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As September slides into October, heralding the rapid advance of autumn, here’s a quick round-up of the colours of my Dutch summer…

colours of a dutch summer 2016

being away at peak seedling planting time meant no vegetable growing adventures for me this year, but my mini rock garden, and the allium bulbs I planted in the autumn last year, put on a very good show!

colours of a dutch summer 2016

august mid-morning moon  |  laser 3.14‘s perceptive brand of street poetry

colours of a dutch summer 2016

gira loves this beautiful blue shweshwe duvet cover (made by my super-talented mum)… i suspect it might be because he knows how good he looks on it :)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

soft pink early morning views from the studio

colours of a dutch summer 2016

leiden is rocking the pink too!

coloursofadutchsummer06

lotus @ hortus botanicus, leiden

colours of a dutch summer 2016

gingko  |  venation

~ and you don’t get greens like those above, without a bit of the below ~

colours of a dutch summer 2016

lush

colours of a dutch summer 2016

flying things
street art in leiden  |  stained glass window designed by willem bogtman, haarlem, 1920’s (as seen at the ‘living in the amsterdam school: designs for the interior 1910-1930‘ exhibition at amsterdam’s stedelijk museum)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

everyone loves the sun(flower)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

rainbow cherry toms, ready for slow-roasting

colours of a dutch summer 2016

blue-eyed visitor at my studio window  |  radiant brickwork, amsterdam

colours of a dutch summer 2016

brick gables, haarlem  |  beautiful berries (buds? anyone know what this fascinating plant is?)

colours of a dutch summer 2016

to the beach!
kite-flying  |  fallow deer grazing on the verdant dune grasses at zandvoort

colours of a dutch summer 2016

grey is a colour too

colours of a dutch summer 2016

au revoir summer!

autumn mists, haarlem

autumn mists
(early morning view from my studio window)

As October’s Autumn mists roll in I’ve been giving some thought on how best to ‘winter ready’ our little patch of potted paradise on the roof: four floors up and facing the North Sea it’s likely to be more than a tad exposed to the imminent icy elements. But before I burlap wrap and mulch and push pots into little huddles like so many Emperor penguins I’m taking a moment to fondly remember the verdancy, vivid colours, and bountiful harvest of our compact roof garden’s first summer…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

vegetable patch at sunset, late august

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

spring onions & crazy carrots!
they certainly wouldn’t have passed the EU’s daft
‘general marketing standards’ regime…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

… but they had plenty of character

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

and, along with the leeks, were delicious!

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

tomatoes, growing…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

… growing

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

gone

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

broccoli, not everyone’s favourite vegetable…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

… but beautiful when it bolts
(as mine did, practically overnight, during a mini heatwave in july)

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

deadheading the rhododendrons  |  baby’s breath (gypsophila)

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

japanese maple  |  lavender

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

catnip (nepeta cataria)

Nature is, without a doubt, the biggest source of inspiration for my work and it has therefore been a privilege and a great pleasure to have had the opportunity (for the first time) to plant veggies from seed, to watch them grow and flourish, to enjoy the fruits of our combined labours, and indeed to observe them go to seed or die back as summer segued into autumn.

In addition to the veggies I’ve also enjoyed getting to know other, non-edible plants. As a first time gardener the learning curve has at times been steep and my favoured (lazy?) approach seems to be one of trial and error. But the gardening bug has most certainly bitten and I’m very much hoping I can keep some of them alive through the winter. I’m looking forward to observing the seasonal metamorphoses to come…

roof terrace garden, summer 2015

roof garden skyscapes
(late summer/early autumn evening skies)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

cloud gazer, aeromancer

For us gardenless urban dwellers, when summer garden-envy kicks in, an opportunity to have a good old snoop around other people’s gardens can be pretty irresistible! Luckily, for three days each year during Amsterdam’s ‘Open Tuinen Dagen‘, this snooping is sanctioned and entirely above-board. This year it was held 14-16 June, and it’s always a pleasure and a surprise to encounter the ‘secret gardens’ and verdant lushness that lie behind the city’s stone and brick facades…

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

'Open Tuinen' Amsterdam (14-16 June 2013)

" "

[the bear, csi guy and fawn sculptures are by marjolijn mandersloot.
unfortunately I’m not able to credit any of the others pictured!]

the ladder

(above) steep stairs to the roof  |  (below) looking south east from the roof

buds

I have never had a ‘proper’ garden of my own but as I’m not much of a gardener that’s probably just as well. I’ve restricted my meagre gardening skills to pots on balconies and the like. I don’t really have any idea about what to plant where or when, and what should be ruthlessly pruned in the late autumn and what should be taken indoors during a frost etc., I just like getting mud under my fingernails and watching things come back to life as the seasons turn.

At the moment we are very fortunate to have a fairly sizeable patch of outdoor space in the form of a roof terrace. It’s a real luxury and a pleasure, and with the arrival of spring all sorts of magicks have started occurring in the pots up there… and I’ll never tire of the higgledy-piggledy roofscape views.

young

jungly

yellow terracotta 

koepelkerk

bend

papercut doodling

(papercut doodling on the roof… not so easy when the breeze picks up and a million little papercut leaves fly upwards and away!)

burst

tulip

flowering rosemary

seagull sentinels

bright

translucent

I’m particularly happy with the appearance of these tiny tulips. When we first arrived in Amsterdam (in October 2007) I planted bulbs of three different tulip varieties (when in Rome, and all that!) but I missed these little guys when they bloomed for the first time last year because I was away for all of April. If I remember correctly the variety is called ‘Persian Pearl’ and the colour is magnificent, like translucent stained glass when backlit by the spring sunshine.

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instagram

This magic has just started to unfold in the ‘garden’ on our little roof terrace. Methinks spring has most definitely sprung! #spring #lente #blossoms #plum (?) #pink #petals #stamens #delicate #growth #seasons #cycle_of_life #roof_garden #haarlem Dawn colours #dawn #silhouette #dome #cathedral #kathedralebasilieksintbavo #studio_view #rooftops #haarlem Dressing W-A-Y out of my comfort zone for the “glitter and glamour” themed wedding party of friends tonight. Gulp… they say it’s good to step outside one’s comfort zone now and then, right?! #shimmery #sequins #glitter #festive #ottodame #not_black #colour #pattern #texture This is Henk... just one of the many good reasons to go and get your hair cut @jill_and_sisi (Admiraal de Ruijterweg 221, Amsterdam) #henk #puppy #dog #super_soft #super_cute #jill_and_sisi #pattern #sunshine Full moon rises over the silver hills… (or, much more prosaically, simply a sleeping cat and the negative shapes left behind on a spray painting ‘drop cloth’ :) #magic_in_the_mundane #cat #fur #silver #grey #black #monochromatic #pattern #shape #spraypaint The bike lane… #symbol #icon #infographic #design #bicycle #emblematic #netherlands #bicycle_culture #cycling_infrastructure #ride_on

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