • former storage and compost areas were integrated into the park.

In addition, the Geological Wall, which is a special monument unique to the Berlin-Brandenburg area, was restored. Finally, a concept was developed for the sustainable and public-friendly management of the three farmland areas.

Layers of time

In 1909, Prussia’s first central school garden, founded in 1874 in the Humboldthain, was moved to Berlin-Blankenfelde and redesigned by the Berlin city garden director Albert Brodersen. From 1939 to 1952, the school garden was used primarily for the supply of vegetables and vegetable plants. From 1952, the site was the central station of the Young Naturalists “Walter Ulbricht”. In 1977, the school garden was taken over by the Humboldt University for research and teaching, which again strengthened the educational aspect. Since 1994, the park has been listed as a historical monument. Part of the Botanical Park has also been under landscape protection since 2004 (LSG Blankenfelde). As of 2011, Grün Berlin GmbH manages the facility as “Botanischer Volkspark Blankenfelde-Pankow” under a usage agreement with the Pankow district office.


Forest development | Forest development measures were elaborated for the approx. 8 ha park forest. The aim was to maintain the forest mosaic (or its relicts) artificially created during the school garden period as a botanical feature and to sustainably develop the different forest communities in such a way that their characteristics remain and can be perceived by the visitor. All forest types were made accessible by a circular path, which also functions as a forest nature trail. In the interior of the forest away from the main paths, the development of natural forest areas with old and dead wood was promoted. Through the targeted removal of invasive species and non-native woody plants and careful silvicultural measures (such as the use of horses), it was possible to preserve the ecologically valuable structures (especially breeding and cavity trees, tree relics and deadwood) in this area and ensure a “near-natural” development of the park forest.

Fruit tree avenues | The historic fruit tree avenues represent a special highlight in the seasonal sequence. Blossoming in spring as well as the harvest of the old fruit varieties in late summer and autumn attract many visitors. The oldest fruit trees in the People’s Botanical Park date back to the 1940s. Fruit trees have been carefully treated and revitalized through pruning. Where there were gaps in the avenues, old fruit varieties were replanted. Prior to this, an appropriate survey and variety identification of the tree population was carried out.

Geological Wall | The Geological Wall was built in 1909 on the eastern edge of the Park Forest in the Botanical People’s Park. It represents an ideal section through the layers of the earth’s crust of Central Europe. Rocks from the Harz Mountains, Thuringia, Saxony, Silesia and the Rhineland were assembled for this purpose.
As part of the UEP II measures, the Geological Wall was carefully cleaned and sealed. Missing stones or rock formations were restored in accordance with the historical concept.
In order to reactivate the original purpose of the wall, namely educational mediation, the immediate surroundings of the Geological Wall were optimized for the stay of larger groups of visitors (e.g. school classes).

Botanical Axis | The Botanical Axis is the central access to the Botanical Park and is lined on both sides by herbaceous borders. The eastern section was already redesigned several years ago.
For the western section, it was first necessary to remove the woody plants that severely impaired the overview and orientation or no longer did justice to the representative character of the axis due to inadequate maintenance. Since the western section lies within the LSG, a planting concept with native wild perennials was developed to continue the perennial plantings. The planting is accentuated by single, multi-stemmed birch trees and thus guides the park visitor into the near-natural park forest.

Watercourse restoration | The existing water bodies (Waldteich, ditch and Großer Zingerteich) are major attractions of the park. In the past decades, they had become silted up and the shore areas were hardly noticeable due to woody growth. The Waldteich was desilted on the basis of a restoration concept. In addition, the water level was regulated at all water bodies. The riparian areas were thinned out at certain points, taking into account nature conservation aspects, so that visual references to the water bodies were opened up.

Three-field agriculture | A special feature of the park is the integrated agricultural use. Here, the ideal-typical Brandenburg landscape with its gentle topography comes into its own particularly well. For this purpose, a concept for three-field agriculture was developed on the three existing arable fields of the Volkspark, each of which is about 1 ha in size. Under the motto “beautiful agriculture” an ecological cultivation was initiated. Due to the location in the landscape protection area, special emphasis was placed on cultivation methods that are gentle on the soil and support biodiversity, as well as plant selection that promotes species. The concept includes the following contents:

  • a modular crop rotation concept including beautiful and useful aspects, such as soil fertility, green manuring, flowering aspect + added value for fauna and flora
  • crop selection including regionally typical crops, forgotten crops and alternative cereals
  • a changing annual motto that emphasizes different components of agriculture and can be linked to exhibition elements, campaigns and information events.

Through the changing annual theme and rotating crop rotation, park visitors experience the familiar landscape in a new way each year.