We’ve been in Belgium for two weeks now – filling our time slowly with the treasures of the region. We are staying in Brugge, and I’ve been fascinated with often seen medieval houses that usually have a name and number printed on the side. These ‘Godshuizen’ tend to also have pretty little gardens attached, so I spent a day riding my bike to all that I could find here and made a study of them.
Literally translated, Goshuizen would mean ‘Houses of God’ but this translation is a little misleading. They are not churches or places of worship but rather they are houses for the poor and needy. They are in fact housing for the poor, needy, elderly and widows and widowers that were built by rich families and corporations as early as the 14th century. Sometimes the houses were constructed by corporations or guilds, for their members who had lost their income or were unable to work because of illness, handicaps or other mishaps.
Most of the time these houses form a complex around an inner courtyard where the inhabitants can get their water and grow vegetables in little gardens (though most of the ones I saw, contained many more flowers than edible crops).
They also typically have also have a chapel where the people are supposed to pray for the souls of their benefactors – but this is the only religious obligation.
Many of these remain today and many of them have the sweetest most charming gardens.
Click through the gallery below to see more!
image by rochelle greayer
If you have been around here a while, you might remember the daily garden posts that I maintained a few years back (you can check out the whole mess of them in the gallery of gardens). Ultimately, the pace of ‘daily’ was too much to bear and started to feel that it didn’t allow me take the time to dig a little deeper into each one. But I miss those posts and so I am thinking to bring them back….perhaps on a weekly pace- allowing a little more opportunity to explore each one more in depth.
This summer I am headed to Belgium for a month and I have started to look for places that I want to explore in the region. In my searching, I discovered Havetid which is actually beyond the range of my expected travels (being in Silkeborg, Denmark) but were it closer it would certainly have been on the list.
Inger and Jørn have created a beautiful garden that is full of interesting ideas. Their blog
is a treasure trove of images of what appears to be every corner of the garden. I pulled a few of my favorites that gave me interesting ideas. I am contemplating how I might break a rock such as this so that I too can plant a tiny sedum garden inside.
Why have a solid driveway when you can have something planted down the middle. And why settle for turf or a singular ground cover when a pretty rock garden is even more interesting?
Those gorgeous round balls aren’t boxwood – they are cotoneaster. I had to double check this too…but yes, they are really cotoneaster. If you want to know more about how these were created check out this post.
This idea charmed me too. Why not have a raised garden bed filled with box balls, rectilinear boulders, river rock, and a weeping larch (I think that is what that is?). Who says raised beds are just for vegetable gardens?
This garden certainly isn’t devoid of flowers, but I am finding that I am increasingly drawn to those places that aren’t too floriferous. This haven of textures is gorgeous and I am studying every detail for inspiration.
I’d love to hear what you found inspiring in this garden…make sure you checkout Inger and Jørn’s website
and report back with any other fantastic discoveries.
Havetid will be open to visitors on the 24 -25th of May, the 14th-15th of June and 9th-10th of August 2014 from 10am – 5pm if you are in the area.
Are your phlox blooming yet? In new England we are not quite there yet….but in Japan, well that is a different story.
This is Higashimokoto Flower Park in Hokkaido, Japan and this is what it looks like from mid May-mid June. I came across it today as I was looking for more information about moss phlox. It is quite a spectacle and it reminds me of countless earthen reservoir dams….wouldn’t this be a fantastic way to replant after the earthworks?
The park was started and mostly built by one man, Chubachi Mr. Sueyoshi. He began in 1947 after the war with just one plant which he built upon, spread and managed. My Sueyoshi died in 2009 but the park is still open to visitors and creeping phlox currently cover over 10 hectares. You can read more about it here.
images Kimi Tour Guide and Tumblr via oddity central.
Are you looking around your garden wondering where you might be able to make a little extra space for a veggie patch? Perhaps you might take a little inspiration from Nancy Steiner who transformed her driveway into a garden that feeds her family.
When Nancy and landscape designer Leslie Needham realized that this was the place that got 8 hours of sun a day and it was easily accessible for picking as the family arrived home at the end of the day and headed into the house, — the decision to transform the driveway into a garden was obvious.
Using a variety of space saving options (like growing cucumbers up on tuteurs and putting every spare inch to work) they were able to create a garden that feeds her whole family – 2 adults and 5 teenagers!
I so wish I could share the before of this….but I think we can all imagine a car parked here an agree that this is much much better.
This story appears in this month’s issue of Martha Stewart Magazine where you can find more ideas and information about some of the products that can help you create this same look.
Photos by Juliana Sohn. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2013. For more gardening ideas, visit www.marthastewart.com.
I have this tendency to glaze over when perusing the sites and work of famed modern architects. The images (and architecture) are always so cold and un-lived in looking (unloved?). I make no personal connection and can’t even for a moment imagine spending my life in the place being shown. I personally think that this is a flaw in this type of presentation but suspect that I am probably not the intended audience and selling the ideas to people like me isn’t point.
Anyway, I make this point only because I think to some extent these images of Brazilian architect Arthur Casas’ garden have this problem (if you want to see the rest of the somewhat sterile images of the home go here). The only exception is that those steps made me stop and take a closer look. I love big wide steps that are more than just steps; steps that become furniture and their design is so well thought out that you really need little else. One side of the house has wood steps leading down to a cobblestone patio (on which I think a little furniture would be nice…..but that’s just me) — and the other side has the opposite. They are a great detail and one that I think shouldn’t always be reserved for modern architecture alone.
Now if only I can sort out how you are supposed to get into this garden….doors? Hmm…..maybe those big glass walls move…another thing that I am not sure is all that practically livable….
images from planete-deco.
Should we take a little blogland trip to France? Lets.
Have a wander through the Alchemist’s Garden which is in Provence and is featured on About Gardens.
I am taking inspiration from the White garden, the black garden and the red garden — Each are so striking and full of interesting ideas.
Rills are fascianting me right now too. I am contemplating how to easily incorporate one into my garden. I am struggling with the idea of a rill in my little country setting. In general it seems rather formal for my house….but this one, through the grass has me pondering my own possibilities.
I am also loving the idea of curtains….just for the sake of curtains.
As well as little black pots with pretty petunias held tall in metal stands. Where can I buy those?
See more beautiful images of this wonderful garden over at About Gardens (and make sure you turn on Google translate so you can get some semblance of an idea about what is written).
images About Gardens
The Chelsea Flower Show is wrapping up today and for the first time in
a long time ever I am not terribly excited to write about it. I’ve pondered if my feelings are due in part because I wasn’t actually there this week, but I think not….it is something more.
This year I feel let down. I am let down by design heroes like Ginny Blom, whose work I generally adore. Her garden for Prince Harry is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen. The myriad of patterns in subtle soft colors all look like a cheap model came to life. I honestly want to say something nice about it….but nothing is coming to mind, so I will move on.
Christopher Bradley Hole also failed my high hopes. He created a garden that to my eyes looks un- finished (I can’t help but see the frame of a new house being built among a complicated garden that technically might be interesting, but is nothing that inspires me). It does make me wonder if it might be one of those gardens where you ‘had to be there’ to really get it and appreciate it…. maybe pictures just don’t do justice? But when he didn’t win best in show (an award he has deservedly won in the past) he moaned…loudly and publicly. It was in poor form to say the least…even if he might have started a conversation about judging that is worth having.
Then there was the series of metaphorical missteps. I’m putting the Seeability garden in this group. It conceptually represents four different sight conditions – cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma – but somehow it isn’t really for blind people…what the what?
Also — there is this garden — whose description reads: “Disease and death pervade this garden, which is themed around the threat that diseases, pests and invasive species pose to British trees and plants. Features include a grove of dead trees in one corner, and a striking lonely ash sapling on its own island.” Again, I don’t see it.
Many of rest were nice but not remarkably different than gardens past. I’ll spare you my critique because I am tired of complaining. There are bright spots though. I really did love the best in show garden and am so happy for the Australian team who built it. There are some other nice ideas that I will share in time. But in the interim…I am curious if you have any opinions or feelings about this years show?
Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff. (All rights are reserved.) except where noted. Seeability garden photo and Fera Garden by martin pope from the telegraph.