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Posts tagged ‘Garden’



When I spied this beautiful fern unfurling in the garden at my parents house, it made me glad to be back in New Zealand, with such beautiful nature so close to home. Don’t get me wrong, the Netherlands has its own beauty in nature, but the simple beauty of this koru really took my breath away. It’s also appropriate; in New Zealand, among other things, the koru symbolises new beginnings. – CIA Photo by CIA, Auckland, October 2012.

Our garden at night

It won’t be our garden for very much longer, and we will miss it so much. But these shots show how spectacular it can look at night-time.

Hofje Garden, Night time

The Hofje by Night.

Bench, windmill, Dutch?

The quiet of the garden belies the chaos of the packing inside the hofje

Eerily Awesome Atmosphere

Everything’s so green


Photos by PJD, September 2012. Captions by CIA. Late night packing still in progress. (Help?)

Picture perfect Paris

One of my favourite scenes from being in Paris in the early days of summer this  year is walking in the Jardin des Tuileries. This photo sums up why: This is a garden with deep history; grandiose stretches of green space in the heart of the bustling city; vibrant wildflowers, dancing brightly as far as the eye could see, their light scent wafting into your nostrils; a public space for all sorts of people doing all sorts of things; fountains and ponds for fun to be had by youngsters with boats; sculptures to attract the eye and the art lover. All this, set against the timelessly gracious Parisian skyline, mansard rooftops stretching out low in the distance. Wandering in the Tuileries in those early Summer days really was Paris at its most picture-perfect best.


Photo by CIA, Jardin des Tuileries looking towards Les Arts Décoratifs and Rue du Rivoli, Paris, June 2012. Who needs Instagram when you can have Pudding Camera?!

Three museum moments

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you might have noticed we have a thing about museums. Art museums, history museums, design museums, national museums. We like to engage with the collections, the curatorship, the physical spaces. We like to think about how the buildings enhance, diminish or otherwise interact with their surroundings, their contents and their visitors. And so I have selected three museum moments, instances where the museum we were in at the time took an unexpected twist…

The Chinese Garden Court, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

It was my first time in the Met, and CIA was showing me around some of her favourites. Having seen some of the western art, we decided to check out some of the Asian collection. What neither of us expected at all was to stumble into the Chinese Garden Court. It was nearly empty (a stark contrast to the Impressionist paintings), so peaceful, and the conjunction of modern atrium, tiling, bamboo and rocks just took our breath away. A brilliant moment.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

On a beautiful summer’s day, when the sun is beating down hot and there’s not a breath of wind in the air; when the city is heaving with crowds and even a drink that is ice cold is not enough to cool you down; when you glimpse the perfect sanctuary – soft green grass, the shade of a leafy tree, the sound of birdsong and the soft shimmer of a glassy pond – it’s just wrong when you are on the other side of the fence, and it is all just out of reach.


Photo by CIA in Amsterdam, August 2012.

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Seasonal change in our garden

There’s not a day that goes past when we don’t feel fortunate about having such a beautiful garden right outside our windows and on our doorstep. It’s certainly not a regular kind of backyard, and a far cry from what we’ve known back home in the antipodes. Now, with summer starting to make its warm and sunny presence felt, we are finding that there’s no better space to while away any spare hours we might have. Today I thought I’d share some photos of this amazing space.

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A slice of Japan in the Hague

Back in May, I planned a secret outing to a special place in the Hague that a good friend had told me about. The idea was to get PJD there without him knowing where we were going, which proved a really hard task to achieve, given his incessant “Where are we going?” line of questioning. All he knew was that we had to go there during a specific month of the year, and that our destination was outdoors. Little did he know that I was taking him to an incredible park in the Hague, which has a slice of Japan nestled in the middle of it.

You will see from our photos that we were not disappointed by this place. It is the Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park. Read more

Kickin’ back, Jardin du Luxembourg styles, Paris

Photo by CIA in Jardin du Luxembourg, red shoes & sunshine.

foldedcranes (or, what is in a name?)

Probably everyone has some kind of story about how they came to be called something.

Sometime early on in our relationship, over Mee Goreng at Chummeez I taught CIA how to fold a paper crane. It’s something I taught myself at some long ago stage of my life, and something that is really therapeutic (one day maybe we’ll post a video?). What used to be a hobby has gradually become a little obsessive. We’ve folded hundreds now, and there is something wonderful about the reaction that people have to creased paper.

When we arrived in the Netherlands, we were walking along Noordeinde, Den Haag and found an amazing paper shop. We immediately purchased (in our hilarious Nederlands) some beautiful origami paper. We each folded a crane every day, as we adjusted to the new way of life, in a new country.

It became something of a ritual, and when our Japanese friend visited us, she was very impressed. So much so, that when she returned to Leiden from a trip home she brought back as a gift some even more beautiful Japanese origami paper. If you have not tried folding the real thing, I can really recommend it.

We have many cranes now, and we think that they look particularly good en masse, in the grass.

The cranes have really come to represent us, in so many ways. They are not as fragile as they look, but they are elegant, graceful and always colourful.

Our garden is also looking particularly nice, as summer starts to make its presence felt, and the cranes seemed right at home.

At our wedding, the cranes became our wedding favours – a gift of time and care – something that stands for us. More on this, in due course.

When it came to naming our blog, in the end, what else could it have been, but foldedcranes?


Photos by CIA and PJD, this evening, in the garden.

Flower power

The height of the tulip season is just coming to an end here in Holland. Tulip time really must be seen to be believed. All of a sudden, as the spring weather  starts to get better, tulips of all colours start popping up, along with hyacinths, daffodils and then on the tail end of the season, irises.

One of my favourite things about this time of the year in the Netherlands is the train ride from Leiden to Haarlem, alongside the Bollenstreek, the area of the Netherlands where the majority of the tulips are grown and where you can see the quintessential Dutch flower fields in full bloom. It sure makes for a much more enjoyable trip than usual, seeing the flashes of colour stretching for field upon field whizzing by out the window.I also get a real feeling of, “yes, this is it, I am in Holland”, much like when I stroll past a windmill, or past one of the ubiquitous frites vendors (don’t forget the fritesaus!).

I try to snap pictures of the tulips out the train window, but the speed of the train largely thwarts my efforts (much to my chagrin). The best shot I have been able to get was this one, which if nothing else at least gives a sense of what I am talking about:

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