Visit of allotment gardens in Dresden – an excursion report

Exploring the allotment gardens and getting in contact with the gardners (©E. Auch)

I am Pooja Debnath from Bangladesh. I am a student of Tropical Forestry at the TU Dresden. Before coming to Dresden, I heard that Dresden is a city of natural beauty and the people of this city gives priority to conserve their nature and biodiversity. After arriving there, I found that the city is much more beautiful than I have imagined. In every house, there is a beautiful garden, which is impressive. I was always interested to learn about the urban garden practices of Dresden. An excursion, arranged for the students of the “Urban Forestry” module under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Eckhard Auch, gives me the opportunity to observe the garden from close and to have an interpersonal conversation with some gardeners.

Although allotment garden has strong historical background in Germany, to me it was completely a new term. This is, because in our country we do not have such allotment garden practices. Therefore, I was so much excited to know about the allotment garden practices.

We visited one of the 360 Dresdner allotment gardens on 26th October 2019, the name of the Allotment garden was “Höhenluft I”. There we received a warm welcome by the representatives (Chairperson Mrs. Thomack and Deputy Chairperson Mr. Völkel). After that, they took us to visit their gardens.

In “Höhenluft 1” they have a total of 190 gardens plots, and each garden plots has an individual owner. Plots are separated by fences and numbered. Although it depends on the gardener to give emphasize, either on fruits and vegetables production or flower production, every garden has at least one fruit tree, two or three types of flowers, and a vegetable producing beets. They do not use chemical pesticides, and that makes it to an ecofriendly cultivation practice. They add to the beauty of the garden by developing a relaxing place, to spend their time with family and friends and also to enjoy the natural beauty of garden. Besides this, some gardens have a small playground, and this is how they are involving their kids in gardening, and also develop relations between kids and nature. After visiting the garden, we all gathered in the assembly room where they have prepared some nice foods for us. At the same time, Mr. Völkel presented the history of the garden, rules and regulations of their association, their achievement and the difficulties they faced. It is a total non-profit association, members are not allowed to cultivate for commercial purpose. They arrange also different programs and gatherings, to involve kids and thus to strengthen the social network amongst the members.

That day we also visited the “Apfelgarten”, a neighborhood garden in the midst of the city. Dr. Maxi Domke presented the aims and activities of the garden, it was similar but the outlook was not similar. The apple garden had not the single parcels, all gardeners work together. It was not that organized like the other one, due to adopting natural cultivation practices and an organic layout.

In my country Bangla Desh, big cities like Dhaka lack of both natural beauty and suitable land for gardening. Some people are now trying to make our cities green by practicing rooftop gardening, which is a good start, but not enough and also have restrictions. If it would be possible to develop an association and to start practicing allotment gardening in small scale, it would contribute to save our nature and biodiversity, and gives our future generation an opportunity to learn about nature and to provide space for socialization. Personally, I found that these allotment gardens could be an ideal model for our country.

By Pooja Debnath

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