Called one of the most influential garden designers of the past century, Mien Ruys paved the for the modern Dutch landscape design. With a background in perennials and architecture Mien, bridged the gap between the two mediums to create her style. She was not afraid to push the envelope of design and experimented with combination of different materials. The gardens reside at the site of her parents’ perennial nursery and over the course of her career expanded into collection of 30 experimental areas. The highlights of her designs include the use of space (woods, open grass, etc), adaptable perennials, water features and art in different balances. It was her use of perennials in clean and simplistic designs that set her apart from the contemporaries of her time, saying perennials made it possible to have an experience of nature in a garden.
I was very fortunate to tour this garden in July of 2012 with a group from the Perennial Plant Association (PPA)- certified plant geeks! Prior to visiting I had researched just enough to know what I was walking into. I tend not to look at too many pictures prior to touring a garden because I don’t want my visions to be skewed by what others think I should be looking. So with a fresh perspective I walking into this iconic garden. As with any Dutch garden the economy of space is well achieved. The different garden rooms are divide very delicately so the garden flow is not disrupted- from one room to the next you are gently guided through the garden constantly wondering what is around the next hedge or at the end of the gravel path. If I remember correctly I spent roughly 2 hours in the garden and that is more than enough time to stroll the different areas and contemplate the design elements. I will say I visited on a weekday so the garden traffic was quite lite so I was able to take all my photos without someone strolling into my shot. This garden was Mien’s proving ground or lab to experiment with different perennial combinations, to use new materials, or try a new technique. The ever-present use of sculpture in each area tied the running theme together of the important Mien had of art in the garden. There is no doubt Mien Ruys was one of the influential gardeners of her time. She melded all of her loves together to create a moment in garden design we still see presents today in public and private garden. This garden is a must visit if you love garden design as much as I do…..
Taxus hedging frames the mirror pool beautifully and the addition of the Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ creates a striking yet elegant contrast to the dark green evergreen.
The corten “bending over’ silhouettes added a bit of whimsy to the garden. A great interpretation of the kitschy garden ornament.
Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ massed in the forefront surround a trickling water feature
Here is a detail shot of the water featured in the above image, flanked by the foliage of Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’
Deschampsia cepitosa ‘Goldtau’ surround a corten sculpture.
- Anet Scholma, the director of Mien Ruys Landscape Gardening bureau in Amsterdam published a dinfinative book on Mien Ruys avaialbe via the Tuinen Mien Ruys bookstore via email here. I attempted to find a copy on Amazon with no luck.
- Women Garden Designers; 1900 to present. Kristina Taylor (April 2015). (This book does not release until April, 2015. With 10 pages dedicated to Mein Ruys, Rosemarie Weisse and Jinny Blom, its looks to be a book worth adding to your library.)
- Du Tuinen van Appeltern – These gardens are definate visit while in the area. I also visited in 2012 and will feature in an upcoming post.
- Vijvertuinen Ada Hofman – This is a water garden featuring 50 ponds within 30 gardens. During my visit, I did not particularly enjoy these gardens. I prefer designs that include ponds, fountains and pools as an element of the overall design. At Ada Hofman the water features are the primary element without the balance of plants, trees and negative space I prefer.