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  1. -NY Times

- Villagevoice


review VIFF Vancouver

- US. Release for Portrait of a Garden

- ’A Stapel Diet’ in SEENL

Sandra de Haan, Zone 5300

The garden in this film will entice every gardener, an vast area of bedding, greenhouses and an orchard, belonging to an old estate that had fallen in disrepair but has been restored. Together with new flower beds and beehives, this garden is an company, managed with great devotion and patience, but most importantly with great knowledge of plants and trees.

Wim de Jong, De buik van Rotterdam

Perhaps the greatest kitchen garden in the world

Portrait of a garden shows the hardships that owner Daan van der Have and master-gardener Jan Freriks had to endure to keep the most beautiful and oldest kitchen garden of the Netherlands in prime condition. The director Rosie Stapel from Rotterdam, followed both men for four continuing seasons for what can only be described as one elongated pruning and harvesting turn on an area of 3.7 acre.

In the 98 minutes that Stapel uses in her film, the viewer learns in a rapid way about the patience that Van der Have and Freriks have had for over fifteen years to, for example, grow an arbour of pear trees to full maturity and blossom. The growing of espalier fruit or grapes in antique greenhouses asks for as least as much perseverance and knowledge. Knowledge that has been passed through the generations, because fertilizer and chemical agents are completely forbidden at Dordwijk.

But in Portrait of an Garden Rosie Stapel focusses primarily on the devotion and precision her main characters uses to experience "the divine of nature", as Van der Have quotes the philosopher Spinoza.

Stapel assumes, probably correctly, that enthusiasts of nature and those of healthy, biologically produced fine foods, can understand why Van der Have and Freriks do what they do, when they reveal, ever so briefly with their back to the camera, their passion for gardening.

Algemeen Dagblad

While four seasons slip by, Rosie Stapel shows in her documentary "Portrait of a Garden" how the 60 year old owner and his 85 year old pruning master are seeding, planting, thinning, pruning and harvesting in the garden. A silent tribute to a special garden.