Monday, July 2, 2007

A Blissful Holiday

Our holiday was spent in the province of Gelderland, the Netherlands. We stayed with friends of ours who live there. We stayed in the former coach house shown on the picture above, such a lovely old building and full of character.
Our holiday home had its own private garden and is set in the large gardens of Huis Voorstonden. One of the advantages of staying at Voorstonden for our holiday is being able to bring some of our cats along.
Sam came with us as he's a very old cat who has special needs. He needs, among other things, a lot of TLC and we're the only ones who can provide that for him so Sam had to come along.
Vita also came with us, as did Pippa, here she is looking at all the plants we bought at the nurseries,
and Kadootje came too. The others stayed at home and were taken excellent care of by a close family friend who adores cats and finds it a real treat and honour to look after part of the Bliss team.

Voorstonden is a very small village close to the very ancient city of Zutphen. The center of Zutphen is very
beautiful with so many old houses and there are many people there who love to garden, even when there isn't a garden available as you can see here
and here. There were hollyhocks everywhere, turning the narrow, cobbled streets into rather colourful and cheerful places to be.

A typical Dutch phenomenon are the Hofjes, houses built around a central courtyard, usually specially built for widows, old age pensioners and such, by rich patrons of the city.
Here's the entrance to one of those Hofjes and the picture below shows some of the old houses built in the 15th century around the central courtyard. The houses in the Hofjes are much sought after as they have a very special atmosphere. Living in a Hofje is like living in a close knit community and it's very secluded from the rest of the world.

Gelderland is known for its beautiful countryside and we did a lot of walking and cycling there. We visited lovely Klein Knoevenoord, a wonderful garden designed and maintained by 2 gents.
We went to see Piet Oudolfs private garden and took a good look round in his nursery too.

There was the lovely old castle Cannenburch nearby and we took a guided tour there, which was fun.

There were also some very pretty kittycats we went to see at Ouwehands Zoo. These white lions were very pretty and cute too. Here, kitty .. kitty!
The Hessenhof nursery was also visited as they grow everything organically there so that was right up my street. It's a lovely nursery with an unbelievable amount of plants, some very rare ones too. And yes, of course I bought some plants there, how could I resist?
Another fun nursery with beautiful gardens was the Boschhoeve in Wolfheeze. They had a lovely ornamental kitchen garden there so I was a very happy bunny, spending at least one hour in that kitchen garden alone. Pure bliss!
We also visited De Wilde, a lovely rose nursery with a beautiful rose garden to delight your eyes and nose.
All good things come to an end and so did our holiday. It's good to be back though, we missed our kitties that stayed at home and our blissful garden too.
Home, sweet home!

41 comments:

ladyluz said...

Welcome back, Yolanda - and what beautiful sights you've seen and some from the nursery you've brought back with you.

Hope you are feeling refreshed and can enjoy the fruits & veg of your labours this month.

lisa said...

Welcome back! Thanks for the tour, I doubt it would be possible to have a BAD time in such a lovely place!

Andrea's Garden said...

Welcome back and thanks for telling about your vacation. I am glad you had a great time in the beautiful setting. It is so neat that you are able to bring along your cats. /Andrea

RUTH said...

The coach house looks beautiful and how wonderful to be able to take your cats with you. So many beautiful gardens and nurseries to see too. I bet you made some wonderful purchases. Happy Gardening.

Sanni said...

Hello and wellcome back!
Your vacation seemed to be nice.. and with cats!? How did they take the travelling? What is TLC? Some medicine or what? I just asked, because I have a dog with special needs, he´s diabetic.

Happy gardening, now you are back. For me it´s really hard to leave my garden only for day at work in this time of summer :)

Bev said...

What a Blissful vacation you must have had, Yolanda. It's good to have you back, and I'm glad you were able to take some of your kitties. Such a beautiful place to stay with them! Since I can't get away I lived vicariously through yours. Thanks.

Carol said...

You certainly choose a beautiful location for your vacation and it sounds like you made the most of it. Thanks for the travelogue and welcome back to the blog-o-sphere! You've got some catching up to do!

Connie said...

Such wonderful old buildings, gardens and nurseries! Glad you enjoyed all the sights. There's really no place like home, is there?

jodi said...

So glad you had a great time on your holiday...I was wondering (as were many others, no doubt) what you do with the feline members of the Bliss team when you go--now we know. I have an image of all these little furbabies sitting in the rumble seat of a touring sedan from the twenties, wearing goggles and long scarves...
And how fared your garden while you were away?

Nicole said...

These are lovely pics, and and it certainly seemed like an idyllic vacation. The architecture and gardens reminds me of my one trip to Holland-to Amsterdam in 2003. It was for a meeting, but I did manage to get my husband to accompany me, and we got in some museums and sightseeing. The Indonesian cuisine was memorable!

Robin said...

Welcome back, I'm glad that you enjoyed your holiday.

Kylee said...

Good to have you back, Yolanda, and thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures from your vacation. That's great that you were able to take some of your kitties with you!

Hillside Garden said...

Hessenhof,da wart ihr! Ich beneide dich! Sehr schöne Bilder und wie gut, dass du die Katze mitnehmen konntest!

Sigrun

stadtgarten said...

You must have had a wonderful holiday.
Seeing all your beautiful photos, I also want to go to this part of the Netherlands soon! I just checked, it is only 3 hours from here, so I hope I can convince my husband!:)
In this part of the Netherlands I haven't been for years, we are always going to West Zeeuwsch Vlaanderen. It is also very beautiful there, but totally different (and less gardens to visit!)
Groetjes, Monika

kate said...

I'm glad Vita, Sam and other Bliss team members got to go along with you on vacation! It was fun seeing the different nurseries that you toured. I loved the street views in Zutphen - the buildings are truly magnificent as are the hollyhocks cheerfully spilling out into the street. And how lovely the big felines looked together!

Good to have you home ... am looking forward to more pictures of your gardens!!

Richtsje said...

Never visited your blog before and don't ask me how and where I found a link to it. Just wanted to say that even for a Dutch girl like myself, your pictures look so inviting that I'ld go to see Zutphen and surroundings soon!!

Now I'll have a look at all the other logs you wrote, cause I'm pretty sure your own garden and house must be great!

Groetnis út Fryslân!

Naturegirl said...

It surely was a blissfull vacation having several of your felines with you! I feel the same when I travel..if possible bring my kitties.
Thank you for sharing the photos of your wonderful tour of the gardens!Loved the photo of lions!
Welcome back! hugs NG

Green thumb said...

Welcome back dear Yolanda and thanks for taking us along on the memory lane of your 'Blissful' vacation.
Gelderland looks so serene and beautiful with its pristine charm. It reminded me of the idyllic settings of the fairy tale books, I had read as a kid. Thanks again and enjoy life, invigorated from that wonderful trip.

marl1 said...

Ja, de provincie Gelderland is zo de moeite waard..;)
En natuurlijk allerlei plantjes mee teruggenomen.....De Hessenhof daar ga je niet met lege tasjes weg..;)
En thuisgekomen kon je vast niet meer op je terras gaan zitten- geheel overwoekerd door de druif...????
OT: Kaak op pootjes? Bedoel je onze kuitenbijter?? Heeft idd hele forse tanden voor zo'n klein hondje..:)))

marga said...

Zo hee Jolanda.....wij zijn geen vakantiegangers maar dit zou een vakantie naar mijn hart zijn. Al die kwekerijen waar je geweest bent....prachtig. Daar kom je zeker niet met lege handen buiten. En wat fijn ook dat je sommige van je katten kon mee nemen. Wat een leuk huis trouwens waar jullie gelogeerd hebben. Wat zullen jullie genoeten hebben.

Felicia said...

What a beautiful vacation. So glad your little kitties got to go along too :)

Bert said...

Well Yolanda,
You've visited many nice places in a short period. And a very nice "koetshuis" to stay in. Did you still have the time to relax and read a book or so.

Welcome back!

sisah said...

Aha, sie ist wieder da! Welcome back, and thank you for sharing some holiday-photos! It seems I really have to find my way to the Netherlands, es ist eine Reise wert!Schöne Bilder.
Sisah

Birgit said...

Herzlich Willkommen zurück, Yolanda. War bestimmt schön, mal "über den Tellerrand" zu schauen. Vielen Dank für die vielen wunderschönen Fotos. Die wunderschönen alten Häuser in Voorstonden. Ich liebe solche alten Häuser sehr. Solche wunderschönen Hinterhöfe habe ich auch des öfteren in Holland gesehen. Mag ich auch sehr. Viele der besuchten Orte mit den Häusern und z. B. Schloß Cannenburch sehen aus wie in England. Ja und über den Hessenhof habe ich schon einiges gelesen und im TV gesehen. Lohnt sich bestimmt ein Besuch. Prima dass Ihr einige Eurer Pelznasen mitnehmen konntet. Ebenso gut ist es, wenn man Zuhause Menschen hat, die die anderen Katzen gut versorgen. Aber ich verstehe Dich, wieder Zuhause sein ist dann auch schön. Schade dass das Wetter so schlecht ist zur Zeit. Trotzdem, eine schöne Zeit für Dich und das Bliss-Team.
LG Birgit

ina said...

oh ik had best meegewild naar al die mooie tuinen ik ben stiekum een beetje jaloers op je ,zo n lekkere tuinenkijk vakantie maar mijn vakantie op zakynthos was ook heerlijk hoor gr ina

karin a said...

What a beautiful place for holidays! It's nice to be able to bring cats and pets with you. I've been reading about Piet Oudolfs garden design (and gardens) in different garden magazines. It must have been inspiring to see his private garden!

Anna said...

It sounds as if you had a perfect holiday Yolanda - garden and nursery visiting and to also to have some of your feline companions travel with you too. I hope that it was drier for you than it has been in England where we have just had the wettest June on record. How fortunate you where to visit Piet Oudolf's garden and nursery. We stayed near Arnhem a few years ago to go to a garden festival at Bingerden which we thoroughly enjoyed. I did not realise then that Piet Oudolf's garden was so near ! What plants did you treat yourself to on your excursions ?

Annie in Austin said...

Your tour of places in Gelderland, the Netherlands makes the whole country seem like something from a story book to me, too, Yolanda - with very lovely scenes everywhere! Even the lions look well groomed and well behaved!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Marie (FKA Piana Nanna) said...

What a wonderful vacation. I especially like the castle. I'd love a tour of one like that some day.

Cottage Magpie said...

Welcome back, what a lovely set of photos!! So lovely, in fact, that I get a little flushed whenever I visit your blog! And you visited Piet Oudolf's garden, too? I think I might swoon! ~A :-)

LostRoses said...

Yolanda, you have a storybook garden and then you go on a storybook holiday - with your cats no less! Charming pictures, and I'll take one of those Hofjes houses anyday.

And aren't the citizens of Zutphen clever to grow hollyhocks so beautifully in their non-existent gardens!

Lis said...

Danke für die herrlichen Fotos, ihr habt ja allerhand gesehen. Den Garten von Pit Oudolf würde ich auch gerne mal besuchen, er muss sehr schön sein.

beadexplorer said...

A holdiay is always wonderful but it is as wonderful to come back. Wonderful pictures!!!

Miriam said...

Hoihoi, dankjewel voor je bezoekje aan mijn log. Ik zie dat je vlakbij woont, Dinteloord-Huijbergen is niet zo ver! Prachtig huis, prachtige tuin, prachtige katten. Mijn Maine Coons al gezien? Beetje stout was het logje wel ja..... Zie dat je in Zutphen bent geweest, ooit een blauwe maandag gewoond, mijn man komt er vandaan. Ouddolf staat heel hoog op mijn lijstje..... Heb nu weinig tijd, maar ik kom hier beslist nog eens neuzen!

Libbys Blog said...

Its so nice to know we are not the only ones to take our puss cats away on holiday with us!!! Thank you for including us on your holiday!

rusty in miami said...

It looks like you and your cats has wonderful time.

lenie said...

fijn dat je er weer bent ;))
fantastisch de poezendiertjes mee...., heerlijk zitten genieten van de verschillende tuinen , jij net terug ...en ik ga haast hahahahaha....maar ja daar is het vakantietijd voor ...toch ???

Marian said...

Kijk! dat is nog eens een vkantieplek naar mijn hart, een leuk huis, práchtige omgeving èn het belangrijkste katten mee!
Wij hadden de afgelopen weken ook zoiets, leuk huis, práchtige omgeving katten. . . .enz.enz.
we vierden vakantie thuis, jammer genoeg leek het einde teveel op een watersportvakantie en hebben we niet meer van de tuin kunnen genieten, het blijft maar regenen, alles staat nu te verpieteren :-(
Maar we hebben ons desondanks prima vermaakt en onze katjes ook.

Petunia's Gardener said...

Kitties on vacation? I bet mine would like that better than being left home. It is even a more wonderful vacation when you know you enjoy coming home too. And a wonderful spot you did find to spend it!

Nan - said...

What an achingly beautiful town. I love the archway into the courtyard. I love the hollyhocks and the turquoise on the houses. I'd love to spend time walking around there. And what a kindly thing. Was this in the past, or do the older people still live ther?

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