The Botanical Garden in Frankfurt
In times like these many of us long for nature. An alpine meadow, a thick leafy green jungle, or a babbling brook can ease us into relaxation and tranquillity. While we may not be able to travel further afield, we shouldn’t oversee what is right on our own doorstep. I’m sure you all know Grüneburgpark. However maybe you didn’t know that located adjacent to Grüneburgpark is a carefully curated green oasis.
The Botanical Garden is deeply rooted in Frankfurt’s rich history. In 1763 Dr. Johann Senckenberg started a foundation in his name, which is still active today this day. The Botanical Garden emerged out of this foundation. From 1914 onwards the garden belonged to the University and supported research and education. After the life sciences department moved to Riedberg, the Botanical Garden came under the ownership of Frankfurt City and is closely connected to the Palmengarten. It is a treat for all those botanists among us. There are thousands of different plant species to peruse, with a focus on rare and endangered species local to Hessen and Frankfurt. However, you do not need to be a plant expert or fanatic to appreciate this well-kept work of art.
How to get there
Plants are grouped together by region. There are two entrances. The Siesmayerstrasse entry point provides parking facilities and acts as a border between the Palmengarten and Botanical Garden. The second entrance is inside Grüneburgpark. If you are entering from the park, take a left to head into the East Asian jungle. The flower and plant beds are criss-crossed with gravel pathways which will take you on a gorgeous green adventure. From false spirea and drumstick primroses through dense Asian bamboo thickets you will emerge at the lily filled pond. On the other side of this body of water lie the tall beech and gnarled oak forests of central Europe. Don’t miss the royal ferns or the swamp willow in the northern tip of the garden. Rounding back towards the entry point you will come across alpine rockcress and get a taste of North American flora.
The variety is such that there is always something to marvel at – regardless of the season. In the spring the garden is bursting with all sorts of bright blossoms. Later in the year the green foliage takes over and creates a dense jungle canopy in certain areas. Check the information boards and website for plants of the month. Along the numerous pathways are a generous number of benches. It’s the perfect place to take a break, read a book or just listen to the birds chirping and the bees buzzing.
A medicinal plants garden with an audio guide
In 2007 the Senckenberg medicinal plants garden was erected at the southern end. Here there are plant beds grouped by ailment and illness. For those that really want to dive in and deepen their plant knowledge there is an app with an integrated audio guide which supplements the information already present in the garden itself. All information stands are equipped with Braille for the blind and are wheelchair accessible.
The garden is also complete with its own beehives and insect hotels in an effort to cultivate and nurture insect diversity. Guided tours of the garden are offered monthly with all events posted to their website . If you are a plant lover and want to get further involved there is also the opportunity to become a member of the Freundeskreis Botanischer Garten Frankfurt am Main. Here you can support the foundation to continue their efforts in maintaining the garden and furthering research as well as protection of endangered plant species. So, the next time you feel that yearning for the green hills, the rocky mountains or the sandy beach? Why not visit this green oasis? After all it is free of charge.
British born European. Loves exercise and the outdoors. After stints in China, South East Asia and Australia now calls Frankfurt his home. Has a soft spot for champagne and can never get enough schnitzel. Avid traveller and keen photographer.