Too Grootes lives together with her husband Huib. Their two grown-up children left the house a long time ago and Too enjoys an early retirement. On top of the spacious garden behind her house, she is also the owner of a big vegetable garden at walking distance.
The colourful styling of the gardens, the interior of the house were done by Too and Huib themselves. The kitchen however was designed by Joost Swarte, a famous artist of cartoons and grapic designer. Very often Too can be found in one of her gardens.
“I have been doing the gardens for about 30 years now and I must say it’s my passion. When I started I didn’t know anything about plants, now it is like eat and drink to me. Cooking is my other passion. From March till the end of September I’m working almost continuously in the gardens. On a rainy day I’m making plans, working in the greenhouse, or else I’m ordering seeds.”
“Life is about making choices and this also goes for the gardening. As I’m getting older the garden more and more develops in a way I really like. Plants are not growing in that particular spot because they should be there but because I like them to be there. I’m acting on a strong gut feeling without having doubts. I used to look at, and in, gardens belonging to other people but nowadays I rarely will do that, because it distracts me from my own tastes and preferences. Of course I’m touched by the beauty of gardens like the one that belonged to the French painter Claude Monet in Normandy. But I’m just as easily impressed by colours of paint samples or a photo in a fashion magazine. It gives so much satisfaction to combine plants according to your own sense of colour. Over the years I changed from pastel shades to deeper colours as well in the gardens as in the house and my clothes. Pastel shades combined with grey were too sweet for me and didn’t surprise me anymore. It had to be more outspoken and colourful. I can still remember when I made this switch. Years ago on a summer day I was driving somewhere in the province of North-Holland when suddenly I saw a mixture of seeds left by someone at the side of the road in bright colours red, orange, purple and blue. I was carried away immediately by this great combination of colours!”
Too is also very much into cooking; “ Ottolenghi very much inspires my cooking these days. I like especially the easy way he cooks. I usually focus on the more Italian oriented dishes as I find the Italian kitchen the best. Nice ingredients, fresh, honest food and of course the vegetables and herbs from my garden. Other favourite cookbooks are the River Cafe cookbooks”