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A view and two plane trees

In the previous post I was quite positive about the newly built temple at Twickel, and I still am. But there is another fairly recent addition to the garden that I do not understand, certainly not when seen in connection with one of the main objectives that accompanied the installation of the temple on the ‘Bergje’.

Hermit’s lodge in October 2007. Photo by HvdE.

That particular objective (not mentioned in my previous post) is that through an opening in the planting on the mount, a clear view at the hermit’s lodge on an island to the south of the temple would be established. 1)To quote architect Michael van Gessel on the Twickel website: “Daar heeft men dan plotseling het volle zicht op het park met de Hermitage op het eiland aan de zuidzijde van het Grote Meer als eindpunt.”
Edit May 18, 2014: It has come to my attention that the link to this quote is lost. That is a shame, as it was the reason to write this post, and the reason why I spoke of inconsistencies in either the planning or the execution of the plan. Luckily I managed to find the link again through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Clicking the link will open a new window with a calendar. When you click on any of the highlighted dates, and scroll down to where the text ‘Tempel op het bergje’ appears in the light colored area of the site, you will see the full text, where I took Michael van Gessel’s quote from.
 The picture below shows that last year that view was already there. This year it was even better because some of the plants on the mount were cleared. There is still some planting of evergreens to be done, all the way to the top of the hill. But I am quite certain they will keep this view in mind when the ‘Bergje’ is being replanted (probably in the 2008-2009 planting season).

View from the ‘Bergje’ towards the hermit’s lodge taken in October 2007 (out of focus). The site of the newly planted plane trees (Platanus) is highlighted in magenta. In ten years time these trees will have grown big enough to fully block the view at the lodge.
Photo by HvdE.

What I do not understand is highlighted in the photo above. Recently, but not later than Spring 2007, two plane trees (Platanus) have been planted on the field between the pond called ‘Grote Meer’ (with the island and the hermit’s lodge) and the smaller pond called ‘Fonteingat’ (at the foot of the mount, not visible on this photo). 2)The plane trees were already planted at the time the statement quoted in note 1 was published. There they accompany an age old plane oak tree. The two new trees are planted way too close to that mature specimen -one can already see them bending sideways, away from the extended branches of the old tree. The new trees are also planted closely to one another (although the angle makes the distance look ridiculously small here -they are further apart than that). 3)The fact that the new trees are planted so close may reflect a usual trick in landscape gardens. The trees will grow away from each other to create room for themselves. The result is that the combined crowns will look more mature at an early stage than could be achieved with one or two separate trees.
I can only hope the two trees are planted there as an addition to the already impressive foliage the mature plane oak tree is providing. The only other explanation for those trees being there I can think of is that they are planted as back up for when the mature tree dies. Which -if true- would be a reenactment of a ‘revitalisation policy’ that became popular in the 1980s in forestry circles, but has long since been judged by garden historians and restorators as a good way to forever destroy the original intent of a garden design.

One could of course argue that Twickel is not actually restoring its park, but is, well… revitalising it. That plan includes the addition of features that serve the overall purpose. Apart from the temple, some other new features have already been added to the park that were not there before. And that is alright.
But if we zoom in on this particular action, it makes no difference what reason may have lead to choosing this location for the new plane trees. Because in ten to fifteen years time they will have grown large enough to completely block the otherwise meticulously planned view from the temple on top of the ‘Bergje’ towards the hermit’s lodge on the island.

Either the planned view is not considered important anymore, or the trees are planted there by mistake. It is a pitiful inconsistency, which ever way you look at it.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. To quote architect Michael van Gessel on the Twickel website: “Daar heeft men dan plotseling het volle zicht op het park met de Hermitage op het eiland aan de zuidzijde van het Grote Meer als eindpunt.”
Edit May 18, 2014: It has come to my attention that the link to this quote is lost. That is a shame, as it was the reason to write this post, and the reason why I spoke of inconsistencies in either the planning or the execution of the plan. Luckily I managed to find the link again through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Clicking the link will open a new window with a calendar. When you click on any of the highlighted dates, and scroll down to where the text ‘Tempel op het bergje’ appears in the light colored area of the site, you will see the full text, where I took Michael van Gessel’s quote from.
2. The plane trees were already planted at the time the statement quoted in note 1 was published.
3. The fact that the new trees are planted so close may reflect a usual trick in landscape gardens. The trees will grow away from each other to create room for themselves. The result is that the combined crowns will look more mature at an early stage than could be achieved with one or two separate trees.

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