theharmoniousgarden


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amsterdam

Amsterdam is a seriously awesome city. Regardless of your tastes or interests, you should definitely pay ‘The Dam’ a visit. I was lucky enough to do so over the weekend, and one of the unexpected highlights during my stay was stumbling across the NEMO science centre’s roof terrace in the City’s Oosterdok neighbourhood. I’ve recently taken to abandoning my guides and maps when visiting new places and just following my interests. It’s so much more fun discovering ‘surprises’ than planning everything in advance!

To be fair, the plants themselves were pretty nominal, consisting of little more than a few concrete planters filled with grasses and other nondescript filler plants. But what an awesome public space for the residents and visitors of the city to enjoy. A pulsing stream, games to play, and lazy chairs and beanbags to relax on while enjoying the panorama.

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And one final surprise for me: it turns out the centre was built in 1997 by Mr Renzo Piano, the celebrated architect who designed London’s newest skyscaper, The Shard. Thank you Mr Piano. What beautiful and accessible space you’ve created for everyone to enjoy and take in the sights of Amsterdam.


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london’s little secret

Just a few days of clear blue skies, and the Winter funk I’ve been wallowing in has completely evaporated. Spring is officially on the way, and London is tingling with excitement for the summer ahead. And with an honoured guest in town, the only way to celebrate was to explore one of London’s best kept secrets,¬†The Roof Gardens. High above the hustle and bustle of up-market Kensington High Street, it’s an exotic garden sanctuary, complete with¬†4 resident flamingos. Primarily used to host private functions, the complex (which also includes a restaurant) is almost entirely unknown to tourists, despite free entry to the gardens.

The English Woodland
The English Woodland
A meadow
A meadow
a stand of potted mini narcissus
A stand of potted mini-narcissus
A view over the city
A view over the city
Crocus
Crocus
Flamingos! I wonder how they keep their colour? Algae anyone?!!
Flamingos! I wonder how they keep their colour? Algae anyone?!!

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Spanish Garden, based on the Alhambra

Spanish Garden, based on the Alhambra
The Spanish Garden
The Spanish Garden
The Alhambran 'harem'
Inside the Alhambran ‘harem’
Looking out into the garden
Looking out into the garden

I’m fairly neutral when it comes to Sir Richard Branson, the gentleman who owns the gardens, but it seems a refreshing altruistic gesture of him to keep them open to the residents of this fair city. So next time you’re in Kensington and get the urge to escape, go relax for a few minutes with the flamingos. Just don’t tell anyone about the gardens so they stay our ‘little secret’.