Since 1997, motto and part of the Palmengarten’s emblem has been “Plants, Life, Culture” – this points to the uniqueness of these gardens and their function for the community. Since the onset of this educational, social, and cultural institution in the center of Frankfurt has been a haven for plants from all around the world to be discovered and admired. Additionally, the Palmengarten offers regular music performances and concerts, provides an opportunity to enjoy a diverse program of social entertainment, and serves as an oasis in the middle of town to regenerate and relax.
The Palmengarten has gone through the most diverse developments within the 140 years of its history. HistoryIt has been variously expanded and modernized, its botanical highlights and historic collections of palms, orchids, and camellias have been carefully attended to and propagated. Frankfurt‘s Hortus Palmarum thus remains unique in its structure as a communal park, educational institution, and facility for manifold cultural activities and performances. Now its displays and collections amount to more than 13,000 subtropical and tropical species, cultivated in theme gardens and arranged according to vegetation types in greenhouses and grounds. Today, the requirements, expectations, and demands facing us as a public scientific institution are certainly quite different from those prevailing in the early days of the founder Heinrich Siesmayer and his immediate successors.
Facing the current budget restrictions, the Palmengarten must constantly reevaluate its specific tasks in order to preserve its historic heritage and yet provide an attractive concept for the present and future. As other institutions, the Palmengarten can only accomplish all these tasks and maintain its attractiveness by relying on the generous support of friends, supporters, and sponsors. Our aim has been to guarantee this by establishing reliable networks and cooperations, successfully so far. For decades the Palmengarten has been a member of the German Association of Botanical Gardens, as well as a part of the global cooperative network „Botanic Gardens Conservation International“ (BGCI). Other national and international memberships include the Gesellschaft der Rosenfreunde, Orchideengesellschaft, and Bambusgesellschaft.
The Palmengarten is part of the regional network ”BioFrankfurt” (button BioFrankfurt). The association of the Palmengarten with the Frankfurt Zoo and Senckenberg Museum aims to help manage and conserve the globe’s biodiversity. Aside from cultivating and propagating its current collections, the Palmengarten maintains participates in the global seed exchange program with botanical gardens, and specializes in particular ex situ key collections as, e.g., notocacti, Weltwitschia mirabilis, and bromeliads.
The „Grüne Schule Palmengarten“ , has been variously appraised as a pioneer educational facility for students and teachers and serves as a model for many other botanical gardens. In 2009, the innovative „Kinder im Garten“,project was established in conjunction with Frankfurt’s Community Childcare Institutions, providing an educational platform for our youngest to stimulate their interest in the natural world and plants, in particular.
The recent merging of the Botanical Garden of the University of Frankfurt with the Palmengarten under the auspices of the City of Frankfurt represents a far-reaching decision which will create new challenges and new opportunities. The Botanical Garden, next to the Palmengarten, had been associated with the Goethe University since 1914, and its existence was in jeopardy – the City of Frankfurt luckily stepped in and saved this precious scientific institution. Together the two institutions, with their total 18,000 plant species, will coexist under one administrative directory, thus forming a synergistically more powerful and attractive haven for plants. The establishment of the foundation „Stiftung Palmengarten und Botanischer Garten“ will provide ongoing support in all aspects of the institutions’ operations. Additional donations and estates will help to finance new projects in the future.