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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…
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!
august mid-morning moon | laser 3.14‘s perceptive brand of street poetry
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 :)
soft pink early morning views from the studio
leiden is rocking the pink too!
lotus @ hortus botanicus, leiden
gingko | venation
~ and you don’t get greens like those above, without a bit of the below ~
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)
everyone loves the sun(flower)
rainbow cherry toms, ready for slow-roasting
blue-eyed visitor at my studio window | radiant brickwork, amsterdam
brick gables, haarlem | beautiful berries (buds? anyone know what this fascinating plant is?)
to the beach!
kite-flying | fallow deer grazing on the verdant dune grasses at zandvoort
grey is a colour too
au revoir summer!
(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…
vegetable patch at sunset, late august
spring onions & crazy carrots!
they certainly wouldn’t have passed the EU’s daft
‘general marketing standards’ regime…
… but they had plenty of character
and, along with the leeks, were delicious!
broccoli, not everyone’s favourite vegetable…
… but beautiful when it bolts
(as mine did, practically overnight, during a mini heatwave in july)
deadheading the rhododendrons | baby’s breath (gypsophila)
japanese maple | lavender
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 garden skyscapes
(late summer/early autumn evening skies)
During our various city wanderings this past summer we encountered lots of fine, furry felines. In celebration of today’s autumnal equinox, or vernal equinox if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere, (and because there simply aren’t enough pictures of cats on the internet ;-) here’s a glimpse of how Holland’s urban kitties while away their lazy summer days…
listening to the symphony in his head
ziggy stardust *
21st century broomstick
[gira @ home, haarlem]
aahhh, that’s the spot…
… wait, where are you going? I have so much more to give!
yellow eyed yogi
hangin’ out on his hog
[top: leiden, bottom: haarlem]
happy equinox, folks!
* although Bowie’s eyes are technically not heterochromic the moniker “Ziggy Stardust” seemed to suit this elegant fella very well
RIP Casey Copperfield
This post is dedicated to the memory of Casey Copperfield,
beautiful kitty of blog friend Carol
geveltuin, blue hydrangea | full moon, after magritte
Having friends or family to stay is always a great excuse to explore locally, to take time out to notice details of one’s everyday surroundings in a way one might not normally do. We had a lot of fun with our summer visitors exploring, amongst other Dutch cities, our new(ish) hometown (Haarlem) and our (very nearby!) old hometown (Amsterdam). Here’s a summery glimpse of these two fine cities…
headless lion | red door
huisjes and hollyhocks
(do the houses imitate the beer… or does the beer imitate the houses?)
the anatomy lesson
turtle, seahorse, yarn bomb
disembodied jib | petunia-tastic hanging basket
good grub @ foodhallen
canis minor, or a plutoid?
easy riding hells hound
a bit of boating (on the spaarne river & bakenessergracht)
clover gevelsteen | strawberry geveltuin
… and finally: RIP
this beautiful tree, as seen from my studio window at the end of may, came crashing down (along with some 400 other trees in haarlem) on the 25th of july, during what has been described as “the worst summer storm since records began”… it was a magnificent tree and is a very sad loss indeed.
approximate translations & explanations of dutch words used above:
gevelsteen – ‘gable stone’, a carved and often colourfully painted stone tablet set into the wall of a building, serving to embellish and memorably identify the building. Introduced in the second half of the 16th century they became less widely used with the advent of house numbering during the 18th century, but the tradition certainly lives on and ‘gevelsteen spotting’ can be a very visually rewarding pursuit!
geveltuinen – literally a ‘facade gardens’ (I don’t think there’s a succinct or elegant english translation?) are bright and beautiful mini-oases of green flanking the building facades and pavements on residential city streets, planted and cared for by the streets’ residents. And I discovered this summer, my first living in this city, that Haarlemmers sure know a thing or two about creating charming geveltuinen :-)
happy right here…
It has been a super-busy summer – filled with lots of work and welcome visits from distant friends and family – and the (imminent) arrival of the autumnal equinox has taken me somewhat by surprise! Here are some outtakes from this summer past in Amsterdam*…
lazy days, watchful gaze
[‘frank by the river’ silkscreen print, by the brilliant jim woodring]
a seasonal neighbour attends to some housekeeping | eye-popping poppies
beasts of the urban jungle
london police, hands up!
watching the boats go by
the magical light of long summer evenings
august sun, august moon
* all pictures were taken in amsterdam, except the totem pole detail (“watchful gaze”) – that stands outside the rijksmuseum volkenkunde in leiden