It looks like Sara and Leslie are not the only curious duo hot on the trails of Berlin’s wild plants. This new guidebook, to be published this summer, also finds two creative women, Heiderose Häsler and Iduna Wünschmann, seeking out often-overlooked plants and researching their connection to the people and history of the city.
Titled Berliner Pflanzen: Das wilde Grün der Großstadt (Berlin Plants: The Wild Greenery of the City), the book is presented by a small publishing house called Edition Terra that specializes in guidebooks about Germany, with a special focus on trees and gardens (and windmills!). The book has 21 chapters and shares some topics with this blog, such as edible plants and the triumph of the Chinese immigrants (Ailanthus). But it also goes off in its own directions, such as putting a positive spin on the proliferation of non-native plants like arugula: that the plant population of Berlin sets a good precedent for the human population by being culturally diverse .
I received a preview broschure with an excerpt from a chapter about Mauerblümchen, which is called Kennilworth Ivy in English, but whose German name literally means Wallflower, immediately calling to mind the various walls that have stood in Berlin, from The Wall to the old city wall from the 14th century. The excerpt looks promising – lovely pictures, history, and an interesting side story about how interns at the veritable old porcelain company Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin have created a fresh new design honoring this humble native flower.
If you’re interested in the book, it will be available in German later this summer, directly from the publisher’s website. The list price is 14,80 Euro but for pre-orders placed by July 15, there’s a special price of 11,80 Euros.
If you’d be interested in reading the book in English, please write to the publisher and let them know! They do publish English versions of some of their books. I’ve already emailed them to say I’d be interested in working on the translation.
If you know of any other good books about urban plants, or about plants in New York City, please let us know. We will be putting together a small reading corner at our temporary Urban Plant Research community center at Open Source Gallery and will be hitting the Brooklyn library to stock up on useful books.