Last year, Mike and I planted cilantro, basil, and two types of mint. This year we are expanding our herb garden or kruidentuin. We also picked up peppers and tomatoes. Of course, I picked the rainiest day of the weekend to go to the garden center on the other side of town.

Mike started tomatoes inside in a small container. We didn’t realize how many plants we had until they were transplanted into larger pots. Currently the tomatoes, mint, and bell peppers are flourishing. The hot peppers never sprouted. Oh well.

tomatoes and mint

peppers maybe


One of my favorite cities nearby is Utrecht. It is a charming city with canals, good food, and lots of things to do. It is pretty obvious why so many people choose to live there.

Recently my husband found a charming wine bar, Vino Veritas, that we just had to try. All the wine and food is imported from Italy. We’d been missing having a nice wine bar nearby.

Lekker eten en buiten zitten.
Lekker eten en buiten zitten.

The Dom is a lovely place to visit.  It has a freestanding tower and a charming little garden courtyard, Pandhof. I thought I had taken more photos of the Pandhof but I can’t seem to find them. That just means another trip is needed for more photos.

Last flowers in the Pandhof garden by the Dom.
Last flowers in the Pandhof garden by the Dom.

As much as I love the city, it does have one downside: it’s a challenge to figure out how to leave the central train station. The train station has lots of restaurants and shops – essentially it is a mall with a train station at the center. Cool but somewhat annoying. I am getting better at navigating it though.

Garden Makeover

When Mike and I moved in to our house it had been empty for three-quarters of a year and the garden had gone to seed a bit. I could tell the garden had potential but it needed a little work to make it lovely.

I mentioned to my friend, Belen, that I wanted to do something with my garden and was a bit at a loss for exactly how to get it to look like the garden in my head. She generously offered to help me out.  We went over the plan for the garden and she suggested plants to help me get the right look. After a few texts back and forth, we settled on a day to make the plans a reality.

Before the big day, I had picked up a few tools,  some weedkiller, and found some empty planters in the shed. The day of the garden overhaul Belen arrived with trimmers (in every size imaginable), extra potting soil, brushes, miscellaneous tools, and flowers. So between the two of us we had everything we needed.

First we got rid of the weeds in the flower beds and between the tiles. While I finished weeding, Belen also re-potted the flowers she brought with her and a bunch that were being squished by some bushes.

Repotted flowers

After the weeds were gone, we trimmed the trees and bushes. We decided to dig out the big bush in the back corner to make room for the Hortensia. After a trip to the tuincentrum (to pick up more soil, citroenmelisse, and a Clematis), we planted the Hortensia and the Clematis. Belen made sure that the Clematis would grow in all directions to cover the lattice.


New garden


Here is the final result:

Thank you so much, Belen, for your generosity and hard work.

Schilderij 2

After my last art workshop, I found that I do enjoy painting so I signed up for a second workshop. Both workshops covered landscape painting but the second was en plein air. The workshop was held at a lovely farm in Eemnes. I really enjoyed working on location instead of just from a picture. You get to choose what you want to paint instead of what was photographed. You can see, hear, touch, and smell your subject. I decided to challenge myself with a difficult perspective.

Here is the area I painted.
Here is the area I painted.
Here is my sketch of the view I wanted to paint.
Here is my sketch of the view I wanted to paint.
Here is my finished painting. As you can see my perspective is a little off but I am fairly satisfied with the result.
Here is my finished painting. As you can see my perspective is a little off but I am fairly satisfied with the result.

The class and teacher, Ton de Kruijk, were really great. I had so much fun. Maybe soon I will try painting on my own.

Keukenhof Gardens

Last week we visited the Keukenhof Gardens with friends. It was so easy to wander among the flowers and forget how long you had been there. My husband, Mike, was very accommodating as we pointed to flowers and asked for photos. After a while he just started taking pictures of the beds we lingered over. This is just a small portion of what he shot.


Mother's love tulip

plant sculpture


flower mosaic

red flowers



near the canal


colorful beds


They even had my favorite flower: bleeding hearts.
They even had my favorite flower: bleeding hearts.

pink tulips beds

peacock Keukenhof

white tulips

Blue breasted bird

Russian dolls made from planters.


Op de tuin

For most of my adult life I have lived in an apartment and someone else took care of the landscaping and the garden. When I moved to the Netherlands that all changed. Now we have a house with a little garden that needs a lot of help: trimming, weeding, planting and general cleaning. Over the winter it was too cold to do anything in the garden but now that it is spring, Mike and I can begin to fix it up.

The garden (tuin in Dutch) in its current state.
The garden (tuin in Dutch) in its current state.

The stone tiles need to be cleaned.

I also discovered that the lanterns are all rusted so just removing the wax and replacing the candles won’t work. We also need some chairs.
Mike wants to put in a chiminea and plant some mint maybe a couple other herbs.

Our front yard is a little overgrown even after trimming the bushes. However, the front yard requires less work than the garden.

Here is my ideal renovation for the garden:
tuin plan

Wish me luck, I’ll keep you updated on what we do with the garden.