Personalized Ecotours of Germany to discover Germany's Secret Green Architecture and Gardens - Green Harmony Tours


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GermanyI found the tour as a whole as very positive.  The whole idea of Bitterfeld, the most polluted city in Germany becoming clean and using its soft coal mine areas for recreation--beautiful lakes and surrounding trees, shrubs and trails.  I found the people on the tour to be a lot of fun, energetic, and knowledgeable. 

It was fast, furious, and fun.  I liked the combination of you and your father.  You both really know your plants and are enthusiastic about them and people.  I liked the places we went to especially, Church for Bach, Bike ride***, swimming, coal mine, Potsdam Sanssouci, botanical garden, Bauhaus, Hundertwasser buildings, Petra's garden, All of Berlin.  The whole thing was great, but these are really memorable.  I also liked Leipzig .  I would get the spaghetti pizza next time.

I had a great time on the tour and many great memories.  ... In trying to keep the things that I enjoyed in my life that I learned about myself on the tour, I take walks with my camera and a notepad around neighborhoods and main street.  I bought some quark at whole foods and that good thin bread with cucumbers and tomatoes. 

- Peter Northway, Sarasota, FL, 2006 Tour

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The tour took us to some less well-known, but not less fascinating spots of Middle Germany, which just over a decade and a half ago were part of some of the most inaccessible parts of East Germany. Much has changed in the times since, and this area is experiencing a slow but steady renaissance as the historic and cultural heart of Germany .

Most impressive were the literally large-scale evidences of paradigm shifts in thinking and handling of the natural environment. Where once [there was] open-pit mining and burning of brown coal ruled, scarred the earth and constantly polluted the surroundings, immense tracts of seemingly pristine wilderness, environment- and soul-healing landscapes have been created. … The open-pit coal mines, which sometimes reached a depth of a few tens of meters, have been filled with water to create huge inland lakes which stretch over a large area near the town of Bitterfeld . These large bodies of water, along with their shores, are now great recreational and environmental assets to the communities nearby. They are steadily attracting more and more visitors from around the country, giving the local economy a good boost. … The lakes are circumscribed by a network of walking and biking paths, which wind through an interestingly varied landscape, ranging from stands of trees, swaths of grasslands and drifts of various perennial plants. … Closer to the town, an attractive harbor of sorts has been created, with beaches and waterfront restaurants and eateries. Not to miss is a tract of perennial planting display, designed by our very own, and native son of the town of Bitterfeld , Wolfgang Oehme, who has [gladly] played a role in the comeback of this area of the country. Another item not to miss is a climb to the top of the tower along the waterfront, a lighthouse of sorts along this inland lake, which at nighttime is festooned with a dazzling light display of changing and ‘moving' colors.

For a long time in its history now since the end of the Second World War, Germany has been spearheading the idea of using landscape upgrading and park creation as a means and catalyst for development of towns and regions. The country actively organizes various types and ranges of garden shows at the state, local and international level. As such the country has a rich array of garden shows each year, and in addition, many wonderful parks that have functioned as garden shows at one time or another, and which are retained as public open space. These garden shows are for many designers an opportunity to experiment and create new visions of garden and landscape design. Therefore the past garden show parks are a rich source of inspiring and innovative ideas. The current trend of development in the country is much geared towards sustainability and ecological responsibility in all endeavors, and this is reflected in various aspects of the current garden shows and some of the more recent garden show parks. At one such park in Magdeburg , a former landfill dump has been turned into a garden show site.

Here too, Wolfgang could not resist leaving his mark in a town of his birth country. A small pocket park by the Allianz Bank contains some of his current favorite palette of plants, amongst which [is] a fabulous stand of Polygonum polymorphum... As is always the case with the Oehme's, they cannot resist a chance to do some weeding either. So, in sight of all the perplexed passers by, Wolfgang and some of the tour members started pulling up some small weed-tree saplings which had started to grow between the perennial borders.

These are just but a few of my fond recollections of a pleasant and insightful Tour of Middle Germany, organized by Green Harmony Tours, which I attended last year. I look forward to another tour full of surprises and discoveries of Middle Germany's quest to a more wholesome, ecological and esthetic future.

- Achim Muller, Den Haag, The Netherlands, 2006 Tour

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