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SCHMIEDEFELD

PHENOLOGICAL GARDEN

An ancient science comes to life in Schmiedefeld.

Phenology is the study of recurring developmental phenomena in nature. When do the maple leaves sprout? When does the cherry tree blossom? When does the apple fall? It is one of the oldest known sciences trying to grapple with these kinds of questions. Starting in the 19th century, there have been attempts to standardize these observations. Today, there is a worldwide network of scientific phenological gardens dedicated to studying these phenomena. One such garden has been established in Schmiedefeld. Professor Björn Machalett is a native of Schmiedefeld. After studying in Berlin, he was awarded a scholarship in Massachusetts. He is currently a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, and lives in a house in his hometown. He created the garden together with members of his association and now commutes between the phenological gardens in Erfurt and Schmiedefeld am Rennsteig. Although the two gardens are only a short drive apart, climatically speaking they exist in rather different worlds, as Schmiedefeld is located at a higher altitude up in the mountains. We asked him what has surprised him since he started the garden in 2018. His answer? “How well the almond-peach trees are doing”, he says. The garden can be visited at any time. Even in the barren winter season, there is much to observe.

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