Tuesday, 7 January 2014

London Open Squares Garden 14th-15th June 2014: Amsterdam Open Gardens 20th-22nd June 2014



Travel blog. Gardeners’ Paradise



If you are like me, it takes a lot to drag you away from your garden. To prize me away there are two significant criteria; to visit other gardens and not be away too long!  I wrote last July about our first visit to London Open Squares gardens. This year we are going again. Our cheap Waterloo Travel Lodge is already booked, my  OAP train pass is about to be renewed and R.Broom’s bus pass  - my writing is somewhat  illegible  - is at the ready. I hope you never see my bus pass, I look like a criminal!

We have been to Amsterdam Open Gardens three times in the last eight years. Each time with different friends and not always gardeners. The beautiful classical Old Amsterdam buildings you pass through to enter the gardens and the associated Dutch culture are a delight in themselves  and the thirty-odd gardens are a horticultural feast. An Open ticket for all of the Dutch gardens is only 15 euro. The ticket gives directions, cheerful volunteers mark your tickets as your record of achievement and most important all gardens are in a navigable area. You walk from garden to garden. We sometimes take a canal boat to a distant garden and wend our way back via gardens to our hotel in the evening.
Our own personal Dutch formula Is to sleep overnight on Hull Ferries, enjoying  the good food and wine. We are bused from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, take a taxi to the Eden Hotel where we stay two nights. That’s four nights away and three days feasting on gardens. Back home Monday morning. No need to ask Peter Williams to do any watering!
Unfortunately our visits to Amsterdam were before I became infected with bloggery and when I never used a camera!

In my previous London Gardens post, most of the pictures were from my good friend Harry Kennedy. Here is a composition of a few of my own.


I wonder what you think of the London plane pruned in the french style. I love it in street scenes when I visit France but am not sure about London. As I have grown older, I have moved from derision to begrudging admiration!



Although the Open Gardens Scheme provides a unique annual opportunity to see many of London’s gardens, many of the gardens are open more frequently and some all the time. Brenda’s son Iain has a flat a stone’s throw from the Shard (if you have a very good arm). Formerly a run down area, it now has new  tall modern buildings springing up every time we go. Alongside modernity there are many fine old buildings. It’s not far to the site of the old debtors’ Marshalsea prison, a relic of  Dickens time. On our last stay in Iain’s flat we had a local walk round. It is quite fascinating how many small gardens are so close to the Shard.


The picture taken from Iain’s window is Old Hallows church. Its garden is horticulturally un-special but it is a splendid green oasis in the busy city and it hosts a very fine acacia. From the same window looking up to a high horizontal roofline of flats you can see the top of the Shard. At night it looks like a huge colourful dalek standing on the roof. Sorry but my camera let me down yet again.

I liked this approach to the growing and displaying  of dwarf plants. Some fine alpine collections now use this technique which perhaps has some of the cultural advantages of a raised bed.


Pictures on our stroll 

If Borough market is open it is well worth a visit. All human life is here. There is so much tradition, craftsmanship, colour, character and fine produce that as the subject matter for a blog there would be stories for years.

Link  to London














Link to Amsterdam











Link to my earlier post
















16 comments:

  1. Must admit to being one of the like my trees natural school.

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    Replies
    1. So do I Sue, but when London plane is just to just too big for it's site in a street what do you do?

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  2. London is well off for gardens and trees. Some cities you visit look so barren. I like Plane trees in any shape. I particularly love the patterns their bark produces.

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    Replies
    1. Fantastic bark, Mark. One of the reasons why it has historically done so well in London is because the bark peals shedding all the soot and grime from the polluted air early last century

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  3. Nice pictures.
    You are lucky to have such a wealth of gardens to visit in Britain and on the continent. There are some in North America but a great deal fewer, in part I suppose because the climate is harsher and much harder on gardens. I am not at home just now but our garden, I am told, is covered with over 2 feet of snow! (We prefer it that way, if very cold temperatures happen, the plants will be well protected).

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    Replies
    1. We are hearing about the awful cold you have at the moment Alain.
      The Amsterdam gardens are all easily walkable in the day. The 200 London gardens need the bus but clusters of gardens are also in easy walking.

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  4. Thank you for the reminder - I usually remember the Open Squares half way through the Sunday afternoon. Too late. Your travel notes on getting to Amsterdam sound very tempting.

    Can't agree on the alpine rock bed. There's one similar at Wisley. I know they're the new way to do rock gardens, but I think they have a utilitarian, one-dimensional bleakness about them.

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  5. Interesting about your design comment. I have not seen the Wisley rock garden But I can see how your comment applies to the one in my picture. I do not see why the idea cannot be skilfully married with traditional design using large stones.
    I find that so often when gardeners plant true alpines they soon lose them and I suspect giving them a well aerated, well drained, relatively 'deep' soil profile which is separated from their immediate neighbours might give them the root environment they like. I realise this might be 'pie in the sky' and any neighbouring vigorous plants will like the conditions too!
    I am restoring one of my own small alpine features and I am thinking of giving it a try!

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  6. Amsterdam Open Gardens seems really beautiful and I must say that you are lucky to have visited this an amazing garden. I remember that I visited a garden where I saw many good plants like abelia, sensi seeds plant, callisia and much more. So, this garden seems same, I will definitely visit it.

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  7. Sorry Roger I do not like this trend of using a sort of vertical rock strata to display alpines which has been much publicised in the AGS Journal over the last few years, admittedly it does give excellent drainage, but I very much doubt if there are too many examples in nature that it can emulate. Give me the horizontal strata which as far as I am concerned is more natural.

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  8. Do not apologise Rick, I have not nailed my colours to the mast on the concept! I do sometimes notice in nature that there are sometimes angled stratas. I do not see why combining the stones with gravel to get a scree effect does not have design possibilities.
    I know the scene I depicted looks a little stark but it is great to see a local community effort doing something different.

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  9. I remember your post about the London Open Squares Gardens last year. The Amsterdam Open Gardens sound like a wonderful event too, and so reasonably priced. I think as bloggers, we tend to snap away at anything and everything, but I was exactly the same as you in the past, visiting places and leaving my camera at home. It doesn't happen these days.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jo,
      I did not realise how blogging would change my life!

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Wie of wat u ook wilt (laten) vervoeren: personen, documenten of pakketten, Wie of wat u ook wilt (laten) vervoeren: personen, documenten of pakketten, bij Marcus bent u altijd aan het goede adres. Onze gestage groei danken wij aan een hoge mate van klanttevredenheid. Wie die eenmaal heeft ervaren, wil niet meer anders!bij Marcus bent u altijd aan het goede adres. Onze gestage groei danken wij aan een hoge mate van klanttevredenheid. Wie die eenmaal heeft ervaren, wil niet meer anders!
    www.marcus.nl

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wie of wat u ook wilt (laten) vervoeren: personen, documenten of pakketten, Wie of wat u ook wilt (laten) vervoeren: personen, documenten of pakketten, bij Marcus bent u altijd aan het goede adres. Onze gestage groei danken wij aan een hoge mate van klanttevredenheid. Wie die eenmaal heeft ervaren, wil niet meer anders!bij Marcus bent u altijd aan het goede adres. Onze gestage groei danken wij aan een hoge mate van klanttevredenheid. Wie die eenmaal heeft ervaren, wil niet meer anders!
    www.marcus.nl

    ReplyDelete

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