A Tree Disappears in Utrecht

End of an Era
Despite being buried under a pile of animals this morning, I couldn’t help but hear lots of sawing and grinding and other loud noises early in the morning. I thought it was the neighbours, who are having some work done to the house, but it doesn’t usually start that early. When I went out to take Pippo out, I discovered what all the noise was. It seems that Zocher Park is losing another tree.

The park lost one of its old trees a few months ago, and a few others have been cut down over the past year or two. It’s always sad to see them go, especially when they’re really big ones, as many of these have been. The tree today was a particularly big one and has left a big open whole. I shouldn’t be able to see that much of Biltstraat!

(I took this photo about four hours after the photo above, when the tree had been cut down completely.)
All Gone

The tree was diseased, so it had to go, but I’ll always remember the glorious autumn show it always put on, bright with colour, even on the greyest of days.

Autumnal Colors

Branching Out

Sunday, on my way back from the Centraal Museum, I couldn’t resist visiting my favourite sculpture. That also meant walking through the little park in which the sculpture stands. The weather was amazing and the sky was a stunning, pure blue. Everything was so crisp and I loved the shapes of the still-bare tree branches against the sky. But then I do love a good tree.

As I continued my walk, I went past Lepelenburg Park where I saw a group of young kids learning how to fence. The safety swords they were using reminded me of some of the tree branches. You’ll have to take my word, though, as I didn’t actually take any photos of their training session.

In all, it was a gorgeous spring day in Utrecht. Hopefully, it won’t be the last!
Twee Toren

Twisty to the Right

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

While out enjoying the beautiful spring weather on Sunday, I was walking through one of my favourite small parks and couldn’t help but notice these trees framing the path. Peering through them, you can see two paths in different directions, but you can’t see what they lead to. In the end, I took the path to the left, which lead me on a beautiful walk along the canal that rings the old city center of Utrecht.


Shady Oasis
Nope, no explosions here. Boom is the Dutch word for tree. Unfortunately, it’s not pronounced the same as it is in English (more like bome), but it’s still a fun word. I’ve always liked trees. I’m not weird about it or anything, as Tom Waits would say; I just like the way they change depending on the season. Bright and colorful in spring and autumn; cool and green in summer; stark and majestic in winter.
The thing is, with only a few exceptions, I rarely know the name of any given tree. I’m an admirer of nature, but on a superficial level. I know nothing about where different types of plants and trees grow or any other important information. Sometimes I wish I knew a bit more of the technical info, but that urge usually passes quickly.
Spring Colors
Fortunately, if I want to know about any tree here in Utrecht, there’s an app for that! (Well, there’s a website.) It turns out the Gemeente has put together a bomenkaart (tree map), with information about every tree they’ve planted here in the city, including its scientific name, its location, and even the year planted! I know that some of the trees in Zocherpark on Lucasbolwerk have little plaques with some of their information listed, but not every tree. I imagine if you’ve got some tree allergies, this information could be quite useful.
For the record, only the first photo I posted here was actually taken in Utrecht, or even in the Netherlands. The rest of the photos were taken either in our neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina, or in the mountains near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’ve been feeling a bit homesick for North Carolina in the spring, with all the azaleas and dogwoods, and even the stinky Bradford pear trees. Hey! Look at that! I do know some plant/tree names!
Fall Palette
Twists and Turns
White Towers
More of our tree
Cotton Ball Tree
dogwood blooms

Freaky Flowers

Aliens [Day 87/365]
The mini park over on Lucasbolwerk, next to Wittevrouwensingel, is awash with flowers these days. Even the trees have got buds bursting forth from their bare branches. However, the tree buds look more like creepy aliens than beautiful flowers, at least at the moment! Thank goodness for the zoom lens. I didn’t want to get that close! It’s like something out of Alien or Little Shop of Horrors!
Tour Boat
These are just a few of the trees on the hill by the Stadsschouwburg (city theater) that have these buds. Does anyone know what kind of tree it is that creates these creepy monsters? Still, it could be worse. They could smell as awful as Bradford pear trees. They’re beautiful when they bloom, but they smell horrendous!

I hate to leave you with such scary and stinky thoughts, so here’s a picture of Pippo, our hippie, flower-loving dog. He can always be counted to stop and smell the flowers.