Today, Sunday, it was a clouded day. Not wet no. But cold and grey. Only a few people turned up at the garden. It was still good. Further on we went with the wood chips. I filled a path between the rows. Soto filled the bit at the compost heap and the newly dug path at the side, between the hop and the newly planted raspberry plants. It was warming. I did keep on my fleece sweater, but it did get warm while working. I do feel my body right now, yes. Nothing that hurts much, it’s a good feeling.
Last week many thoughts crossed my mind. I finally went through the party program of the Party for the Animals, Partij voor de Dieren. I still need to read it more carefully. But i do think this party is closest to my own thoughts about our planet, about us humans, about all the animals and plants living here. Our current economic system is too much focused on making a profit. We humans, we are clever, we are knowledgeable. We have our science, our desire to learn everything about all the details of life, of the inorganic world around us, of the universe and the stars surrounding us. But i do think we need to learn how to control ourselves. How to take care of ourselves and everything around us on this still beautiful planet.
So yes, teaching our children about nature, having them learn by working in a small garden themselves, is one thing that crossed my mind. There are already schools doing this, there are already people working on getting this done and working. I’m also thinking about schooling older children and young adults get. I’m not sure, but i do think it is too much focused on making children learn skills they could use in our current working environment, not make them learn their own specific skills and broadening them with the help of their teachers and other students. Make work less taxable and make profit of companies more taxable. Return our working culture back to a more regional area, make all farmers work ecological, make communal vegetable gardens all over the country. Those are simply first thoughts in my head. Nothing is fixed yet, and so many things are already being worked on by so many people.
This is all so much a bunch of loose ideas, tumbling over each other. It’s good, thinking these thoughts. They will settle down a bit more over time. I’m happy i am thinking them.
More later. Salute!
At two today, Sunday 6 November, i was in the garden. It was raining. I emptied my compost bucket, talked with John for a short bit. I weeded for around fifteen minutes the side with the shrubs. Then Daniël came along. Coffee!
And i had some cookies with me. Oatmeal raisin cookies. A first try. Fine, but could be better. We cleaned up the greenhouse for a bit. Threw some stuff away. I wiped the boards. It got busier. Some were clearing the beans and corn rows, taking away the high rising bamboo structures the beans were growing unto. I went to the other garden to harvest some parsnips, together with Stephan. In the end we harvested the entire parsnip harvest. The rats were eating them. The ones not taking home will be put below sand.
I didn’t make any photo’s. I had intended to do so. Show you the work we have done on the shrub sides, weeded out and new shrubs planted to fill it up a bit more. But we worked hard, and it got dark quite soon. And it did rain intermittently.
I am tired now. My garden clothes are in the washing machine. Also the rain cape i wore today, which was still dirty from the last time i used it. The parsnips i took home are in a bowl with water. I will clean them properly later on this evening.
So for today, goodbye. Enjoy your Monday.
Wednesday 5 October i went to Dordrecht, a small town south of Rotterdam. My first goal was to visit a gardening and seed shop with the name Vreeken’s Zaden. When i went to the shop Stek a few weeks ago to look around and buy some bulbs, i was also looking for Catmint’s seeds. They didn’t have them, but they mentioned the shop Vreeken in Dordrecht. I had never heard of this shop before. When i spoke about this in the garden, during a coffee break, i learned that many of the seeds used are from Vreeken. So then the thought came up to go and visit them.
I was lucky today. When i woke up, i felt a chill in the air. But the sun was shining. Even though there was a breezy chill in the air, it looked absolutely wonderful. The trip i wanted to take to Dordrecht was with the waterbus. A trip over water, following the Nieuwe Maas, past Kinderdijk to the Noord, ending in Dordrecht at the Merwekade. A short further trip with another boat brought me to the Hooikade, close to Vreeken’s Zaden.
After i entered the gardening and seed shop, i was simply stunned. The entire shop was packed full of cabinets of seeds. Ooh, they also had gardenings gloves, books, food for birds, houses for birds and insects, all sorts of gardening equipment and greenhouse type shelters. There is an outside with seedling plants, an upstairs with bulbs. And many people working there, going through the shop, no doubt working on orders coming through the Vreeken website.
Once i had made my first walk through the shop, i talked with one of the people working there, Ada. I told her who i am, asking permission to make photos inside the shop. I also told her i was planning on writing a post on my website. Which was fine, luckily!
After a second, more thorough trip around the shop, making photos, i settled with buying the Catmint seeds and a bag of bee attracting flower bulbs, flowering from early February until July next year.
I decided to walk back to the Merwekade over the Voorstraat, which was going through the old centre of Dordrecht. It is not a town i know well, i admit. The centre is a very old Dutch town centre, with some lovely pieces mixed into the shops. I loved the bit called the Hof, besides an Augustine church. Adorable.
I went to the Taankade, running alongside the Voorstraat for the final bit.
I ended up at the Merwekade once again. It had only taken me around half an hour to walk from Vreeken to the Merwekade. I waited there for around 15 minutes for the boat. The trip from Dordrecht till Rotterdam was an hour. With this lovely weather, not bad at all. A travel alongside man made natural areas, boat builder factories, bridges and a lovely three mast private ship.
Back in Rotterdam, i walked up to the Peace Garden, where i had left my compost bucket in the morning. A short trip to the Marqt shop to buy eggs and butter to end up at home. To rest my tiring feet!
Today i ventured out towards the south part of Rotterdam. I kept it rather close, i focused on the Kop van Zuid, the Head of South, and the neighbourhood Feijenoord.
I left home around 9:30 and went straight to the city herb garden the Rotterdamse Munt, on the corner of the Laan op Zuid and the Brede Hilledijk. I had checked before i left home and knew there were people in the garden from 10 onwards.
I had a short talk with one of the coordinators, Giselle. The garden itself exists only for around two years. It funds itself with a shop, a small cafe with a lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and the possibility to get your vegetables from around Rotterdam there. People can pick their own herbs, but they also buy them in the shop. A couple of restaurants let some of their staff pick herbs themselves.
The current location is temporary. In a year or two the garden will move to another location. Still unsure where at this point. I do hope the new place will be close to the current one. Making a community of people living close by, helping out in the garden, working and socializing with each other takes time. It’ll be a waste if the community surrounding the garden now will be lost in future.
The main focus of the garden are the herbs. Mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, verbena are among the most well known herbs, but there are many other herbs growing and many different variations of thyme, mint and other herbs which all have their place in the beds. In the greenhouse some cucumbers and tomatoes grow.
I had a mint tea and an almond cake. Lovely.
Ready to walk on. I planned to walk back through the Feijenoord neighbourhood. I actually missed it for the most part. I was back at the north part too soon, close to the bridge next to the Hef, the old train bridge. I saw sunflowers and more vegetables and herbs, so i walked into the area just south of the Hef. After i took a photo of the insect hotel i walked further around and talked with a man who was filling up a small swimming pool. He showed me the garden of the Hefpark. It turned out one of the coordinators was sitting in the shade a bit further along. I had a short talk with him. And i forgot to ask his name! So sorry.
He told me about the garden, a community of single user small areas, from one square meter to a lot bigger, all sizes people would think they can handle. Most people keeping their garden were living close by. I told him about my own work in the Peace Garden. We could both see the advantages of both approaches. For me, since i don’t have any gardening experience, it is really nice to work with other people who know more than me in a larger garden. But for a family it does make sense to have your own garden and work on it together. And of course it is an easy step to ask for help from neighbouring gardeners. He also told me about another Rotterdam initiative with multiple projects in Rotterdam, Creatief Beheer. I will read more about them and certainly will visit their projects.
There is also a BMX area for bikes to cross over and a volleyball field.
After this, back to the upper part of Rotterdam and walking back home.
The photos are placed in chronological order.
A week ago i walked around the Old North part of Rotterdam, to the Wilgenplantsoen and the Blokland Garden. I also went past the Gandhi Garden, but it was closed at the time. This week i went to the Gandhi Garden again, at a time i knew it was open.
Still no map available, so i will write you through the walk.
I walked over the Noordsingel and the Bergsingel straight to the Gandhi Garden. I spoke with John for a bit, one of the coordinators there. I told him about my walks and writing about them, informally on this website. After this i walked to the center coffee and tea drinking place. A woman was sitting there with her two dogs, Binti and India. We chatted a bit, i drank a coffee. After that i went into the Gandhi Garden and made some photos and talked with some people working there. Some of them i did recognize from my time working there a few years ago. I told them about my walking project and about the Peace Garden, where i work twice a week.
I walked to the end of the garden, where a lovely hexagonal greenhouse was standing. Inside on one side tomatoes were growing. On the other side, and in the middle there were seedlings growing in small pots.
I walked on a small path further to the back, against the wall of the old train rails. In the deep shade woods and other material was sheltered. I smelled some marihuana, but couldn’t find any plants which were looking like it. A small path went all around the gardens. In the middle the beehives were busy standing there.
I walked back to the center place where someone had made more coffee. It was time for a short break. Ronald came too, i know him from the Peace Garden. He told me there was another area with gardens up the Gordelweg. A good next stop! After i finished my coffee i went with him to the big potato hills, wrapped in chicken wire. Time for the harvest!
After that i said my goodbyes to everyone and walked over the Gordelweg on a path besides the canal. Boat houses were lining up there. Really nice to live there. Passing some chickens i saw vegetable gardens on the other side of the fence. Hoping for an entrance further along, i kept on walking past it up until i could turn the corner and i saw an open gate, lucky for me! These Gordelweg gardens were all single user gardens, some neat, some a bit more messy. Areas for compost in between, and a small sheltered area with a bench and a bit of water separated one area from the next. I didn’t see anyone around, but still, it was good to walk there and let the area slowly sink in.
After that i went back home, walking through Blijdorp. I walked through the Central Station and the city centre. At the Schouwburgplein i bought a bara curry chicken which i ate up walking to the market. The vegetable girls were not there though, i asked someone standing besides them, he said their dog had died. So sorry 🙁
So i walked back home. I started to feel a bit tired. Two thirty i was home, four hours after i had left. Time to lay my feet up for a short bit!
A good walk!