Owning an Amsterdam city garden for more than a decade, every summer my family works and leisures on our 300-square-meters-patch. There is always a load of things to do. Battling the weeds, topping the trees, trimming the roses, dredging the ditch, painting the house, mowing the lawn, picking apples and grapes. Never a dull moment.
But once in a while I sit down a little, knit of course or read a book. Then one day lately, staring up in the air I noticed it. Wow what a big tree! From the sky downwards my eyes travelled to its stem. My heart made a leap. Huh that tree is standing inside my hedge! It is my tree! It had grown so big I simply pass by without having noticed it ever. Every year the tree must have sneaked its way up skywards until it reached beyond my shortsighted scope. The giant had become a true palace for many birds and insects and my husband cries “It blocks our sun in the afternoons.” But hey, I always say “This little patch of nature belongs to the rabbits, moles, mouses ánd the trees, we are the guests here!” So the fir tree is here to stay.
In our garden park the tree is a youngster though. Almost a hundred years old, our ‘Ons Buiten’ is one of the oldest garden complexes of the city. Once diminished because Amsterdam expanded, it still harbours more than 400 hundred gardens. Two long lanes crosscut the groundplan vertically while little pathways baptised with old fashioned womens’ names lead the gardeners to their cottages.
With the old oaks, blossom trees, willows, hazelnut and apple trees this city garden forms a little paradise situated in between the highways. Here you can still experience the coming and going of seasons in full. While designing my ‘Trees’shawl as on ode to my super big tree, I came across Philip Larkins’ beautiful poem that says it all:
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
(courtesy to source: https://allpoetry.com/The-Trees)