Video: Dutch Courtyards. Part 1. For The Very Busy
The Benelux countries - Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - along with England and France, are some of the most favorite places for spring-summer tourism and recreation for Russians. And the point here is not only the magnificent architecture, the amazingly spectacular bloom of spring bulbs or the ancient and rich history of these countries, but also the extraordinary beauty of the design of small Dutch and Belgian parks and all Dutch private courtyards without exception.
All of them are very beautiful and well-groomed, some are very refined, others are ascetic and strict. It all depends on the wallet and preferences of the owner of the house and also on his physical ability to keep his yard or garden constantly tidy. This is an immutable rule! If for some reason you stopped caring for your kindergarten, this can mean one of two things - either something very serious happened in your life or in your family, or you lost your job and ceased to be a successful person. In any case, this means something very serious and the neighbors will certainly ask you in the correct form about the reason for your behavior. Because it is so customary there - to keep everything (car, yard, house and garden or garden) in perfect cleanliness and order, even to wash windows not only for Easter, but at least once every two weeks.
At the same time, there are no mass subbotniks and Sundays, city mayors, federal or regional deputies do not run around with shovels before the elections and do not plant several dozen lonely and doomed trees in a couple of weeks to dry out. On the streets of cities and towns, there are practically no gas stations and all kinds of awkward car washes, and you will see a policeman only once every two or three weeks. And even then it turns out that today is the birthday of the queen-grandmother and he checks, just in case, whether everything is in order for the significant date of the beloved monarch's person. And everything is very clean and tidy everywhere. There is no mud, no puddles, and that's it, just absolutely everything - the lawns, bushes and trees are very neatly trimmed. And even the waste from today's cleaning or haircutting, in fact, which for some reason no one practically noticed, was immediately taken out. That is, she was, but no one noticed,when she was, and how it was all done. Everything is done as if by itself, because everything is very well thought out and debugged for centuries. It was not for nothing that Peter I went to study with them, and then unsuccessfully for many years demanded from his fellow citizens the accuracy of the execution of his orders and orders.
So how are courtyards or front gardens designed in Holland or Belgium? As a rule, "yard" in our understanding is very loud. Most likely, by our standards, it will be a small courtyard or a small front garden with an obligatory table and two or three armchairs for families and guests. In this case, we will assume that in this case there is no reservoir in the garden or near the site. Registration of plots with reservoirs is a topic for a separate article.
Another almost indispensable condition is the presence of a glass, plastic or some other transparent or not very large partition about the height of a person. It serves only to protect those sitting from the side wind in a sunny, but still (or already) cool season. And also protects plants a little from the same cold wind or from strong frosty winds that sometimes occur in this area. And if the family has small children, then this is also a small playground, a children's corner or just a small garden swing. Everything is subject to reasonable sufficiency and reasonable minimalism. Further, the courtyard is filled depending on your preferences, the thickness of the wallet, the available opportunities and the desire to care for your plants.
If you are not very fond of plants, you are often on the road or on business trips, or in your free time you prefer to drink beer with friends, sit at the computer, watch an interesting film or football, then your yard will be almost completely neatly paved with ceramic tiles, the maximum two some beautiful pots or pots with very unpretentious and cold-resistant flowers. For example, violas, saxifrage, some low stonecrop or perennial asters. If you are a single man, then most likely your design research will stop there. Well, maybe a lonely neighbor will give you something else for your birthday or Christmas, or she will advise you, for example, to add ranunculus or crown anemone to the violas. Or she will do it for you herself. But this is already a good start!The approach in this case is very, very pragmatic - flowers in pots should resist well possible gusts of wind and prolonged bad weather, especially often found on the ocean coast, tolerate a temporary "drought" in case of a windy and sunny day or cold weather with short-term frosts at night early spring and late autumn. In the summer, of course, temporary overdrying of an earthen coma is more dangerous and relevant. But again, it all depends on the location of your yard or patio in relation to the sun and cardinal points. If this is definitely not the south side and there is no merciless scorching sun, then the problems described above, in fact, usually disappear by themselves. In such areas, plants that are more familiar to us can be easily replaced with some stunted stonecrops, cacti or other decorative succulents.
Consider the second most difficult, but also common option. You are married, but your wife still shares more of your addiction to TV, frequent travel, or to computers and beer. In this case, most likely, a few more pots with unpretentious cereals, succulents or a small cabinet, a rack or pots for completely undemanding bulbous and perennials may appear on your site and windows. In the spring it will probably be hellebores, spring-blooming small anemones (Anemone blanda), several hyacinths, a dozen small species of tulips and a few bushes of low-growing daffodils such as Tete-a-Tete, Jetfire or Toto. And then all this "disgrace" faded in May will be covered by a couple of inexpensive hosts and astilbe. In the summer, you will add a little undersized marigolds to your cabinet or planter,easily tolerating a transplant even in a flowering state, bright cellosis or a couple of petunias. Closer to autumn, they will be replaced by compact perennial asters, small- or large-flowered chrysanthemums, the same cold-resistant sedum or crown anemones that tolerate frost well.
Common or variegated (variegated) ivy or girlish grapes will most likely be launched along the dividing wall. And a few small ceramic or glass graceful little things will be added on the window and table, since other flowers or plants, especially in the south or south-west window or area with your work schedule and lifestyle, simply will not survive. Well, don't be upset! After all, even this is already the second, one can even say with a slight stretch, a very advanced level. But you may decide that caring for flowering plants is rather troublesome, then cut flowers will appear on your table or side tables every time, which are sold almost everywhere in large enough quantities in Europe and are relatively inexpensive by local standards.Again, you can buy different beautifully designed flower arrangements or cut varieties each time. Nice, original - and no problem! By the way, this is what the owners of numerous local hotels do, since they do not always have enough energy and time to grow flowers themselves. But the fact that there will always be fresh flowers in the lobby, in the restaurant, on the windows and coffee tables on every floor, do not even doubt it! In the halls of hotels and other public institutions, now very often you can also find various relatively unpretentious hybrid orchids, in particular phalaenopsis, dendrobiums and cambria. Yes, yes, I did not make a reservation - relatively unpretentious species and varieties, because many of these orchids grow in warm countries with seasonal monsoon rainfall and also on trees, in a fairly dense partial shade, i.e.they can easily tolerate prolonged "drought" or forced waterlogging, as well as a significant lack of illumination. Isn't it true, the conditions are often quite the same as in office or in the halls of public buildings. And almost all of the above listed orchids bloom from one and a half to three to four months.
It is possible that the same sympathetic neighbor or neighbor who is more supportive of growing flowers in his greenhouse, which is often located in the backyard, will share the cut with you. If you are a very economical person and you are bored or just lazy to tinker with fresh or cut flowers, then your yard will be decorated with several ceramic figurines and some original composition of garden or kitchen utensils. It can be some kind of antique thing or even a well-preserved bicycle, in the trunk of which flowers are sometimes planted. In general, the Dutch and many Europeans plant flowers almost everywhere - on the roofs of outbuildings or their own houses, in the trunks of bicycles and old scooters, and even in boots and other old shoes.And planting miniature flowers or creating small compositions in national Dutch wooden shoes is just a national Dutch fun and, one might say, an ancient tradition!
Often in Holland you can see two-wheeled vehicles, or buses and cars, decorated with beautiful bouquets, flower garlands or whole flower arrangements. For several hours or even days, if the weather is cool, cloudy, they can stand outside your house, exposed for all to see after some regular flower show or flower parade, causing a kind smile from neighbors and passersby. But this is also an important part of the Dutch courtyards! You can't put an unwashed motorcycle or a dirty car outside their house for everyone to see. And near such a blooming beauty, you can't throw a cigarette butt or an empty can of cola or beer. No wonder it is said - it is beauty that will save the world, and from sloppiness too.
By the way, the Dutch and Belgians often use small bird houses and a variety of beautifully designed bird feeders to decorate their patio or garden. It should be noted that the Dutch are very fond of birds and all kinds of animals in general. Check out which nesting boxes they have for sale in garden centers. By our standards, we can say that this is a whole cottage built for a European starling according to an individual and improved layout. Figures of birds are often found in other floral or small artificial compositions, hanging from front doors, front walls or windows.
And how many birds live everywhere in Holland - on the banks of numerous canals, lakes and streams, not to mention - in parks and artificially created reservoirs! Among them are wild ducks and geese, swans and even gray herons living in the very center of Amsterdam! Yes, yes, right in the courtyards and embankments of Amsterdam. And not one or two birds or one family, but a whole community of gray herons. I personally counted more than ten individuals at once. They are almost not afraid of people, they boldly come close enough to them in the confident hope of eating something tasty, or sit on cars and residential barges standing nearby, gathering crowds of onlookers and tourists. And at the same time, none of the car owners drives them from their cars, so that they do not stain it or, God forbid, scratch it. I saw some eccentric myselfwho carelessly fed these herons, either frogs, or some fresh scraps of chicken production. And they willingly took food from him, almost directly from his hands. Who he was - a municipal worker or just a casual passer-by - I do not know. Maybe just a kind person who loves birds and nature. But it turned out, just like feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square in London or in St. Mark's Square in Venice.
In a word, Europeans are very fond of wildlife, a wide variety of animals, plants and flowers, and are very sensitive to all this in general and to their personal pets and their place of residence in particular. If a neighbor has done something beautiful on his site or has pleasantly surprised neighbors and passers-by with something, then they will certainly praise him for it, somehow cheer him up, and the local municipality can even somehow encourage the initiator of a good idea, even if only morally. And the kids in the neighborhood will never vandalize or pluck newly planted plants or barely blossoming flowers. On the contrary, most of the neighbors, together with their household members and, as a rule, numerous children, next weekend or in the evenings will take up scoops, shovels and other entrenching tools and build,will sit down and come up with something no less beautiful and original. So let us also adopt from them everything that is beautiful and kind and not wait for other neighbors or municipal gardeners to do it for us. Maybe then we will start, at last, from uncultured and often evil “Euroasiopes” to gradually turn into civilized Europeans? And they will finally stop being afraid of us and maybe, finally, they will start to let us into Europe without visas?
And here is another example, we are driving somehow along a local road, and I see a sign with a painted frog inside. At first I thought what it seemed. The next morning we pass this sign again. I ask my friend what this strange sign means. And he just answers me like that - this means that during mating games and the mass migration of frogs, movement on this road from about 20.00 pm to 7.00 am the next morning is prohibited! In order not to crush the frogs! Someone will object to me, yes, no, they say, they take care of themselves for the most part, so that there are fewer accidents and less "tin" if you run into a slippery frog at the turn. Maybe you will be right, but only in part, it's just that they are used to treating all living things with respect and love.
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