Photography & words: © Anna Rubingh
Publication NL 2021 
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In the old village of Jelsum in the far north of the Netherlands, in de province Friesland, you find Dekema State, an estate with roots going back as far as the 14th century, making it one of the oldest estates in Friesland.
Apart from the old house, the walled garden is particularly special. The garden was, together with the house, completely restored in the 1990s. There is a beautiful large orchard with old fruit tree varieties and against the wall surrounding the garden, there are espaliered fruit trees in various skillfully made patterns. Horticulturist Wim Hoogendam began restoring and re-designing the garden in the 1990s. "The pruning and binding of the espalier trees in old 19th century shapes often takes a number of years", says Wim, "you have to work patiently, sometimes it takes 5 to 6 years to get the shape you want. But in general, an espalier tree will grow to be 80 years old, so people can enjoy it for a long time and a beautiful espalier is something to be proud of, a real eye-catcher in the garden.
The orchard of Dekema State is always a beautiful plaace to be, but in spring when the fruit trees are blossoming, the orchard turns into a true fairy tale.
In addition to the beautiful orchard and the old garden wall with espaliered fruit trees, the garden has beautiful berceau along which grapes and pears grow. Noble ladies used to walk under the berceau, which allowed them to be outside without getting tanned. Getting a tan from the sun and the open air was, of course, very inappropriate when you were of noble birth and wealthy.
Shell paths lead you through various flower borders where wild tulips, daffodils and forget-me-nots bloom in spring.
And of course, on an estate a kitchen garden is a must, partly surrounded by berry shrubs which form an edible hedge around the kitchen garden. The other side of the enclosed vegetable garden is screened off with wire mesh through which young pea plants are already making their way up.
Walking along a shell path, you eventually emerge from the neatly laid out old garden into the park area of the state, which in spring turns into a real fairytale forest with all its flowering stinzenplants, spring plants, bulbs and tubers that were imported to the Netherlands from the 16th century onwards.
You can find a series about the stinzenplants of Dekema State on the page  Spring at Dekema State. (it would be possible to combine the two to make one feature)
A series about the harvest in the Dekema orchard you find here:  Dekema State | Harvest in the Orchard

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You can find a series about the stinzenplants of Dekema State on the page  Spring at Dekema State

A series about the harvest in the Dekema orchard you find here:  Dekema State | Harvest in the Orchard

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