On beets and roots

The greatest vegetable of all times (don’t tell the tomatoes) Nothing says Eastern Europe to me as this one single vegetable. The Dutch learn to cycle before they walk, we eat borscht before we develop teeth. Scrumptious, delicious, versatile, beetroot is completely underestimated and underused here in the West. People seem actually scared of it,…

A year of tomatoes

2019 will be known as a year of tomatoes in our household. Tomatoes galore, tomato extravaganza. A trial by tomatoes. It started innocently enough, way back in February, and according to the book: we equipped ourselves with the Ikea’s Vaxer growing kit – complete with germination trays and a special potting mix – and bought…

An enchanted grove

This place was part of my life for only one summer, many years ago, yet I remember it well. I was seven years old, a thoroughly urban child, and my mother took me to a friend’s cottage in the countryside for a month. It was a wet August, but the rains came mostly at night…

A way to hug a tree

I did hug a tree before, at the time hoping for a connection, some reciprocity, a promise of healing. This time, I hugged a tree without any expectations, just to get closer, to notice little things about it and to observe my sensory reactions. Nothing too "fancy" or esoteric. It is much more rewarding, I…

The sakura in my care

This year we hosted a small cherry-blossom-viewing party, hanami, for the first time. I had come to think that the cherry tree in our garden (a swaying factor in our decision to buy this house) deserved a celebration. A dedicated party thrown in its honor - despite the tree being, most likely, a Kanzan. My…

A short yellow journey

An evocative post from one of my favourite bloggers, on the white blossoms that accompany her walk to school, made me realise to what extent my own school run this time of the year was a yellow affair. Bright splashes of flowering forsythia, kerria and mahonia, daffodils and dandelions punctuate the journey. My daughters love…

Daphne and Nandina

Like a goddess and a servant in a classical myth, my two main horticultural takeaways from our holiday in England. My move to Holland pre-dates my interest in gardening, so I was not quite familiar with them – both are rare in the urban gardens of the Randstad. Early on during our trip, we visited…