This journey was a part of our #SurelyGreenIsGood trip to Europe.
To see and to learn, from the people the Creator allowed us to meet. We are grateful! This time we traveled to Honselersdijk; it was windy and cold. By the time we reached our destination, we were soaking wet from the rain. The weather was unpleasant and Monica was not feeling well, but we would never regret the decision we made to visit Cok.
Text & Photos by Monica Fernandez
We departed from Alkmaar at 7 AM in the morning and made a transit in Amsterdam. It was funny because most of the Dutch people we asked did not know the exact location of Honselersdijk; they literally used a device to locate where it was (and I kid you not!). The destination was literally a non-mainstream one, though.
Back to Cok, he is a Dutch gardener. He is amazing and possessing a humble personality at the same time. We learned a lot (and a lot of things) from him! He started from zero and now he owned a greenhouse filled with a collection of bizarre-looking plants, exported to all over the world. There were hundreds of species that we have only seen online or in the books.
He once said, “Cacti and succulents have always been my favorite. I mean, how could a plant look something like this? I couldn’t think of anything else. They are beautiful.” Yes, and this statement reminded me of someone – Indra. He once said a similar thing; he even said they must be from outer space!
“Talk to your plants, and they will show you.” – This is when we discussed how we indicate if our plants need more water (or get too much water), need more sunlight (or get too much sunlight), need a new planter, need a fresh pack of potting soil, or even need more attention!
“Never give your plants too much water. Make sure they are completely dried before you water them. Completely. Otherwise, you’ll kill them.” – A basic advice that people might have heard all the time, but he just re-emphasized the importance of it. Yes, a crucial one.
“You know the meaning of succulents right? It literally means it stores water in their stems. In their original habitat, they do not receive water for months or years. The root systems are generally thin and shallow. But when it rains, they can store a large amount of water within a short period of time. And they survive for another year, or two, or three.” – No specific topic. It was just a casual conversation. But we just love how the excitement and the spirit were poured out during the talk.
“They are slow-growing plants. Very slow! And they are supposed to grow slow. But that’s the beauty of it. You have to be patient. If they grow too fast, it’s not good.” – I mean, another life lesson! It’s like showing patience and pure love while taking care of your own baby.
There were many and many interesting discussions that occurred. However, we realized this article would not be enough to cover all the stories and all the excitement we experienced. In short, it was magical for us knowing in another part of the world there is someone who does things just like we do. Someone who is also emotionally connected to what they are doing. Cok has been into gardening since the age of six and now he is almost 74. It is amazing because his work simply teaches us and motivates us in many aspects, especially for Taman Hayat in its early stage of the journey. We know this is only the beginning for us and we look forward to welcoming 2018. It was really an honor to meet Cok personally!