OPEN GARDENS IN AMSTERDAM – 30 gardens
A group of 11 WFGA members visited Amsterdam for their Open Gardens weekend around the canals. It was a fascinating insight into what lies behind these tall beautiful buildings, some 5 floors high, plus cellars. Built in the 17th century these houses were stately homes with flowering gardens, with coach house at the end of the garden where the coachman and carriages were housed. These now have been restored and are now garden houses, spare rooms, elegant garden dining rooms or somewhere to house unique collections. Many of the gardens had simple but strong design features and my impression was mainly one of clipped box and yew, lots of green, huge trees and symmetry. Some had wonderful sculpture, beautiful antique benches, unblemished hostas, white roses often and were tiny which made it possible to see all 30 in a day and half with some good planning.
Public transport is easy to use and the streets relatively quiet as so many of the residents use bicycles. Quite a few of gardens had refreshments of some kind ranging from coffee to wine. An added bonus on the trip was that to get to the gardens you had to go through the house or museum which gave wonderful peeks at salons, kitchens, art galleries, and private rooms. We got the impression that most of the gardens were maintained rather than gardened by the owners, nonetheless they were all a bit different, some taking a few minutes to view and others where one wanted to linger.