Gardening in a WW1 Camp

This autumn a Royal Horticultural Society exhibition will tell the tale of one of the most unusual gardening stories of the 20th century – a horticultural society within a German internment camp.

Since the outbreak of the war in the 1914, Ruhleben, just outside of Berlin, had housed a community of British men, who were determined to improve their conditions by creating a fully functioning garden within the camp.

In 1916, the RHS received a letter, stamped with German script, notifying them that a new society had been inaugurated – The Ruhleben Horticultural Society – and requesting for affiliation with the RHS.

The 4000 British men were working in Germany as war broke out, and as a potential enemy they were never going to be allowed home. In contrast 26,000 Germans were detained in Britain.

There are still many holes in the story of Ruhleben and the RHS is asking anyone with information to contribute.


Image courtesy of The Telegraph