L’histoire perdue

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L’histoire perdue

ExhibitionHeerlijck Zicht
ClientStichting de Heerlijckheid, Diepenheim

Heerlijck Zicht is a walking route that takes visitors along artworks in the countryside around Diepenheim. The route is based on a walk that Mennonite minister and one of the earliest authors of books on nature walks, Jacobus Craandijk, made in 1874. He described the route in Wandelingen door Nederland met pen en potlood (Walks through the Netherlands with pen and pencil’).I designed a seasonal garden for the Old Public Cemetery in Diepenheim. This graveyard, which was closed in 1910, is the site of some 60 gravestones in a grassy plot surrounded by aged conifers and deciduous trees. There are some 400 graves under the earth here, their wooden grave markers having disappeared in the course of time. The awareness of a forgotten history was revived in the summer of 2017 by marking the old graves with sunflowers: “histoire perdue”. The layout was based on an old map from 1876, the year when the cemetery first came into use. A path of mown grass meandered through the graveyard (measuring ca 100 x 25 m), passing alongside both the graves and the sunflowers. The sunflowers rose above the unmown grass that grew ever higher in the course of the summer and that was home to an abundance of native flowers and plants.
The sunflower seeds – seven species of Helianthus – were sown at the start of May. In July and August the flowers were in full bloom and the graveyard was transformed into a beautiful flower garden. In September the cycle was complete and the seed pods were eaten by the birds.

Photos 3, 4: Erica Olthuis.

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