Seeing the Woods

A blog by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society


Leave a comment

Munich’s Beautiful Botanical Garden

By Samantha Rothbart

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Munich Botanical Garden may be a little sparse at the moment, but even without the vibrant green foliage that dominates the city in the summer, it is an impressive sight. You might expect the leafless branches to create an air of dejection. On the contrary, they serve to highlight the beautiful structure of the trees and plants—what Roy Campbell called the “clear anatomy” in his poem Autumn.

Even so, new signs of life are starting to soften the severe edges. Green shoots peek through the rich, dark soil in the ornamental garden. Soon, the tulips will begin to flower and the plants will need to be potted and then replanted, Dr. Andreas Gröger explains. He is a botanist and the scientific curator of the Botanical Garden. Though he is not overly fond of the stylized beauty of the ornamental garden—he was initially quite hesitant about having to assume responsibility for it—he acknowledges that it’s a magnet for the “normal” folk who find themselves out and about for the day. The manicured lawns and whimsical flowers are a gateway drug for first-time visitors and would-be botanists. They draw us deeper into the secretive greenhouses of the wild species that so fascinate Gröger, and expose us to what he calls “real ecology.” Continue reading


Leave a comment

Photo of the Week: Tobias Schiefer

photooftheweek

Monarch butterfly at Munich’s botanical gardens. Photograph: Tobias Schiefer.

A Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, rests on a plant at the tropical butterfly house at Munich’s botanical gardens. Monarch butterflies have been the focus of many environmental campaigns on account of their dwindling numbers. Their demise has been linked to human activity, most recently in relation to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.