today’s job: landscape designing on the couch

Whenever returning from the city to the cabin, I always have a fresh eye for the surroundings and its possibilities.

Today an idea emerged for the piece of meadow that lies adjacent to our patch of forest. When we just purchased this land we stripped away the fertile soil and put it into ridges (it holds apple trees and nettles in which birds nest). The non-fertile part sprouted all kinds of herbs that usually do not get a chance on rich nutritional soil.

Unfortunately the meadow is surrounded by willows and birches, they scatter their seeds around. Both of them are pioneer trees, born to populate a piece of barren land. Each year we mow away the sproutlings – we should carry off the waste to preserve the poor quality of the ground but it is too much work for us at the moment. Slowly the poor ground regains nutrition and grass is coming back. Herbs are retreating.

these were the emotions that washed trough us over the years:

1. hope and happiness when we first landscaped the patch

2. joy when the first herbs bloomed

3. frustration when we couldn’t keep up with the maintenance.

4. denial and hiding of the problem. Ending in defeat and sadness.

5. bravery and tranquility when aknowledging the ‘new’ points of references

6. surprise at the new possibilities

7. new hope.

Now our ‘new’ point of reference for the meadow are:

  • Willows and birches will grow. We will mow them. But will not take away the waste. The ground will enrich. There still will be various micro climates and hopefully some sort of variety in plants will remain.
  • The meadow grows very wet in winter. Ducks will live there, bobbing on the water.
  • In Summer it is dry and Very Hot on the meadow. This is good for brambles and apple trees and dragon flies and all kinds of wildlife. However, it is not very fun to be out on the meadow in midday in Summer, it is too hot. A pity because we both like to explore between the ridges and look at the different species of dragon flies and butterflies.


The new idea that sprouted in my head while I lie here on the couch resting: build a construction of living willow on the meadow.

A place to sit and cool in the Summer heat. A green, leafy place.

these are the creations by Annette Rehle, a willow specialist from Germany: Natur in Form.

oohoo, imagine such a sofa, with a felted sheep fleece on top. Comfy! And hidden amongst the green.

oh! I could make a maze of willow tunnels near the road, where we couldn’t scrape away the top soil because of the oak trees and their root systems. Wouldn’t that be fun.

I also dream of a traditional Dutch row of willows next to the sleat. It is part of our cultural heritage. You do maintanance every other year. Lots of birds and bugs love to live in these trees.

ps. In Germany the Willow is called ‘Weidenbaum’ = “meadow tree”. So true!

ps2.  I’m still grateful for that moment when I wrapped my brain around the patch of land instead of trying to make the land obey my brain possibilities loom and bloom.