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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Germany series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential information about Germany, German Culture and German People. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 25 - Gardens For Rent in Germany.
In the previous lesson, we talked about the rulers of the German garden; the garden gnomes, or Gartenzwerge. Now, we'll take a look at the gardens themselves!
Travelling through the large cities in Germany, you'll find in the surrounding areas or in front of the gates of the city some of the so-called "small garden colonies," or in German, Kleingartenkolonien. These colonies consist of a cluster of small gardens in which many people spend their weekends, especially in summer.
The idea to set up small gardens in the cities in which kids, or Kinder, can play and adults can relax, originated in the nineteenth century. At that time they wanted to give the poorer people a chance to plant vegetables, or Gemüse, in order to counteract food scarcity. These gardens became known as "poor gardens," or in German, schlechte Gärten.
In the twentieth century, "allotment gardens," or Kleingärten, came into being. Different from the poor gardens, the allotments placed a priority on recreation. These gardens were supposed to offer the city children a place to play in nature, and for the parents they were intended as a place to recover from work. These little spots of nature were supposed to balance the paved cities. The first allotment associations originated in the area called Nürnberg, and to this day you can still visit the German Small Garden Museum at the place of the old club-house.
There are, however, strict rules about what is allowed in one of these small gardens and what isn't. The garden associations, from whom you rent the gardens, make sure that these guidelines are followed. A parcel of land should not be larger than 400m squared, and the house that stands on the property may not be bigger than 24m squared. In addition, the arbor may not be permanently occupied.
But these rules aren't really that complicated, and for people who live in a high-rise, or Hochhaus, in the city center, this kind of small garden is certainly a welcome change.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have any favorite gardens or parks in your city?
Leave a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com, and we’ll see you in the next series!

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Do you have any favorite gardens or parks in your city?