Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Garden Frozen in Time

This time we are going to make a journey through time, to one of the most famous of Dutch gardens; the gardens of palace Het Loo (pronounced Het Low) near Apeldoorn. It may sound like an odd name but the old fashioned word loo means an open space in the woods and as such it's a very apt name.

Het Loo is not a very big palace, as palaces go, and its gardens are not all that big either in comparison to those of Versailles, France. But its waterworks were at that time, the 17th century, the best in Europe with one fountain (De Koningssprong) reaching as high as 13 meters. In 1984 the palace and its gardens were painstakingly restored to their former 17th century Baroque glory.
Come on, don't be frightened, take my hand and let's jump back in time to the 17th century.
In 1684 William III bought an old castle, Het Oude Loo (The Old Loo) that dates back to the Middle Ages. From 1684 to 1686 a new hunting lodge was built there for him and his English wife Mary II. In those days they didn't only dress to impress but also built and gardened to impress the heck out of everybody else. It's a thing!
Looking at the gardens you see that, grouped around the central axis are the parterres broderie, and the box is shaped in such a way that it resembles intricate embroidery (broderie in French).
Het Loo is situated right in the middle of an enormous forest (see, the name does make sense) which makes the contrast between nature and these formal gardens all that more pronounced. The gardens of Het Loo are formal, extremely formal, everything is pruned, clipped, constrained, prodded and ordered within an inch of its life to show the dominance of man (and in particularly this man William III) over nature. At that time nature was seen as something very dangerous and hostile, not surprisingly as death lurked around every corner. They didn't have antibiotics then, so the mere prick of a thorn could be the death of you.
In the Rabatten (ribbon beds) the plants are on display, literally. They are part of the plant exhibition that changes with every season. The point was to show off each and every individual plant. Borders, as we know them now, they most certainly are not.
To the modern eye everything looks over the top, kitsch and brass but this is in the Baroque style and was meant to very ornate.
There is a lot of hard landscaping at Het Loo; fountains, rills, statues, canals, gilded figures, two orbs, arbours, stone walls, paths, urns and so on. Here are a few of them:
Walking around these gardens is both wonderful and weird. The wonderful part is obvious, but it's weird because everything looks so new. This is done on purpose; as soon as a plant gets too big it is replaced by a smaller specimen to keep the garden looking brand spanking new. Visiting the gardens of Het Loo is like taking a trip in a time machine transporting you back to the year 1700 when the gardens were completed but absolutely new. So today we can see the garden, frozen in time, in the same way the original owners, William and Mary, saw them. A very unusual and delightful treat!
My favourite part of the gardens is the Queen's garden, especially designed for Queen Mary II. In her garden you'll find big containers with orange trees, symbolizing the Dutch Royal House of Orange into which she had married.
And then there are the Berceaux, designed for the Queen and her Ladies in Waiting to walk in, keeping theirs skins lily white (that was all the rage then) and affording them some privacy too.
I love walking in the Berceaux, the light is a wonderful fresh green as it falls through the leaves of the hornbeams.
It's like being inside an aquarium where the water has turned a lovely spring green. And they are not just an ordinary Berceaux, they are ones with a view.
With many views in fact, as windows are cut out at regular intervals.

If you ever go to the Netherlands, forget Amsterdam, do yourself a big favour and go visit the gardens and palace of Het Loo. The palace alone is worth a visit, here's a sneak preview.
The front door
One of its many rooms open to visitors.

You now have at least some idea of how gorgeous those gardens of Het Loo are. In reality they are much more beautiful of course, these pictures do not do them justice, but it was the best I could do.
It's time to go back to the 21st century I'm afraid, I hope you had a lovely journey through time with me.

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

As the poet said, 'only God can make a tree,' probably because it is so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.
Woody Allen


gintoino said...

Thank yopu for such a wonderful travel in time. The gardens are beautiful, in a much too formal kinde of way. Those guys in the 18th century really liked to show of.

Vanillalotus said...

Wow that is gorgeous. This is on my list of must see gardens. Of course the palace looks beautiful too. I could never keep my garden this trim and precise.

Cheryl said...

Stunning garden...the work involved to maintain these gardens must be absolutely huge. Whilst I can appreciate the beauty of them and the jump back in time....I personally prefer the wild look. That is my excuse for an untidy wildlife garden.
Tku for such a lovely post.

Amy said...

That is incredible. I want to get out my embroidery floss and copy some of the designs in the garden :)

Anonymous said...

What a feast for the eyes, Yolanda! You mentioned intricate in one of the descriptions - how that word perfectly describes the careful details (and upkeep) of these fantastic gardens!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This palacial garden sure does transport you to a different time and place. Unbelievable how intricate the embroidery beds are. The Queens walkway is outstanding too. I would love to be able to see it in person, someday.

Brimstone said...

Ik moet bekenen dat ik er nog nooit geweest ben :-) Maar dit log laat zien dat ik veel heb gemist.
Mooie uitleg ook van de formele tuin en de betekenis ervan in de tijd van het ontstaan.

lenie said...

mooi daar hé , de hele geschiedenis heb ik toen ook helemaal uitgediept en ik vind deze tuinen geweldig mooi !
moet er alleen niet aan denken als ik die hagen zou moeten knippen ...hihihihihi..ik piep hier al als ze geknipt moeten worden ;))))
mooi log ....groetjesss

Barbara said...

Thanks a lot for guiding. This was a long and very interesting walk through Het Loo, this big, big and stunning park. Garden architecture pure! BTW, why not combine Amsterdam and Het Loo ;-) ?? It is an interesting and beautiful town too!!

Frances, said...

Yolanda, a million thanks for showing us this amazing place. I love this type of formal garden and can appreciate the hours that must be spent to maintain it. It is a treasure. Also, thanks for that great Woody Allen quote! :->
Frances at Faire Garden

Gail said...

This was an incredible tour...I am able to see the last photo as I write my comments...and you can see the texture of the grass, either how they mowed it or planted it.

I love the juxtaposition of the formal gardens and some of the statues that have a look of passion and near abandon (couples);)


Entangled said...

The parterres are breathtaking. I can't imagine how they were laid out so precisely. I mean squares and circles are one thing, but all those curlicues? Wow. Thanks so much for this tour!

Kerri said...

I'd love to stroll through the Berceaux in particular, but I could imagine spending hours in such a place. It's all very beautiful. I prefer a more natural garden, but this is fascinating nevertheless. Thanks for taking us back in time Yolanda Elizabet.
I feel like Sleeping Beauty...just waking up now....stretch and yawn. Time for a cup of tea :)

ladyluz said...

Oh, how lovely it all is - you could spend hours roaming around inside and out...Monty Don missed a real treat there not choosing it for his 80 Gardens.

I love the fountain spouting from the Atlas ball.

Thank you Yolanda.

kjohnson said...

Thanks for reminding me how amazing the garden is. I visited Het Loo on a semester abroad for graduate school. We spent a great deal of time discussing issues of "period significance" recreation vs restoration etc. We had tea on one of the roof tops while watching the gardeners bring the orange trees into the queens garden from their winter storage. Yes amazing. Thank you.


guild-rez said...

What a wonderful garden, I have to come back to read and view all the details and pictures.
thank you for your visit and comment about Canada's Rose postal stamp.
I am inviting you to come back to see my latest and last Canada postal stamp blog entry. I published wonderful Tulip stamps and wrote about our Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.
Each year Canada receives 10.000 tulips from Holland..please read more in my blog.
Thank you.
-Cheers Gisela

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Elisabeth it's wonderful....thank you thank you I just love it! I just have to go there. What would you say is best spring or autumn?

Sue Swift said...

One of our family members married a german, obviously with Dutch origins, called van Loo. now I know what it means!

Di DeCaire said...

Thanks for the tour!

stadtgarten said...

I have been to Apeldoorn several times or passed it on a tour to the Ijsselmeer, and I remember seeing the signs leading to "Het Loo", but unfortunatelly I have never visited this beautiful palace and gardens.
Now I know what I missed and I am sure that I will go there next time!
Thank you very much for this trip to the past!
Groetjes, Monika

Betty said...

Absolutely beautiful....thanks for sharing....Betty

Naturegirl said...

Your photos as the place itself is spectacular!! Certainly a feast for the eyes..breathtaking and so lavish!!Loved seeing these gardens of Het Loo!Thank you Yolanda.

Ruth Welter said...

Yolanda, what I wouldn't give to be in that palace garden right now... I don't think I have ever seen such an exquisite garden in my life..just gorgeous. Thank you for the journey back in time.

Marian said...

Een beetje ons Nederlandse Versaille, maar dan in het klein.
Het is er prachtig, toen wij er waren, alweer een jaar of 10 geleden denk ik, waren ze de buxus aan het knippen, waardoor we niet in en in de buurt van de berceau konden komen, jammer!

Sandpiper said...

Wow! What a place! The gardens are unbelievably beautiful!!

Nan said...

I was thinking about giving myself a pity party - so I poured me a cup of tea and before I could really get the tears flowing I made a few clicks and found your blog - now I feel like I've just had the most wonderful vacation! I LOVED the pictures - and loved my visit - no more pity party for me!

Chookie said...

Thank you for the wonderful photos and description of this remarkable garden. I wonder how much the head gardener was paid for his work back then?

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to 17th century Bliss!

* Alexandre: it was a fun travel through time trip, wasn't it?

* Vanillalotus: they have a lot of gardeners working there to keep everything neat and tidy. It's a wonderful garden to visit so I hope you'll get the chance some day.

* Cheryl: like you I appreciate the beauty of the formal garden but I like the informality of a wild garden too. My own garden is a kind of wonderfully weird mixture of both.

* Amy: a garden inspired by intricate embroidery inspiring you to do some embroidery. We've come full circle. :-)

* Nikkipolani: a lot of work goes into gardens like this but I feel it is well worth the effort.

* Lisa: the Queens walkway is wonderful and is by far my favourite part of the garden.

* Brimstone: ach, dan heb je nog wat moois te goed. Als je eens tijd hebt ......... tis echt de moeite waard. En ook de omgeving is schitterend.

* Lenie: tis inderdaad wel ontzettend veel onderhoud maar er werken dan ook aardig wat tuinlieden in deze tuin want anders gaat het niet lukken om hem zo mooi te houden.

* Barbara: I think it is such a pity that most people who come and visit my country go to Amsterdam. There is so much more to see and enjoy in the Netherlands. And I'm personally not that keen on Amsterdam which is IMO overrated.

* Frances: that quote was fun, wasn't it? I cracked me up, that's for sure. I love formal gardens and this is one of the best.

* Gail: the stripes in the grass are made by the grass mower. It looks very neat and tidy, don't you think?
The garden was made for William and Mary and it is said that their marriage, although arranged, was a love match. There is a statue of Venus there that reigns over the garden. Nuff said. ;-) BTW kudos for picking that up!

* Entangled: it is mind boggling how they did all that and the maintenance of it too. Glad you enjoyed it.

* Kerri: it is a very special place and the Berceaux have a very dreamlike quality to them when you're walking there. Can't really describe it, you have to experience it for yourself.

* Pam: Montagu Don did choose this garden for his 80 gardens around the world but you never saw it on telly the way you see it now on this blog. I'm a bit disappointed with the programme as we do not nearly see enough of the gardens themselves. What we mostly get to see is Mr Don walking through them, reacting to them and talking a lot about them. So I'm not surprised that you thought he'd missed this treat and I'm happy that I was able to really show you this wonderful garden.

* kjohnson: I'm glad it brought back some happy memories for you! This is a garden that stays with you once you've visited it.

* Gisela: it is wonderful, you're not wrong. ;-) Sure I'll come back to see it as you've said the magic word: tulips. :-)

* Tyra: the best time to visit it would be in late spring, all summer long and in autumn. The garden looks great for most of the year. The pics on my blog were taken in september.
And if you go to the Loo, don't forget to visit the Kruller-Muller museum not all that far away from the Loo. That's worth a visit too. It's a national park with a wonderful art museum smack in the middle of it. They have a huge collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh and a lovely garden with lots of sculptures.

* Sue: the things you learn on this blog, eh? ;-)

* Di DeCaire: you're welcome!

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Ewa said...

oww.. what a great garden is that! thank you for that journey. This is really interesting idea, that they keep it looking young all the time.
have a great gardening spring weekend :)

Karin A said...

Lovely journey, which I really did enjoy. It's great seeing different kinds of gardens over the whole world through visiting blogs. Even though I'm not really into formal gardens I must say this looks great (esp. when reading the story behind)!

How is the weather by you? The spring is coming back here. Take care and I hope you'll have a lovely weekend! Kram Karin

Poppins said...

Thank you for the guidad tour! This is a place I always wanted to visit and now I must go there and see the lovely gardens in real life!

VP said...

Another garden to add to my must-see list. Thanks for the tour Yolanda and I hope you're having a good weekend!

rusty in miami said...

Yolanda were you a tour guide in another life?? :-) Great tour, I love that garden.
A must see if I am ever in your part of the world.

jodi said...

These are actually very fine photos, Yolanda; they give a terrific sense of the scale of Het Loo, plus they show some detail. Can you IMAGINE planting, training and pruning all that hedging to look like broderie. What an immense staff--and budget--they must have.
What a fun tour this was. It's so much fun to go places with you, and see them through your eyes.

Libbys Blog said...

Beautiful! Although I'm quite glad its not mine as I would hate having to trim all those hedges!!! lol!

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Thank you for a great tour! Formal gardens like this one, are fascinating...the amount of work put into a garden like this must be enourmous! I would lke to see this garden one day.../Katarina

Green thumb said...

Hi Yolanda, That was awesome! There are several very beautiful gardens in my country too, but the gardens of Het Loo are a class apart; you have given me one of the most beautiful dream I can ever dream about - Thanks.

Tracy said...

Just breathtaking, Yolanda...I'm in awe and wonderment. So lovely to catch up on your posts after having been away on holiday. Happy week to you! ((HUGS))

Elaine Cooke said...

Thank You for the history on the Palace Het Loo. And also the beautiful gardens that surround it. Elaine Cooke

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss time travel! :-)

* Monika: you will enjoy it very much, I'm sure of it!

* Betty: glad you liked it!

* Anna: the gardens are indeed a feast for the eyes!

* Ruth: Bliss time travel at your service! ;-)

* Marian: inderdaad een klein Versailles in navolging van de zonnekoning. Wat jammer dat jullie toen het berceaux niet inkonden. Maar goed, nu heb je wel een goede reden om nog eens te gaan. ;-)

* Sandpiper: wow is the right word!

* Nan: phew, am I glad you found my blog in time. Hope you're feeling much better!

* Chookie: not a lot I'd wager.

* Ewa: to keep a garden frozen in time is indeed a very interesting idea. Hope you had a lovely weekend too.

Karin: a garden comes more alive when you know the history behind it. Glad you enjoyed it my dear. The weather is getting a bit better now.

* Poppins: you will enjoy your visit there very much and don't forget to visit the Kruller-Muller museum as that is quite close by.

* VP: so many gardens to see and so little time! ;-)

* Rusty: probably! Hope you will get the chance to see this garden for real some day.

* Jodi: I'm glad that my own garden isn't nearly as time consuming as Het Loo. ;-) Stay tuned because I'll be taking you on another tour soon.

* Libby: not my idea of fun either, Libby. ;-)

* Katarina: perhaps you will. The Netherlands isn't all that far away from Sweden.

* Green Thumb: I'm wishing you many beautiful dreams! :-)

* Tracy: welcome back and glad you enjoyed yourself on Bliss.

* Elaine: you're welcome!

Thanks very much for visiting and commenting every one!

cindee said...

Wow that is beautiful! I would love to visit there too!!! Thanks for sharing the pictures!!!