Monday, September 24, 2007

Nature and Culture

When I was on holiday in Denmark last August it was a very agreeable surprise to see how many wildflowers were growing there. I love wildflowers so this was such a wonderful treat for me. I found little blue Campanula's, blue Scabiosa, wild roses, heather, clover, clematis, honeysuckle, brambles and many other wild flowers I don't know the name of.
And I came upon this plethora of wildflowers rather unexpectedly as we were going for a walk on the beach with the doggies. Thinking of beaches you think of sand or pebbles and the sea, not of wildflowers. Well, I don't.
The walk along the beach was something that my friend Maria, the Bliss under-gardener, me and the doggies, Bamba and Pluto, enjoyed very much. So relaxing to walk along the beach, hearing the sound of the softly crashing waves and not meet a soul.
Two ecstatic little doggies having a truly blissfully happy time.

So there we were on the beach, walking along the shore, breathing in the fresh sea air, the sun on our backs, watching the dogs frolic in the shallows, in short having a great time. I was looking around, as you do, and when I turned my back to the sea I noticed this,

a lovely forest, lots of heather and a profusion of beautiful wildflowers. The wildflowers made me as happy as Bamba and Pluto on the previous pic. And all that wildflower bliss was, totally unexpectedly, found not 10 meters from the sea.
In my own country, the Netherlands, nothing grows either on the beach or very close by it. It's only in the dunes, a long way behind the beach, that you find some very tough plants and grasses and not much else. So I was in wildflower heaven that day on the Solrod beach in Denmark.

Denmark is known for its wonderful beaches, some are sandy, others are pebbled and all are, without fail, beautiful. One of my favorite things to do in Denmark is driving along the coastal road from Copenhagen to Gilleleje, also known as the Gold Coast (see map). This is a must-do for everyone who visits Denmark. I mean, who doesn't love jaw dropping sea views, gorgeous houses and cottages, beautiful forests, picturesque little villages and great bakeries (scrumptious danish pasties, cakes, tarts and pies)? Well, if you don't like those things you must be a very hard person to please and I don't want to have anything to do with you, so please go away and hang your head in shame somewhere else!
And driving along that coastal road you come across some great museums too. There is the Louisiana museum for modern art which is worth a visit for its beautiful gardens with stunning sea views alone.

The under-gardener and my friend Maria in the gardens of the Louisiana museum.
A stunning sea view from the garden of the Louisiana museum.

If you like modern art then it really is something you must see and if you're not sure whether or not you like modern art, have a go at it anyway. My friend Maria wasn't keen on visiting this museum but she surprised herself (and us) by enjoying herself very much indeed in the Louisiana museum. She even went so far as to buy two gorgeous reproductions of some of the modern art on display there.

After we had visited Louisiana we drove further along the coast in beautiful sunny weather. For most of the time we could see the coast of nearby Sweden as well, as it was such a clear day. The next stop was
the Karen Blixen museum. Her lovely house was, after her death, turned into a museum. I have visited this museum lots of times as I so enjoy looking at all the lovely rooms where Karen Blixen used to live. The oldest surviving part of the house dates from 1680. Karen Blixen is still well known today for her book "Out of Africa" but she wrote many, many more in her lifetime, usually under the name Isaak Dinesen. Karen Blixen was nominated for the Nobel Literature prize more than once.
Karen Blixen was not only known for her writing but also for the gorgeous bouquets and flower arrangements she made with the flowers from her own garden. I was amused to see that all the flower arrangements were made with flowers that grow in my garden too.
Unfortunately visitors are not allowed to enter Karen's flower garden so I had to take these pictures from a distance. Note the metal edge surrounding the flower garden.

The flower garden is situated at the back of the property. Here's a pic of Karen's house from the back. As you can see there's a big pond there, teeming with wildlife. The rest of the grounds (mainly woods) have been turned into a bird sanctuary as Karen Blixen was very keen on birds. It's a nice walk and there are lots of very old , 200 to 300 years, beech trees to admire.
From the front garden you look towards the sea. Right in front of the museum is a little harbour with mainly sailing boats, as you can see here.
In 1962 Karen Blixen was laid to rest, as she requested, underneath this beautiful old beech tree in her bird sanctuary, where nature and culture have, at last, become one.

If someone tells me that he is a keen gardener, I ask to see his garden in February.
Sir Frederick Gibberd


lenie said...

hier heb ik écht wel eens willen kijken , en kom het zomaar tegen bij je op log ...geweldig wat heb ik hier van genoten .....prachtige boeketten maakte ze .....en jij hebt die bloemen ?? Leef je uit en zet ze eens op log ;)))
dank voor de rondleiding was me weer zéér aangenaam ...groetjes Lenie

Green thumb said...

That is a real holiday! Vast stretches of green, with limited humanity, makes the place a paradise, and to see it all through your camera is like an icing on the cake.

Layanee said...

YE: What a great time to tag along with you and your friends and those labs loving the water. Tucker asked if he can go next time as water is his favorite element! Love the pictures of Karen's house, both inside and out! Thanks!

Libbys Blog said...

OOOoo I do miss being close to the sea!!! I love 'Out of Africa' a favourite of mine!!

Barbara said...

Indeed, after having read this interesting post, one should prepare the luggage and then go off to Denmark ;-) ! However, the best time for travelling there, is certainly summer, otherwise I would miss all the lovely wildflowers!

PEA said...

Such a wonderful post with such beautiful pictures! Like you, I love wildflowers and sometimes think they are more beautiful than the fancy flowers:-) I've only been to the sea once (Pacific Ocean) when I had gone to British Columbia and I remember how much I loved walking along the shore, such a peaceful time! I loved the movie Out of Africa but hadn't realized who the author of the story was...what a thrill it must have been to go visit her home and see where she is now buried. xox

Annie in Austin said...

Even if I see your post right away, Yolanda, it will be some hours before I can comment. First Denmark must be looked up, and Copenhagen, and then I had to find a map of the ferries, see all the pages on the Louisiana Art museum site, and then check out the rather pompous-sounding Sir Frederick Gibberd and his 7-acre architectural garden[one should certainly have space enough to install winter interest with 7 acres!] and by that time, all I can say is thank you for letting us come with you.

Now I know that no point in Denmark is more than 35 miles from the coast - think I can remember that one?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

What a very beautiful post. And thanks so much for the map! We Americans are notoriously horrible in geography, though I, personally, have always loved pouring over maps and orienting myself to a terrain.

I'm so glad you included Karen Blixen's house and garden. I've read several of her books and she is a great favorite with me. And now, through you, I get to "visit" her house. Isn't technology wonderful!

BTW. You left a comment on my blog last week about how the rain makes such a difference to us gardeners in Texas and I made a little video as a reply. You are very right.

Carol said...

Wow, I enjoyed this virtual tour of Denmark, especially the wildflowers by the sea. What a wonderful place!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Ki said...

It is amazing that there is a profusion of wildflowers growing in what must be a salt laden soil. Very lovely next to the juxtaposed to the rough seas. So you have dogs too. How do they get along with the many cats you have?

Kris at Blithewold said...

So beautiful and amazingly familiar in feel - I think we either have some of the same wildflowers on the shore here in RI or their doppelgangers. I can see why my Danish great grandparents settled here and felt "at home". Thank you for the tour!

Hannele said...

I love wildflowers too, so nice photos, Karen Blixten Museum I have not visited.

Birgit said...

Euer Dänemark-Urlaub muss absolut schön gewesen sein. Wie ich an Deinen Bildern sehe, interessieren wir uns für die selben Dinge: Wildblumenwiesen, schöne Bäume, Parks und Anwesen, Gärten sowieso und natürlich ist auch die Einrichtung urgemütlich. Macht Spaß Dein Bericht.

Vielen Dank für Deine wertvollen Tipps, die Bambusstangen oben mit Töpfchen abzudecken und für Deine Anteilnahme an meinem Missgeschick. Meinem Auge geht es übrigens schon viel besser. Kein Grund mehr zur Sorge.

Liebe Grüße, Birgit

Poppins said...

I loved to read this. I made the same trip and visited Louisiana och Karen Blixen's home in july. Lovely places!

SchneiderHein said...

Danke für diesen wunderschönen Einblick in Dänemarks wilde Ecken und gepflegte Gärten!

karin a said...

Hehe, I was lazy not translating my last post. Toscatäcke means (if I translate it directly tosca covering) and is made of almonds (thin pieces), sugar and butter. You basically melt the butter, but the almonds, sugar, some milk and flour and let i cook for a few minutes. Then you cover pear in slices and bake in the oven. ;)

Thanks again for sharing pics from Denmark. I've been to Lousiana once (saw an Andy Warhol- exhibition) but like to go there again. Would also like to see the home and house of Karen Blixen!

(Btw. I'm always impressed of your swedish skills. But I've noticed that there are many things alike).

Robin's Nesting Place said...

As much as I hate flying, Denmark is one place I'd love to visit. Oh to sit by the sea and soak in that beautiful view. What a lovely, lovely place!

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tour of Denmark. I loved the wildflowers by the sea and how happy the dogs looked frolicking in the water.

I visited Karen Blixen's house outside of Nairobi in Kenya. It is much smaller than the one in Denmark maybe two or three bedrooms. It is the one you see in the movie. The very same one. It is very pretty. It is also a museum. When we were there in 1994 I also met this old guy who was a friend of hers. It was such a wonderful trip.

Dorothy Guyton said...

I almost got married in Copenhagen. Glad that I did not marry that man, but sad to have missed your beautiful country. How beautiful are your pictures. I'm hoping that someone so in tuned with nature that you can appreciate reading "Diary of a Wannabe Gardener" available at it will be a nice beach read. Continue to share I love traveling through your eyes.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

Lenie: zo zie je maar dat soms ineens onverwachts een wens wordt vervuld. Op 1 plant na, heb ik alle planten die Karen voor haar boeketten gebruikte, grappig he?

Green Thumb: it was a lovely holiday and I'm glad to share it with others.

Layanee: Tucker is always most welcome to join us on our walks!

Libby: living near the seaside is great; I love going for long walks along the seaside.

Barbara: there are worse holiday destinations than Denmark. ;-)

Pea: Out of Africa is an autobiographical story by Karen Blixen in which she describes her life (and the love of her life) in Africa. Like you and Libby I loved the movie!

Annie: I had not realised that visiting Bliss comes with so much extra *homework* for you. ;-) I hope you enjoyed it though!

Sir F does sound a bit pompous, doesn't he? With 7 acres we could all have gardens with year round interest, especially when we had a few gardeners in our employ. :-)

MSS: These last few days I've found that Karen Blixen is still very popular with many of my garden blogging friends. I'm glad to share my visit to Karen's house with all of you.

Carol: wildflowers are a firm favorite of mine. That I found them so close to the sea was an unexpected treat for me. :-)

Ki: exactly, so imagine my surprise when I found the wildflowers there. But perhaps it has to do with the sea being very calm overthere. There is not much difference between high tide and low.

Unfortunately Bamba and Pluto are not my dogs, they are my friend Maria's. Maria has many cats too, 14 of them and they and the dogs go along very well. Bamba is especially gentle with the kittens and cats and all the cats love her.

Kris: aha, you're also descended from Danish ancestors! The things I find out about my garden blogging friends. ;-)
Do you have a very calm sea in RI too?

Hannele: you're not the only one who loves wildflowers it seems. ;-)
A visit to the Karen Blixen museum comes warmly recommended by me.

Birgit: you are right, we like a lot of the same things. Sweden is on my wish list for next year. Glad you enjoyed this post so much. And I'm very, very glad that your eye is much better now.

Poppins: I know, I read it on your lovely blog. Both museums are great!

Silke: you're welcome!

Karin: thanks for the explanation! Now I can use this recipe for my pears too. ;-)

The Karen Blixen museum is worth a visit, especially if you take the coastal tour too.

I can read a bit of Swedish because it's a bit like Dutch (my own language), English, German and Danish. So I can piece things together. Sometimes I have to say a word out loud and then get the meaning of it. But I got lost on Toscatäcke. LOL

Robin: Denmark is truly a wonderful country. I've visited there many times now and I haven't had enough of it yet. ;-)

Chigiy: when I visited the Karen Blixen museum in Denmark I read about the museum near Nairobi. What fun that you have been there. I'd love to go there some time!

Dorothy: welcome to Bliss! You almost got married in Copenhagen? I'm intrigued. :-)

lenie in de stekken said...

whahahahahahahahaha ja dat klopt , zal je eens linken ...moet nog steeds een nieuwe rij aanmaken , moeten er nog zoveel bij ;))
ik ga poten ....of wil je ook een stekkie ??? whahahahahahahahaha
elegant en fijngebouwd hé ??
whahahahahahahahahaha ;)

Betty said...

What a wonderful trip...and the pictures are fantastic....thanks for taking me along.....

Yes, the Moonflower Plant is gorgeous in bloom but the Moonflower Vine's scent is out of the world.....if you will remind me in a few weeks, I will send you some seed if you want them...

Thank you for the visit and comment....

Lis said...

Das sind sicher wunderbare Erinnerungen an Dänemark. Ich war noch leider nie dort, uns zieht es immer mehr in den Süden.
Das Haus und der Garten von Karen Blixen sind ja ganz reizend und dass es in Dänemark viele Museen gibt habe ich auch schon gelesen.
Danke für die schönen Fotos, es war wie ein kleiner Urlaub am Meer.

Tracy said...

Oh, this brought back memories...DH and I visited most of the places you mention here, when we were on a trip to Denmark a few years ago--Louisian musuem, Karen Blixen's home...that was a grand time. Your photos are wonderful. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Happy Day ((HUGS))

Rosehaven Cottage said...

LOVE the closing Gibberd quote! Here in the Bay Area my gardens are in full bloom with all the early spring bulb flowers, so maybe I'd pass Sir Frederick's test. I also adore the photo of the doggies running in the water! Such sheer joy! It's interesting how your post goes from the beauty of the complete informality of the wildflowers along the sea to the formality of a tended garden. I had to stop and think which I preferred and thought more lovely. I'm still thinking about that. Thank you!!!! Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Naturegirl said...

This was a lovely walk with you Yolanda and in seeing your kindred spirits home of flowers that grow in your own garden..nature certainly does bring our worlds together as one.Thank you for sharing with us.
hugs NG

Kylee said...

You take the kind of vacations I like. :-)

I just bought some heather yesterday!

stadtgarten said...

Thanks a lot for sharing your holiday memories from Denmark with us.
Karen Blixens house is beautiful and so is her garden.

But on one thing you are not right: there are a lot of wildflowers on the dutch coast, if you go to the right places.:)
We spent one week of our holidays again in West Zeeuwsch Vlaanderen, and there is a big "natuurgebied" called "verdronken zwarte polder" with lots of wildflowers. Some years ago we made a guided tour there and found lots of interesting plants.
It is a lovely region there, with long white beaches....
Groetjes, Monika

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

@ Lenie: ja, doe mij ook maar een stekkie. :-) Goed dat je zoveel lol hebt, mag ook wel eens he? Lachen is gezond!

@ Betty: thanks for your kind offer, I will take you up on it. ;-)

@ Lis: the south is very attractive I know, if only for the weather. ;-) But the north of Europe has its charms too. Glad you liked your little Urlaub am Meer.

@ Tracy: how nice to know that you were there too with your DH and that you both had a wonderful time.

@ Cindy: I've been in the Bay Area a looooooooong time ago. Stayed there for a month.

Going to the beach with the doggies was sheer bliss as they were so very, very happy. They made us laugh out loud with their antics and sheer doggy joy!

It is a difficult choice, I agree. I've decided that I like both equally. ;-)

@ NG: glad you enjoyed it so much and get well soon my dear!

@ Kylee: they are not bad, it's true. ;-) I'm looking forward to seeing on your blog where that heather is going to be planted.

@ Monika: in Denmark the wild flowers grow very, very close to the beach. In my country wildflowers also grow near the sea but much farther away. They have to as we have springtides and usually a very choppy sea. The salty water would kill them off quickly.

Dutch Sealand (Zeeland) is a lovely province I go there often for its outstanding natural beauty. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much too. But I must admit that I love Danish Sealand as well.

Bert said...

Hi Yolanda,
As the undergardner I always love going to Denmark and meet our friends there. An dof course there's a lot of typical Danisch / scandinavian things to see and do.
This blog brings bach nice memories and a bit of sadness, because those visits always fly by so fast.

See you,


kate said...

It is so cool that there are wildflowers growing on the ocean's edge. I loved seeing the pictures and much enjoyed the dogs having a great time in the water. Lytton would have joined right in.

Karen Blixen's house and garden are stunning in their simplicity and tranquillity.

I think I'd like to visit Denmark!!