Two years back, on my first visit to New York, my friend from school Shalini recommended a visit to The High Line. We walked there; she stylishly in her boots, and me clumsily dragging my massive backpack.
I loved The High Line (thank you Shalini). It not only recycles and repurposes old beautiful things but also provides this incredible sense of community. It is a living artefact; you walk through it, into it, use it, and get inspired by it, mingled are chunks of concrete, old metal, grass, plants, and graffiti backed buildings. At the end of our walk, the crowning moment, was a magnificient sun dipping down the Hudson river.
Imagine my joy when I realized that the garden designer who worked on The High Line was in fact Dutch and he very generously opened the doors of his private garden in Hummelo, near Arnhem, every year to the public. Of course one of the delights of visiting the gardern is the nonchalant Piet Oudolf casually walking around and talking to visitors, “Is that actually him, oh my God!”
The hour-and-a-half drive from Amsterdam was rain drenched but when we reached the garden looked freshly showered and ready for meet and greet. There is a strange wildness to it. Everything looks like it has grown around, grown into, yet the colors are purposeful, the leaves carefully arranged, there is a balance of height and breadth.
A crafty arched passage of pruned expertise is met with rebellious grass and masses of feral greenery. Thoughtfully placed benches and chairs are alluring. Bumble bees and butterflies fly around in what could well be their paradise. Around there are acres of farms, holstein cows, horses, and sheep.
The garden is magically located in a bucolic postcard village called Hummelo. Where thatched cottages have red doors and gardens have ponds with little wooden wind mills. The garden opens up like a secret path, a hidden idyll, and its rampant plant life is a joy to behold. It reminded me of the wild flower mirth I often see around the Metro Line 51 route tracks, the bloodred poppies, the blue and pink foxgloves, and daisies. Though missing from action were the dandelion bet they would be an utter nuisance in a garden such as this.
For more information on the garden openings and details you can visit the private garden website. There were three of us, and we had to pay 10 euros, which is not mentioned on the site, however given the garden maintenance costs it is understandable.
We rounded off our trip with a walk around the city centre of Zutphen, which was half-an-hour away. We had visited this little town ten years ago and it was sweet to relive old memories and very welcome was the piping hot kibbeling that we devoured in the Saturday market while getting drenched in the rain, ah summer joy!