Our quiz about plants near Berlin’s U8 subway line is officially over! The poster in the Bernauer Straße station came down last week and it’s time to announce a winner and reveal the answers to the quiz.
If you haven’t tried the quiz, you can still find it here – just for fun, no more prizes will be awarded. If you’re ready to see the answers, read on.
Apparently many people found the quiz quite daunting. Thousands of people saw the poster and over one hundred started the online quiz, but only a fraction of those actually completed it. Of those, only two people guessed the correct location of all six plants. Therefore, we have decided to award prizes to both of these two plant detectives, first and second place being decided by a coin toss. Drumroll please….
First place goes to Karin Sörgel! She will receive a photo of her choice from the six featured in the quiz.
Second place goes to Ole Grassow, who will receive a copy of the catalog for the subway poster exhibition.
Congratulations! Now here, finally, are the stories behind our six mystery plants.
The hardy dandelion above was growing at the nearly plant-less intersection of Weinmeisterstraße and Alte Schönhauserstraße. I wrote about this intersection’s brave little dandelions back in October. I thought the fancy silver sandles and manicured toenails were a good hint that this picture might have been taken in a boutiquey area of Mitte.
This tree’s location obviously couldn’t be pinpointed with any certainty. It would have to be an educated guess. The tree had just struck me when I visited the Voltastraße station, because the station lies directly underneath an elevated, grassy traffic island lined with dozens of these trees. Here’s the view when emerging from the station.
I find it hard to imagine how the trees are able to survive being hemmed in on all sides by automobiles and subway cars.
This beautiful little kiosk used to brighten the elevated subway platform at Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg. It was crammed absolutely full with plants and painted green. Unfortunately, it closed last year and was replaced by a slick espresso stand without personality.
This photo appeared cropped on the poster; here’s the full version which gives away the location. That’s the back porch of the beloved Ankerklause bar on Maybach Ufer, the canal bank in the part of Neukölln that juts up into Kreuzberg and the site of the biweekly Turkish market. The steps lead from nowhere to nowhere but are inhabitated by a great number of pigeons and this very odd bush, which appears to be an amalgam of our tree of the moment, Ailanthus, and Boston ivy. The scene is a couple blocks from the Schönleinstraße station.
This plant party is taking place on the S-Bahn tracks at Gesundbrunnen, where there is also a U-Bahn station. Gesundbrunnen is an extremely busy junction of regional trains and S-Bahns going in all directions, yet the plants seem to take it all in stride.
Finally, this green rooftop with optical illusion, at Kottbusser Tor, caught the attention of both Sara and I back on the first day of the Urban Plant Research project. From my logbook that day, “Sara saw it first and let out a splutter of confusion. ‘What!?’ On the side of a building, an odd mural could be seen, covering a small, rectangular area of the wall and depicting an alternate reality where the wall turned 90 degrees and became the facade. The weird way this image was cropped undescored its unreality. But, but. Ivy vines were growing up the seemingly unpainted part of the wall and onto the mural… a closer squint showed that they were also painted. And were yet other vines real?”
And there you have it. The secret lives of our six subway neighbors!
A belated thanks to the U-Bahn Blog for writing about the exhibition and especially about our poster. Congratulations to our winners, and to everyone else, if you would like to gripe that the quiz was too difficult, please feel free to do so below ;)