The garden of Het Nutshuis is an organic urban garden with fruit and nut trees. Energy is generated by solar panels. Local residents tend a small vegetable patch in the complex, and bee hives have been strategically positioned. The garden was designed by the Delft landscape architect, Jos van de Lindeloof.
Garden and landscape architects’ office Jos van de Lindeloof was primarily asked to design a garden that would create a green oasis in the city, a place where residents and people who work in the city can come to relax. Benches have been positioned so that people can sit in the sun or in the shade, or if they prefer, they can sit or lie back on the grass.
A second important task was to create a sustainable garden. The garden is therefore planted with native species of plants and trees and all the materials are environment-friendly.
The Nutshuis garden also serves as a stage. It is, after all, an extension of Het Nutshuis. The garden features regularly on the summer programme as a venue for outdoor yoga, garden concerts or outdoor films.
When the garden is not being used for the programme, it is open to the public 6 days a week. Sitting here quietly in the sun, on a terrace or a rug on the lawn, is like being in your own back garden. The apples and plums are there to be picked and there’s free Wi-Fi for anyone who fancies a day working in the fresh air.
Apples and pears
The wide variety of different plants have one thing in common; they are all native Dutch species. And to make sure that the garden is more than ‘just a pretty face’, the designers chose to plant apple and pear trees, a walnut tree and shrubs with hazelnuts for visitors to pick.
Greenhouses and a vegetable patch
Greenhouses have been built along one of the garden walls and part of the garden serves as a vegetable patch where volunteers grow vegetables. These include anything from carrots and lettuce to the kind of traditional, old-fashioned Dutch vegetables that no longer feature on most Dutch menus. Pesticides are not used and the greenhouse roof is made of solar panels so that we can generate our own energy.
Bees and insects
At the beginning of April 2011, beehives were placed in the Nutshuis garden. They are home to a friendly species of bee, which collect pollen from flowers in the Nutshuis garden and surrounding areas. We hope that these bees will soon form a new colony.
The health of a garden is reflected in the size of its insect population. Like bees, insects also help plants and flowers to pollinate each other. Insects keep the habitat clean by eating lice and dead plants. An insect hotel has been constructed in the garden to attract as many insects as possible. It is made from twigs, poles, pieces of wood and reed, so that the insects can crawl around and find a safe place to lay their eggs. As well as being useful, insects are also interesting study objects, particularly for children. The insect hotel is a great place to study insects.
The pond in the middle of the garden is filled with rainwater. In the past, rainwater from all the buildings in the vicinity simply disappeared into the sewer. Nowadays, all the rainwater flows straight into the pond and no tap water is needed to keep it full.
The Nutshuis garden is open all year, free of charge, on Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 17.30, and on Saturday from 9.30 to 17.30 (closed on public holidays). The entrance is on Jan Hendrikstraat next to the Ibis Hotel or via the main entrance of Het Nutshuis. Dogs are not allowed.