Let's go on a pleasant little jaunt not too far from Amsterdam by train & bus. I wanted to see Beeckestijn house and gardens, although it turned out the house has been closed for some time. No matter, as it was a lovely day out in the country.
After getting off the bus on a featureless stretch of highway, I made my way through a residential area of Velsen Zuid, passing the North Sea canal, and then along a path to the park ~
Once past the village it is still residential, but with some true rural life still in evidence ~
The houses show suburban precision, but their owners' personalities shine through in the yards and gardens ~
I'll wait to find out what Beeckestijn house is, or maybe I should just follow the link since you won't be going there. What an attractive residential neighborhood, solid buildings with some green gardens and some crammed-full gardens out front. As always, your photos show so much detail.
Thank you, Breeze! Well, there will be gardens and forest, but they'll be panting in the heat and drought. This was in July of this year.
The link in the OP appears to have some errors, as the house does not date from the 15th & 16th centuries as stated, but originated from a 17th century homestead. It came into use as a buitenplaats, or summer residence in the early 18th century.
The house we see today is the result of major renovation between 1716 and 1721, when the original facade was replaced by one in Louis XIV style. Of great cultural-historical importance are the gardens and the park, designed in close connection with the house: a geometrical predisposition that originally dates back to the 17th century and a 'romantic' construction from the 18th century. Together they form one of the most important historical gardens in our country. The source for this paragraph is most interesting.
So, onward! I don't know who this woman is in my picture, only that she would not get out of the way. She and a companion in a wheelchair arrived when I did and were the only other visitors to the garden at the time. She left her companion sweltering on the gravel drive while she dithered and blabbered and got in the way of my photo. We all eventually went over to the adjoining brasserie (more on that later) to find that there was no admission charge and we were welcome to wander around the grounds.
I've seen aerial views of the park which show a gorgeous swath of green, but you can see that everything is sweltering or defeated by the extended dry spell ~
Thanks, Kerouac. I like shell gravel because it doesn't get kicked up the way regular gravel does.
Beeckestijn is one of those places you come across while looking online for stuff to do. Alas, many of the sites were undated & outdated, which is why I didn't know the house wasn't open for touring. Well, my main focus was the garden anyway. And it was a day well spent, completely out of the city, wandering through part of a very quiet village, watching the boats on the canal, then a walk in what seems like an enchanted forest.
Leaving the woods now for the much touted but disappointingly drought stricken English garden ~
Shaking off after a bath in the fountain's depleted water ~
Peering out of the English garden into a fairy tale world ~
To round out my visit, I treated myself to a delightful meal at Brasserie Beeckestijn, a surprise of a place that I highly recommend. It's situated in a former coach house next to the main house ~
Your day has everything for a nice outing--sunlight and water, shade and gardens, and a good meal.
Those are lovely woods and so is the tunnel. The photos you took of the English garden don't reveal the extent of the drought, other than the depleted pool. Maybe you spared us the photos of the worst. We've had so many dry summers at home that I feel for any place going through a drought--the photos of the very dry lawns almost made me cringe.
I wonder if the drought areas in western Europe received any rain in September or October to bring up the water table.
This fall we skipped a garden I've been wanting to show my husband because we knew it would look sad. On the other hand, in a jam-packed garden that didn't show signs of drought, the owner said the shade of the tall trees had protected the lower plants.
Thanks so much, Breeze! You're right that I didn't bother photographing the evidence of drought in the English garden, but you can probably imagine it -- melted semperflorens begonia leaves, gappy spaces in borders, etc. Apparently the rains in Europe were supposed to come in November. A shame you had to miss showing your husband that garden, but why court disappointment, right? I suspect a really full garden with the gardener on the premises and steady watering wouldn't look nearly so stressed. The very proximity of the plants would make for a cool root run, something all plants seem to enjoy.
Steady watering is out of the question when there is a drought. Granted we here in southern France have a lot more experience with lack of rain than they do in the Netherlands or England, but when it is hot and dry, you are not allowed to water (other than small garden vegetable plots), not allowed to wash your car or fill your swimming pool, if you have one.
So it's too bad for gardens and parks in places where rain is common, but it might be something they will have to take into consideration when they do new plantings in the future.
Local food is precious. And vegetable gardeners, even if they aren't fully organic, use far less dubious products than commercial operations do.
I was reading an article, perhaps in the Guardian, about the importance of Russian, Ukranian and other "post-Soviet" cultures. Also remember Ukranians in Toronto growing cabbages in their small front yards (remembering horrible famines). Around here, a lot of tiny Italian and Portuguese lots with tomatoes and leafy green cabbages for caldo verde, and Vietnamese growing Asian veg.
Not to mention "victory gardens". But in the Netherlands, Nazi Germany was right next door, so a lot of food got stolen by the occupier.
bjd is right that plantings will have to be reconsidered. I was in the Netherlands another year with a scorching summer in an old house absolutely not designed for such temps.
Around here, a lot of tiny Italian and Portuguese lots with tomatoes and leafy green cabbages
My desire is always for us to have our cake and eat it, too. What I observed in London & Amsterdam is the great love people have for getting out on sunny days and basking on lawns. In Paris they also throng parks, but my perception is that Paris's parks afford more shade, thus less stress on the grass during drought. At any rate, yes, lawns are an enormous drain on available water, although a sensible use of drip irrigation might be utilized so that at least some lawn might always be available in public spaces. As for the vegetable gardens, the positive psychological value of growing them and even just seeing them cannot be overstated. I think if their aesthetic value was more promoted, say in popular magazines, it might break the stranglehold of the front yard lawn + tight-ass shrubbery that holds sway in suburban United States at any rate. That style uses so much water with such minimum payback in interest.
Well, London and Amsterdam are or were far chillier, rainier and grey than even Paris. It rains quite a bit in Paris as well, but one of the salient features of Paris weather is how changeable it is. London is very multicultural, and though Amsterdam is as well, the "native" Dutch are VERY fair and blond, even as compared ,say, Germans or Englishpersons. They get horrible sunburns. And of course, very, very tall. Trevor Noah had a recent episode with a chat with his 91-year-old grandmother, where they "reminisce" about the old days, and she describes the, to her, terrifying tall police units...
Unfortunately, we can't really grow vegetables behind the co-op as it is in deep shade, but the "lawn" is clover and there are a lot of bushes and trees. There are tiny postage stamp patches in front, but those are also very popular with passing dog walkers. Most do scoop no. 2 now, but an overabundance of urine is not good for gardens either.