Thursday, March 31, 2011

Plant Me a Garden

Did you know there are dwarves in Deutschland?

It's true.  Lots and lots of dwarves.  They live in these cute little houses.  

And drink water from a well.   

Not buying it?  Okay, well obviously there aren't dwarves in Deutschland (but how cool would that be if there were! It would totally fit with the storybook feel I have of the forests and hills of Germany!)  

So just what are these little houses?  

Do people actually live in these things? 

That would be a no.  These are people's gardens.  

In a little community of gardens.  

It's called a Gartenverein. In English, a garden club.   

And they're all over Germany.  But why, you ask? Most people live in apartments in the city.  It's rare to find houses with yards.  There just isn't enough space.  Or money, for most people, because owning a house is rather expensive for the average person here.  

But Germans also really like being outside.  And they like to garden, which doesn't exactly fit with the apartment lifestyle here.  So they have these garden clubs, where people can become members and rent a space in order to have their own little garden outside the city.  

In the winter it looks like an abandoned community of shacks.  

But in the spring and summer, they come alive with flowers of all different colors.  With people, enjoying a long summer day with friends.  With wonderful sounds of laughter and the glorious smells of barbecue.   

Each one is unique and different. 

This one made me laugh.  The sign says "Caution, Vicious Dog."

But really, how so not ferocious does that dog look? I mean seriously, he's smiling and prancing. I was shaking in fear. 

And there you have your German culture lesson for the day.  And I have my dose of sunshine on this dreary, chilly, rainy day.  The bright side about the rain though?  It came after days, and days (okay only 4 but that's days and days here) of sunshine, so I didn't totally hate it.  

And the rain is definitely a spring rain.  The feel of it.  The smell of it.  The fact that birds are still chirping in spite of it.  So while today was a bit chilly, it wasn't freezing, and while it was a bit rainy, it was nice having it still feel springy rather than going back to the winter mess of a few weeks ago.

Now if only I had a beautiful little garden to sit in and enjoy this beautiful spring weather....although, given my inability to even keep my little basil plant (or the second one I bought to replace the first one, or the third one I bought to replace the second one) alive in my little apartment, I don't think der Gartenverein would let me in.  

Maybe I should just "happen" to be walking by this little garden around the same time that I figure out they are there (this will of course require a bit of stalking) and then just strike up a little conversation, get a little invite and enjoy the beautiful spring weather while being in the company of a fellow American.  

Or maybe I'll skip the whole creepy stalking thing and just wait for two months till we are home in America enjoying the heat and sunshine in the garden, by the pool, grilling burgers with our family and friends.  Yes, that is a much better plan.      


Carissa said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm starting a garden this summer and I've been craving burgers! You can come garden and grill with meeee!! :)

Cara said... Best Blogger Tips

I've been craving burgers too!!! Please, please, please let's make them this summer!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I have some Omaha steak burgers in the freezer you can enjoy! Mom

Frank Hartmann said... Best Blogger Tips

Two additions to this very entertaining blog:
1) The dog for sure does not seem very ferocious, yet the post scriptum on the sign states 'I'm grown-up by now' (I guess this is supposed to be the gag of the whole matter)

2) Believe it or not, there ARE dwarves (Zwerge) in Germany and especially in German gardens: They're called "Gartenzwerge" (which I looked up is being translated as 'garden gnomes' or 'lawn gnomes'). Don't ask me what reason there is for their existance - I suppose nobody anymore knows how it started, but there's a whole industry that deals with Gartenzwergen of all kinds (

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