INTRODUCTION: The Gardens | 2018

Oddly enough I can’t remember my first garden. My mother told me that already in the Anna Jacobapolder I was allotted a piece of soil as my own little garden. I must have been three years old at the time. Perhaps I already got to sow the first of my initials in garden cress, or perhaps I grew radishes. I just don’t remember.

My second garden, in Middelburg, I remember very well. It was a 1-by-3-yard strip behind our house, before you got to the vegetable garden. In the centre I had made an elevation of stones I had found which I called my rock garden. Lengthwise my garden was marked off by white oystershells. Flat Zeeland ones, of course.  I remember really liking that.

Of course we were also to be found in the vegetable garden, my little sister and I. But rather to eat things than to actually work there. (In those days we liked to pull up small onions and eat them raw.) Still, even then I understood that there was work to be done. My dad turned the compost heap, weeded and sprayed the tomatoes with copper sulfate.

When we moved to Utrecht we had an allotment for a while on the other side of the canal where the new Leidsche Rijn housing development is today. But the mandatory mowing and cutting deadlines weren’t much to our liking.

I think the gardens where I spent most time were the one on Veerdiek and the one in Bôômbos, both in Zonnemaire.