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Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

MAASTRICHT. A colourful oasis in an endless plain of mud. That is how one could describe the Tapijn Garden, the way it stands out in the corner of the churned-up barracks grounds. The “city vegetable garden” itself looks very well cared for, except perhaps for the section where everything is growing together. “That looks like a mess, but it isn't,” says Martia Tersteeg, chairperson of the Tapijn Garden. “It is a permaculture experiment. We will see what eventually survives and comes out strongest.”

In addition, there's a section with herbs, including the typical Limburg limestone meadow herbs such as milfoil and wild carrot, and one with vegetables. Students from the Science Programme also have a corner. Tersteeg: “They really look after their own plants there. The other day, one of them took photographs from above with a drone. Really nice.”

The herbs and vegetables are all for sale. But the garden is also open to visitors; they have recently started to give tours. You also get to see the many archaeological potsherds that were unearthed almost every week then the soil was turned. “All fragments of dishes, bowls, and other crockery. The oldest date back to the 13th century.”

There is also a social programme. Once a month, asylum seekers prepare lunch for a handful of guests, who are also given the background story. Sometimes, useful things come from this, such as discussion groups, says Tersteeg. “We also organise tours, including exercises for single elderly people, among them 90-year-olds. But children are welcome too. Together with MUMC, we show children who are overweight how vegetables grow, how a cucumber comes from a small yellow flower. Afterwards, they make a salad in the kitchen of Tapijn Brasserie. Using edible flowers in some cases.”

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