Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gardens in North Holland:



Last sunday I spent most of my day in a sunny garden in Den Helder, a small town located at the very tip, of the tip that is North Holland. When I wasn't in the garden, I was cycling alongside the ocean, at the confluence of where the sea meets the Netherlands. Stunning is it in its natural splendor. The natural world, and the gardens we carve from its foundations; alongside the actions that take place within these gardens; as well as the thoughts that tinker through their caretakers' minds when flitting about to make amends; are all reasons to garden. Gardening, is grounding. Digging in the earth literally loosens one up, as does pruning, as does watering. A connection is formed during this process between one and another living, non-speaking, entity–flowers and plants. Most likely this newfound passion of mine is very directly influenced by spending a bit too much time steeped in the pages of Dominique Browning's memoirs, both of which I have previously mentioned and both of which I recently completed. Poignant gardens are, when bundled with the stories they contain, a refuge for the senses. Every rustle of every leaf, every flower's uncurling petals–silent in their undoings, and every bee's buzz, add mystical layers to gardens throughout this wonderful world. What's often left unspoken, concerning gardens, is their nocturnal lives; just what exactly are all these plants up to, once the sun dips below the horizon and the fireflies come out to play? Den Helder, where the garden pictured above has been carefully cultivated, is in very many ways much less formal than, say, the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Yet this particular garden is equally as charming as those flanking that expansive palace just outside Paris. Though grand it is, just in a slightly different way. Dutch gardens are, for all their lusciousness, an ordered overflow of greenery in which loose ends are often encouraged and even allowed to grow astray. There is no need to maintain a rigid order in all endeavors, within the gardens blanketing the beloved Netherlands.