Destination- The gardens of Thijsse hof


Photo by Peter

Thijsse Hoff is a wildlife garden in Bloemendaal within the municipality and town in Northern Holland and is one of the oldest wildlife gardens in Europe and around the world. 

This garden was designed by Leonard Springer a landscape architect, who created a natural environment & vegetation to help preserve the native wildlife in the area, Also Kees Sipkes who owned a nursery near the city of Haarlem planted native plants in the gardens.
It was given to Jac. P. Thijsse as a 60th birthday gift by his friends in 1925 who wanted to give him a garden which he truly wished for a long period of time.
Jacobus Pieter Thysse was a botanist and conservationist who founded the society of the preservation of nature monuments in the Netherlands which purchases, protects and maintains nature reserves in the country.
The Jac P. Thijsse wildlife park in Amstelveen, Northern Holland was also named after him, he also wrote several garden journals, magazines and two books.
He planned to name the gardens Frederik Van Eeden after the Dutch botanist but was changed to Thijisse Hof as he disliked his friends alternative chosen name of the garden of Eeden.

The wildlife garden consists of many types of vegetation which include:

The dune woodland- has a lovely natural habitat filled with native shrubs plants and trees such as Yew, hazel, bird cherry (prunus padus), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), but mostly consists of oak trees (quercus robur). Below the trees are many flowers which bloom at different seasons of the year such as bell bells, primrose, bird in the bush, leopards bane and wood anemone. Also the delicate snowdrops and Spring snowflake especially looks beautiful in Winter. The woodland also attracts woodland wildlife and birds.

The dune scrub- is a scrub land that is filled with woody shrubs and other types that include grasses and herbs on Calcareous soil, The garden contains shrubs such as the Spin tree, hawthorn, sea buckthorn, buckthorn and barberry.

The pond is at the centre point of the gardens which is surrounded by natural grasses, shrubs and trees such as mare’s tail and spiked water milfoil, there is also fringed water lilies growing in the pond. This area of the garden has many wildlife including birds, dragonflies and other insects. There is also a statue of Thijisse Hof Near to the pond.

The dune slack is an area for plants which grows near or on surrounding ground water, these include yellow loosestrife, meadowsweet and Southern march orchid.

The dry dune grassland has tall dry grasses and wildflowers in Spring/Summer which include salad burnet, knapweed and field scabious.

The coppice- is a woodland with trees that have been cut back to ground level.

Endangered species silk scarves

New hand painted scarves are now available of  birds and animals of the endangered species at this link

ground dove scarf 3

The first scarf contains a pair of critically endangered Polynesian ground doves (male and female) on one side and an endangered tuamotu sand piper on the other side, also with plants and flowers, banana plant, hibiscus etc.

These birds are listed on the IUCN red list mainly due to habitat loss and newly introduced predators, The Polynesian ground doves are native to Tuamotus, French Polynesia and live in tropical forests underneath trees, shrubs and coconut palms, only about 100-120 exist in the wild.
The Tuamotu Sandpiper is native to Tuamotu Island, French Polynesia and lives in coastal areas and thickets, only 250-1000 birds exist in the wild.

saola scarf new
The second is a Vietnamese forest themed scarf made from 100% ponge silk containing a pair of critically endangered Saola or Asian unicorn on one side and a critically endangered Kouprey on the other, also containing plants and foliage of Vietnamese forests.

These wild Bovidae are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN redlist mainly due to habitat loss and for being hunted for their meat,horns,fur and medicinal uses.

The Saola are native to forests in Vietnam and Laos, only about 200-24 now exist in the wild. They are also known as the Asian unicorn because of their long straight horns.

The Kouprey or Grey ox were once native to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam but now may only remain in wildlife sanctuary’s and protected forests, they are believed to be extinct or very close to extinction.

These scarves would make a lovely present for a birthday, anniversary etc

Pelargonium Silk scarves

Beautiful Hand painted silk scarves are now available made from 100% ponge silk containing various pelargonium species including P. tongaense, P. longicaule and P. quinquelobatum, more info via this link

I am now working on more scarf designs and also handkerchiefs and ties

pelargonium scarf 3pelargonium scarf 2

Pelargonium Schizopetalium

peli schizopetalum old pic

This unusual & beautiful plant has deeply cut fringed flowers in red & yellow colours. The name “ Schizo” is connected to the word Schizophrenia (split personality), Schizo meaning split referring to the split fringed petals. It is a tuberous plant with scales and short stems, the leaves are oblong and feathery which is covered in short soft hairs, Pelargonium schizophrenia are native to areas of the Eastern Cape province, with some slightly different in appearance depending on the location.
This image is taken from an old antique book published before 1923, at

Pelargoniums in Art

Pelargoniums have gained popularity and fascination throughout Europe and beyond since the 1700s up to the present day, It has inspired many famous artists especially during the time of impressionists such as Van Gogh ( geranium in a flower pot), Renoir ( the geranium & cats 1881), Cezanne ( pots of geraniums 1885) and also Matisse ( still life with geraniums) among others.

There has also been a poem written about Geraniums by Richard Brinsley sheridam 1751-1815 an Irish writer, playwright and poet known for his works “ the rivals, the Duenna and a trip to Scarborough”,

The poem is called “ the geranium” part of the poem is as follows: “ Observe you sweet geranium flower, how straight upon its stalk it stands & tempts our violating hands, whilst the soft bud as yet unspread, hangs down its pale declining head.”

In recent times many artists and illustrators have created pelargoniums on stamps such as the colourful red pelargonium from Belgium and also posters, prints and textiles.

peli stamp

Pelargonium odoratissimum watercolour painting

applescented flower painting 4 webMy lastest watercolour painting of Pelargonium Odoratissimum is available to buy from society6 at which includes t-shirts,bags,pillows and more

Digital paintings


Let me introduce myself, my name is Charis Estelle Olney, I am a digital Artist.

After studying Graphic design in the UK, I am now currently living in a rural mountain village in Crete, Greece.

I have lived in this area for about five years and I now think of Crete as my home, I love the rural way of life,

It is so beautiful here especially in the spring time with the wildflowers, insects and bees.

It all started at the age of 20 when I first came to Crete, it was near Kalives in the Chania area, I started producing hand coloured photographs by developing them in the dark room on special art paper and then hand colour them using oil paints, mostly of different scenes of Crete.

I later painted on Ostrich eggs for a local church using acrylic paints of mostly nature and animals.

It was then that I decided to move to a mountain village in the Rethymno area.

I have recently become interested in creating mainly religious paintings of different types, maybe because of my closeness to nature and the rural way of life, I feel more at harmony and at peace here, closer to God maybe.

I have also become inspired by the 14th century frescos, which I have seen and studied at the near by church of Hagios Georgios, Mourne, Crete.

For those who have an interest in medieval frescos, I have taken photographs, which are available to buy on Fine Art America.

My first digital painting was of “The Buddha meditating under the Bodhi tree” in which I used Corel painter for most of my paintings.

I like using bright colours in my work, so I have used a bright orange colour to symbolize enlightenment and also tried to create a feeling of a natural environment with trees and a stream with lotus flowers.

The painting is available to buy on Fine Art America.

The Mary and child icon painting is one of my favourite artworks where I have combine traditional and modern styles , I wanted to create feeling and sensitivity into this picture and again used bright colours, blue and gold.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the guardian angel painting, I used mostly white and gold as I wanted to show a feeling of peace and purity. In this picture the Angel has her hands together as if praying with her eyes closed to symbolize meditation, love and a pure heart to help and protect those at need.

More of my work can be seen of Fine Art America:


buddha paintings for more buddha paintings

jesus paintings jesus paintings