The Notary’s Garden Rooms

The chair I posted Wednesday comes from a surprising stadstuin (city garden) that we visited the other week during Open Monuments Day. The original garden space belonged to the home of the local notary, dating back to 1860. Over the years, the neighbors joined together to create a larger combined garden space, with various pools, ponds, covered seating areas, and attractive garden arrangements.

Today, I’ll focus on a couple of the gazebo-like seating areas that I found particularly charming. I think one of the reasons I liked this whole garden area and the seating areas is because it all reminded me of some of the gardens I remember in Florida. If not specific gardens, at least a general atmosphere, especially with the slightly overgrown and slightly wild elements of the garden, paired with the slightly shabby, decaying furnishings. In all, it made me think of Southern Gothic in its most gloriously dishevelled sense.

On a warm, humid day, where the air is oppressive, you’d escape to these dark, shadowy corners of this garden, taking a seat that is vaguely damp to the touch, with a perfume in the air of fabric starting to mold and thick vegetation slowly decaying. It’s a heady aroma that is both off-putting yet somehow comforting.


Garden Room

To be honest, some of these more pleasant areas make me think of visiting my great-grandmother in Maitland, Florida, with this particular room bringing memories of “The Wee Hoose”. There may have been nothing similar at all, but it was that house and the land around it that most came to mind as I wandered through this garden.

Garden Living

As much as I feel at home here in Utrecht and in Nederland in general, sometimes I have those moments of feeling very far from home. But then I haven’t lived anywhere that has resonated with me in the sense of “home” for a long time. There’s something about Florida (and to a certain degree, New Orleans) that will always feel like home to me. Perhaps a lot of it is just the scenery you remember from your childhood that is imprinted upon you. There are certain sights, sounds, and smells that trigger those (hopefully) happy memories of childhood and make you feel calm and at peace. There was something about this garden and these gloriously decorated garden nooks that made me feel at home.

Until I saw the klompen (clogs). Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Florida any more.

Bloemen en Klompen

12 thoughts on “The Notary’s Garden Rooms

  1. Lovely garden, and yes it has that air of faded old glory about it, that is both sad but also gives off a comforting nostalgic feel that you sometimes get in old places. And yes, those sneaky little klompen/clogs hiding in the corner do give the game away 🙂

    • There were some seashell arrangements in one corner that I didn’t show and it really made me feel like I was back in Florida. But the woodpile and klompen were a bit like the needle scratch on a record sound effect, reminding me where I was.

    • I found it all the more interesting that nothing was shiny and new. It was real and it was loved and it must have been fascinating seeing it develop over the years.

  2. My mind is spinning with images. First, I feel the presence of Blanche DuBois, then I think I see Truman Capote coming around the corner and then it all blends together into one tall glass of sweet ice tea with everyone waving paper fans. These photos stand out as they really do set a mood. just wonderful…

    • What a lovely description you’ve written! When a friend and I rented an apartment in New Orleans (which had a raised front porch), I happened to be standing down on the sidewalk waiting for my friend to come down. Obviously, it was impossible for me not to yell out “Stella!” at that moment.

  3. Pingback: Notary’s House Revisited « A Flamingo in Utrecht

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