Anything green that grows in Berlin is playing an every-man-for-himself game. Are you a delicate and many-leaved weed with tiny white flowers, a hearty disposition, and a fondness for very parched soil? That dirt around that tree where dogs and people like to whiz would be an awesome home for you. Are you a very tall and thin weed who is quite homely but won’t take no for an answer? The cracks next to this building totally have your name on them. Or maybe you are just an average grass variety with an appetite for adventure? Send your kind out to grow in between the tiny pavers in the sidewalk until you turn said sidewalk into a grassy path in the middle of the city.
In the narrow park blocks interspersed throughout the apartments of Berlin’s Wedding neighborhood, the walkways have become primeval spaces where plants are on the do-whatever-you-please program; the landscape architect who sculpted these places left with the 1980s and now the plants run the show. There are plenty of berries for birds to feast on. There are patches of green lawn in various states of disrepair. It is quiet—as you would expect any natural woodland space to be—though there are people around many corners: a group of old men playing cards at a table, kids playing hide-and-seek, old ladies out for a little stroll, bicyclists, dog walkers, and so on.
Neglect isn’t quite the right word for these spaces—perhaps botanical laissez faire? We went on an exploratory mission to find out a little bit more about the plants, trees, and shrubs that make up Berlin’s wild green spaces.