I took a lot of photos of the gardens at the Notary’s House that we visited as part of the Open Monuments Day, and I thought I’d go ahead and parcel them out so you don’t get sick of them all at once. You can get sick of them over a long, drawn-out period, instead.
The first photo is the only one I took of the interior of the house, and technically, I took it from outside. I think you could get in to see some of the rooms, but the one open door was crowded with a large group of people when we looked in and so we decided just to stick with the gardens. Still, I liked the slightly faded elegance of this room, as well, matching the gardens. The oranges (tangerines, clementines, or whatever they were) were just that little bit overripe and wrinkly, but they sat there so nicely amid the sea shells. There really was a glorious madness to the whole place that really appealed to me. Southern gothic meets Miss Havisham.
The rest of the photos for today are of the patio just outside the room above (I took my photo from the window/door on the right), and the small pool/fountain just beneath the patio. The pool is in front of the seating nook with the mirror and klompen that I posted last time. I’ll save the Japanese pond for another day.
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.
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.
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.
It is a gorgeous day in Utrecht! The sky is pure blue, without a cloud in the sky, and the light is crisp and bright. Even the temperature was just cool enough and without much humidity to make it pleasant, even when it started to warm up.
We went out to enjoy the Open Monuments Day today, visiting various spots on Achter Sint Pieter and Lange Nieuwestraat. I’ll post more about individual spots this week, but for now, just a couple of photos of one of the lovely hidden gardens we saw. This one is by the Flatland Gallery, which currently has a documentary photograph exhibit, which I’ve got listed in the Events Calendar. We didn’t see the exhibit, but I may go back to see it another time. Instead, we simply enjoyed the little gardens; a quiet green oasis in the center of the city. To add to the charm of the setting, I noticed a pitcher full of sparkling water with slices of lime, ready to be poured into the waiting glasses. Some of these garden areas belong to people’s homes. What a lovely garden to have for yourself!
I’m afraid I don’t know much about this spot. I haven’t found any info so far in my Google quest. Still, it’s a lovely little garden oasis in the center of the city, just off some of the busy shopping streets like Steenweg. I was here late last year and got some lovely photos, but none from the same direction as the old post card, so we went back today on our long walk with Pippo and I tried to get a matching shot.
The buildings don’t seem to have changed much, but the trees have, which meant that if I wanted the church towers in the background, I had to stand more to the right, because otherwise the tree in the center blocked much of the view. Still, other parts are recognizable, including the small ironwork balcony on the building to the right, and the rooftops of the building further back on the right. Here’s a shot I took last October of that ironwork balcony. It reminded me a lot of New Orleans.
I didn’t really find any information about this corner of town, but I did inadvertently find out about the rooster sculpture that stands in the gardens. I had noticed it last year, but I got a better shot of it this year. It’s called Haan (Rooster) and is by an Italian sculptor named Luciano Minguzzi. I think the sculpture was placed in the garden area in 1957, although the gardens were a bit less lush then. The sculpture itself seems to have been created in 1955 for an international exhibit of sculpture in Arnhem at Sonsbeek Park.
The sculpture now sits further back in the gardens. If you look at the garbage can on the left and then look behind that, you can just make the sculpture out over the shrubbery and in front of the lamp.
If you love flowers, you may be interested in knowing that the famous Keukenhof Gardens will be opening again soon. In fact, they’re opening next week, 24 March, and the theme this year is Germany: Land of Poets and Philosophers.
We went last year while my parents were visiting and I couldn’t help but love these floating water sculptures, especially when the ducks got involved. I loved how it looked like the two were having a conversation.
I had plans for posts this week, but I got sick Tuesday night with an awful stomach bug that’s not quite gone away yet, leaving me with no energy or patience for blogging, despite the ton of Keukenhof photos I have and other thoughts and ideas. Still, I hate to miss a Photo Friday, so here’s one of the photos from our visit to the Keukenhof. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get around to posting more about our trip to the famous gardens.