Spring: the perfect time to visit the Botanical Garden! The two West African doctoral candidates in botany, Wassila Ibrahim Seidou (Niger) and Afua Amponsah Amankwah (Ghana), seized the opportunity to explore the Botanical Garden of the University of Rostock alongside the NetCDA team and post-graduate students of the university.

During their visit to the Botanical Garden, Wassila and Afua had the chance to observe characteristic features of German forests, including European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Black alder (Alnus glutinosa), as well as common plants to temperate climates, like Oak (Quercus sp.), Maple (Acer sp.), Willow (Salix sp.), and Apple (Malus sp.) trees. Of particular interest was a section with different apple cultivars, providing a hands-on experience for students who had only seen the fruits from those iconic trees. Seeing these species enriched the West African students understanding of global floristic diversity, beyond classroom lectures and botany textbooks. The journey continued to the mountain garden complex, where the remarkably colorful dwarf and cushion-shaped shrubs from all continents highlighted the diversity of plants that can grow in harsh environments. At last, Wassila and Afua explored the tropical and succulent greenhouses where they also shared their knowledge with the students of the University of Rostock, making this little trip a mutually enriching experience for all sides.