Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Istanbul - Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden

Istanbul is without doubt one of my favourite cities in the world and with my recent discovery of a wonderful botanic garden in the Ataşehir district, it just got even better.

Part of the edible plant collection in the Ertuğrul Island

Located in probably the least likely place anyone would ever expect to find a botanic garden, the Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden is growing over 46 hectares of land at the Anatolian motorway intersection.

Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden (NGBB).

The garden was planted in 1995 by Ali Nihat Gökyiğit to commemorate his late wife, Nezahat Gökyiğit. It was officially opened to the public as a Park in 2002 and in 2003, it became the Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden (NGBB).

The gardens juxtaposed with the surrounding traffic and skyscraper skyline is part of the charm of the place.

View from the Central Island

Despite its location, in many parts of the garden it's easy to find sanctuary from a city home to 13.5 million people.  

I've visited the garden twice now and still have more to explore.  Next time I'm hoping to find the wild island that has been left to naturally succeed. This last trip I spent some time in the Ertuğrul Island where you can find an excellent collection of edible and medicinal plants native to Turkey.

Medicinal Plant beds in the Ertuğrul Island

 I totally recommend this garden to all and it's very easy to get to with many buses from Uskudar and Kadikoy running day in day out. See here for more on buses.  I also totally recommend stocking up on İçli Köfte, Olives, Midye Dolma (Stuffed Mussels) and Kiymali borek from the main market in  Kadikoy, as there is nowhere to buy food in the garden, apart from the grazing of edibles that is. There are restaurants and cafes in the surrounding apartment complexes, but the food from the market delicatessens is unbelievably good.
A note of caution - particularly if you are into tasting edible plants - I noticed a few of the plants were labelled incorrectly.

View from the Central Island 

Laurus nobilis fruit 

Dylan filming amphibians in the pond.

Hippophae rhamnoides

If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands on experience join us this Spring. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers and making a small wildlife pond. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

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