Fleur in Holland

I am spending some time in my native country the Netherlands, bicycling every day (when it’s not raining) while exploring the incredibly creative Dutch style gardens.  Everybody here has a garden, small or large, intensive or simple.  There are even weed-gardens here (not the one they smoke…) when people are too lazy to pull the weeds and they just let them grow to their heart’s content.

Considering that this relatively small country has 16 million inhabitants, naturally houses in cities and towns are built close together, and many live in row-houses.  So, to create privacy, the Dutch are quite ingenious by using trees and shrubs to create a privacy screen in front of their homes so that you can’t see what’s for dinner from the sidewalk.

The two types of trees that are most popular for this purpose are: the European Beech tree, botanically known as Fagus sylvatica, in Holland called Leibeuk and the European Linden tree, known as Tilia europaea, called Leilinde in Dutch.

Just as we can train an apple or a pear tree in ‘espalier’ form (horizontally grown along wires or poles), the Dutch train the Beech tree and the Linden tree into an espalier form, with remarkable result!

There are deciduous Beech trees, and a variety that keeps its leaves in the winter, although they turn orange-brown in the fall.  This is the one that my girlfriend (where I am staying) has in her backyard to screen herself from an intruding, too close for comfort, neighbor.

The European Tilia, or Linden tree, is native throughout most of the temperate Northern European Hemisphere.  And Tilia also grows in eastern parts of North America and is known there as Basswood.

About Fleur

Fleur is a retired freelance Garden Writer, currently exploring Baja flora and living in Punta Banda. You may reach her at [email protected]

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