Just mildly interesting.

I’ve known for a several years about the famous (in Holland, anyhow) Dutch ecologist and botanist Dr. Jac P. Thijsse (1865 – 1945) who gained his reputation through his naturalistic park designs. Although my father (W.A. Thijsse) knew of no family connection, I have always been a bit tickled by the similarity in our names and interests†.

Now this.

'Flowers and their Friends' by Jac P. Thijsse

‘Flowers and their Friends’ (1937) by Jac P. Thijsse,

Not macro photographs, but a book with pictures showing a variety of insects visiting garden blooms. I discovered the book on the site Memory of the Netherlands just this morning. It is the cover of a style of book quite common at the time (1930’s), produced with lower quality paper but including colour images that were pasted into the book. The images came in product packages, in this case, those manufactured by the company Verkade, that still produces bread, rusks, biscuits and, of course, chocolate today. Like hockey cards (but far more interesting) this style of book was popular with children and adults and seemed to be a successful marketing technique. Dutch friends of mine have given me three similar books by Verkade from the same period, one on cacti (Cactussen), one on succulents (Vetplanten) and one on natural history under the title, Hans the Tower Crow (Hans de Torenkraai).

Butterflies by day and night.

Page 60/61 Butterflies by day and night.

The book is interesting because it does not only features butterflies and bees, but also reveals other potential pollinators such as parasitic flies, wasps, beetles and more.


Page 10/11  Click to enlarge.

The illustrators for this edition where C and H Rol, and J. Voerman Jnr.

Jac P. Thijsse created the “J.P. Thijsse Park” in Amstelveen and founded Vereniging tot Behoud van Natuurmonumenten in Nederland (Society for the preservation of nature monuments in the Netherlands).  His personal natural garden at Thijsse’s Hof is open to visitors. More on his life and work can be found in the open access paper (pdf), Jacobus P. Thijsse’s Influence on Dutch Landscape Architecture by Jan Woudstra.

†Although mine are more low-brow. For those not aware, I am a trained horticulturist and landscape gardener, who has naturalized his own suburban property. ‘Thysse’ was how my father attempted to Anglicize ‘Thijsse’ when he emigrated to Canada from Holland in 1959.





This entry was posted in Art, Bugs, Coleoptera, Diversion, garden, Habitat, Insect, Inspiration, Lepidoptera, Urban Planning and tagged , , , , .


  1. Gary Anweiler 16 March, 2015 at 6:05 PM #

    It must be in the genes Adrian…….

  2. Marolin Watson 17 March, 2015 at 2:56 PM #

    That is more than mildly interesting to a fellow Thijsse. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if there was a relationship.

  3. Christine 19 March, 2015 at 10:42 AM #

    I think the chances for kinship are very good 🙂
    Being a book addict, I loved this post. Thanks, Adrian, wonderful work!

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