A peek into the garden of: Liesbeth Disbergen, outdoor photographer and atmosphere creator. A dream garden on the Veluwe that continues to surprise
The work of outdoor photographer Liesbeth Disbergen - @sloppopyeah on Insta - is immediately recognisable by its magical mix of atmosphere and nature. As beautiful as her images are, as beautiful she lives. Her house in the middle of the Veluwe is her biggest source of inspiration. In her garden, she lets nature take its course, with the result that she regularly spots red deer from her kitchen window.
You swoon at just about every photo Liesbeth Disbergen posts on her Instagram account: whether it is her abundantly flowering vegetable garden, her adorable border collies Dex and Bob or a beautifully laid table. No less than 30,000 followers are happy to be inspired by this outdoor photographer. For her work Liesbeth likes to visit people who have a beautiful (kitchen) garden or practice a craft, but actually she does not need to leave her home to be inspired. Together with her husband Jan, Liesbeth moved 6 years ago to this dream house in Epe, which carries the name 'de Sparrenhof'. The house has history. When you enter you immediately feel at home. Apart from the authentic details such as the steel window frames and the stained glass, the house has special wooden doors. Although there were buckets in the living room to catch the leaking water, we immediately said 'yes' to this house six years ago. We fell in love with the peaceful, atmospheric atmosphere,' says Liesbeth.
Japanese cherry tree
But apart from the house, which Liesbeth and Jan have decorated with a mixture of old and new and colourful accessories, the two also fell for the impressive plot. Our plot consists for a large part of forest: Norway spruce, Douglas fir, Scots pine, an enormous tree of life, sweet chestnuts, you name it! We are also enormously proud of the tall rhododendrons that add colour to the garden every year in May and June. The old Japanese cherry is the highlight in spring. We are then literally under a pink cloud. At the back of the garden, the two owners created a vegetable garden a year ago. They deliberately chose the round shape, so that it fits in nicely with the edge of the wood. We like to let the grass - or more like moss in our case - grow a bit longer so that it turns yellow and pink through the dandelions and cuckoo flowers. It is not a real cultivated garden, the wildlife in the area makes that difficult. Red deer like to come and eat in the flower garden and they also like the cherry laurel.
Much of what Liesbeth and Jan found six years ago, they initially left as it was. Despite the fact that there was a lot of lack of maintenance, they saw that the basis - the layout and furnishings - was good. The couple took their time to get a feel for the place before making any changes, says Liesbeth. It doesn't have to be quick. Only in the last few years have we tackled a few things in and around the house. Around the lawn, for instance, there are 4-metre-high rhododendrons. We wanted to keep it that way. It's only in the last two years that we've dared to cut back the rhododendrons, after the hot, dry summers of 2018 and 2019 meant that some of these strong shrubs didn't survive.' This love of reuse, not just throwing things away, dwelling on what is good, also resulted, for example, in a special run where 14 chickens reside. The chickens live in the shed that once housed the old residents' garden tools. The shed is almost falling apart but we reinforce it with a few planks. And I use the old garden tools, of course.
Watching the sunset
When Liesbeth does buy new items for the garden, she makes sure that the designs are permanent and in line with her slow living philosophy. So she really likes Weltevree's outdoor design. Just as I enjoy the old yellow rake from the shed, I also enjoy well thought-out new products. So the Swing has been given a nice spot in the spacious woodland garden. Liesbeth: 'Isn't it wonderful that we don't have to hang this swing from a sturdy branch? Now we can choose for ourselves which tree to attach it to! I like that. The Wheelbench is also one of her favourites. When you live in the woods you have several favourite places to sit down. That is why Jan made benches out of Douglas fir and put them in the forest. Over the years, fungi develop on the trunks and at some point the benches are used up. So the Wheelbench seems to be made for us! In the morning Liesbeth puts the wheeled bench by the vegetable garden and has coffee there. In the afternoon she moves it to the side of the house, where she can watch the sun set.
Not too serious
A bit of pruning, messing around in the vegetable garden, watching the chickens, bringing eggs to the neighbours, throwing some pruning waste on the compost heap, a chat with the forester: Liesbeth is very happy with the outdoor life. In recent years she has followed the changes in nature with fascination. Seeing a little tree grow into a full-grown tree. One year we pick buckets of blueberries, the next we scarcely take any away. You also see something different every time, no season is the same as the year before. It's great that we are able to experience that from so close by. Her tip for Weltevree readers is not to take the garden too seriously and just let it happen. Spread a handful of flower seeds around for your own flower meadow and see what happens. We live on a large plot and had exactly one snowdrop. Nature never ceases to surprise me. I can enjoy it intensely.