November 18th, 2010
The storm that swept over the Dutch countryside last weekend, has taken down two beech trees near the Menkemaborg. The trees fell into the historical garden, but fortunately missed the statue of Pallas Athena.
The statue was protected by a wooden casing (visible in the centre of the picture), but that would not have protected it from a falling fully grown tree.
The hegde lining the garden inside the surrounding moat is damaged over a length of ten meters, and a few conically shaped yew trees have taken a blow as well.
Over the last century a lot of effort is put into the recreation of the garden that once occupied the site. The original garden was probably designed around 1705, by Allert Meijer (1654-1722). In the course of the 19th century the garden was re-landscaped according to the fashion of the day: it became a garden in landscape style.
After the last occupant of the house died (1902), the borg was transferred by the Alberda van Menkema family to a regional museum. The next 25 years were spent on restoring both the house and the garden into something that harked back to the original splendour of the 18th century. Finding the map by Meijer helped the restoration of the garden immensely, although landscape architects H. Copijn en Zn. did not fully restore the garden.
From the 1980s onwards, further work was done to restore or reconstruct the 18th century garden. While doing so, many original 18th century features were found (like the foundations of several pavilions made from trelliswork). Many of the statues in the garden are copies of 18th century statues.
In 2010 the maze, designed by H. Copijn en Zn. in 1921, was replanted. For this reason the maze is closed in the upcoming years.
The beech trees that have fallen down formed part of the avenues surrounding this garden, lining the outside of the moat. According to the current owner, the trees appeared to be healthy. The root system of one of the trees now appears to have been infected; the storm proved to be too much to handle. According to the Menkemaborg website, the hole in the tree line will get bigger: there already was approval to cut down several sick and dead trees immediately next to the now fallen trees.
Hikers are advised to avoid the avenues during strong winds, and the condition of the remaining trees shall be assessed. Which leads me to think that those avenues will probably see some chainsaw action in the near future. Glad the avenues also consist of oak and lime trees, which are less vulnerable.
Pallas Athena is a painted terracotta statue that was bought by the Menkemaborg in 2007. It was unveiled on June 16 2007. Pallas used to stand in the garden of Dijksterhuis in Pieterburen, an estate also owned by the Alberda van Menkema family, so in some way it stayed in the family.
Maybe that is what saved her.
Falling trees missed the Pallas Athena statue at the Menkemaborg by a hair.