The German word Frühjahr is, according to the online dictionaries, a synonym for Frühling, or “spring” (the season). However I sometimes have taken the word to mean “beginning of the year”, and so, with the proximity of the advent of spring for the ancient Irish Celts (February 1) and for ancient Rome (February 5), Frühjahr seems like just the right word for now.  Das deutsche Wort Frühjahr ist nach einen online Wörterbuch ein Synomym für die Jahreszeit Frühling. Allerdings habe ich gelegentlich den Begriff als „Beginn des Jahres“ verstanden, und so, kurz vor Ankunft des Frühlings (für die altertümlichen irischen Kelten der 1.Februar, für die Römer der 5. Februar), scheint mir Frühjahr  das richtige Worte für gerade diesen Zeit, jetzt,  zu sein.

IMG_1075Flower bulbs are sprouting from the soil already. It still seems  a little early for this. Blumentriebe sprießen schon aus dem Boden. Es scheint noch immer etwas zu früh dafür.

IMG_1076As an experiment, we took two small wild hollies or Ilex (Stechpalme) and transplanted them to pots on the terrace. One looked not to have survived the transplanting but we decided to wait and see if it rallies after the winter. (They are both from private ground with permission from the owner.)  Wir haben versuchweise zwei wilde Stechplamen in Töpfe auf der Terrasse umgesetzt. Einer sah so aus als hätte er das nicht überlebt, aber wir entschieden uns dafür den Winter abzuwarten um zu sehen, was sich noch zeigt. (die Pflanzen wurden mit Erlaubnis des Besitzers von einem  privaten Grundstück geholt).

IMG_1077Another transplant was this butterfly bush, Buddleia (Schmetterlingsflieder). Bought at a garden center, it survived the trip and took to its new home right away. I learned later that Buddleia will grow almost anywhere, including vacant lots and abandoned railways. There are clusters of the plant growing in an old lot on Amraser Strasse behind the train station here in Innsbruck, and later I noticed more along my train ride to Bavaria, especially around the station at Murnau, where an abandoned track area is now a field of high grass and wildflowers. I shall cut it back in March to stimulate growth.      Außerdem haben wir einen Schmetterlingsflieder gesetzt. Gekauft in einem Gartencenter, hat er die Umsiedlung überlebt und fühlt sich schon wie zuhause. Später habe ich erfahren, dass der Schmetterlingsflieder praktisch überall wächst, unter anderem auf Brachen und aufgelassenen Eisenbahnen. Ansammlungen der Pflanze wachsen auf einem alten Grundstück an der Amraserstraße hinter dem Bahnhof Innsbruck, später habe ich ihn auch auf der Zugfahrt nach Bayern gesehen – besonders in der Umgebung des Bahnhofs Murnau  auf verlassenen Gleisanlagen die von hohem Gras und Wildblumen überwuchert sind. Ich werde ihn im Frühjahr zurückschneiden, um sein Wachstum anzuregen.

KZ 3 Apples


It was 80 years ago today that Hitler assumed power in Germany, and there are war documentaries all over the television airwaves. Actually one can almost always find a war documentary somewhere on tv, but they tend to cluster more thickly around the anniversaries. Anyway, I was watching an interesting one about the death marches from Dachau southward along the Starnberger See (they got as far as Seeshaupt, where they met American troops and the guards took off in a hurry). In one part of it, two sweet older women were talking about the decision to have a monument. One explained that she was looking for something other than a plaque or a stone, and remembered that there was a type of apple tree which had been bred in the Dachau Konzentrationslager (KZ), called KZ 3 (g). The man who had planted them, Korbinian Aigner, was a Bavarian priest who had been interned there, and who had been on those very forced marches and survived (the fruit is now officially named the Korbiniansapfel). A living memorial tree, the woman realized, would be a perfect kind of memorial to life.

Apparently they are very robust fruit trees. I wonder if they would take well to a large container. If so I may try to grow one myself.

Above, water color by Korbinian Aigner, around 1955. Image found here (g).

>Weekend Mountain Blogging: Wildblümchen

>I went out to look for an endangered flower called the Innsbrucker Küchenschellen, or Innsbruck Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla oenipontana,) for which there are areas set aside on the sunny slopes north of the town. This unusual flower only grows around here, being a hybrid from two other types of Pasque Flower, which happened to have a Tirolean rendez-vous. Being so particular about where it will and won’t grow, it’s facing extinction. The reserved areas above the villages of Arzl, Rum and Thaur and the tireless work of reasearchers is helping to keep that from happening.
Unfortunately, my timing was off, or they just bloomed early, because there was nothing but grass. It may also be so well hidden that I did not find the right spot. But here is a photo from the web:
Being up there, and having a sunny, free afternoon before me, I climbed up into the woods and followed the trails back toward Innsbruck via the Hungerburg. On the way I learned about a few more woodland wildflowers.
Weisse Pestwurz, or Butterbur (Petasites albus), was growing right along the trail in shaded areas.
A close relative of Butterbur is Huflattich, or Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), which, like Butterbur, has medicinal properties and is used to make cough suppressant.
One flower that’s certainly not about to die out is the Wood Anemone, which at this time of year covers a great deal of the forest floor. I found mostly violet colored flowers, but there were also many whites and a few dark pinks.

A good place to find information on European wildflowers (in German):

>Hofgarten im Winter

The Innsbrucker Hofgarten is celebrating 600 years in existence. Established in 1410 by Duke Friedrich IV (“with the empty pockets”), it is an example of the English-style gardens that were copied by monarchs all over the continent (the English Gardens and the park lands behind Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich are further nearby examples.) Its 10 hectares (ca. 25 acres) are right in the center of town, like a miniature Central Park, with a nice café/beer garden, a music pavillion, (a pretty Baroque structure built in 1733 — see photo above) botanical gardens and greenhouses for cactii and palms. It is said that there are specimens within the park walls which were planted by Empress Maria Theresia herself. I don’t know which ones, but I suspect an enormous, rambling old tree with branches that touch the ground and have rooted there.
I have walked these paths many, many times. It’s a lovely, quiet place to breathe in a bit of fresh air and enjoy the leafy views.