Kleingartenverein Bornholm II e.V. 

Eschengraben - an Existential Lifeline

Watercourses in gardens can provide valuable habitats for plants and animals. Living beings find a welcoming domicile in the near-natural gardens along the Eschengraben, the small creek, which crosses our gardens, in an otherwise uninviting environment of a big city like Berlin.

Unlike today, the moat at our feet carried water all year round until the middle of the 19th century. It owes its name to the ash trees that grew on its shores. The Eschengraben originated in the area of today's Thulestrasse. From there the water flowed alongside the road, that was later named after it, crossing the "Nasse Dreieck" on its course and later merging with the "Panke" river.

A creek is more than just water and a garden is not merely a source of fresh fruit and vegetables.

With increasing housing construction at the beginning of the 20th century, the Eschengraben was led through underground pipes starting from its source to the Bornholm II allotment garden. Only here does it run above ground, serving mainly as a collecting basin for rainwater. Today, the water level of this small watercourse depends exclusively on the weather and rainfall. In hot summer months it might occasionally even dry out.

Toads, frogs, snails and newts find a perfect habitat here, where ferns and other moisture-loving plants grow. Here, our common toads spawn, dragonflies are found and there is even a population of red-bellied toad in lot 19, right next to Eschengraben. Furthermore the ditch is a valuable feeding and hunting ground for birds and bats.

In order to preserve this small biotope and to continue to give the animals and plants living there a home in Bornholm II, the allotment garden is working together with the water authority of the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection to carefully renaturate the Eschengraben.

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