not just tulips

It’s the change of season which reminds me of our visit to Keukenhof in the Netherlands last year. When I tell my Dutch friends I actually enjoyed this they picture my tall frame amidst the many Asian tourists posing on my hunches in front of thousands of pastel-colored tulips and laugh, of course!

Yes, the tulips are an important element of the park but there is plenty of inspiration for real gardeners as well. Just to show you a few examples…

garden seats

Rietveld "zig-zag" chairsMien Ruys (see previous post on gardens April 27th) worked together on several projects with Gerrit Rietveld. His “zig-zag” chairs are instantly recognizable and it did not surprise me to find them displayed inside the Mien Ruys studio. But there were many other seating arrangements, making it truly a “garden for the people”. Gardens are always in transition and without a place to sit and observe, a garden designer cannot evaluate its progress.

red seats in sculpture garden

newly built "roof-top" garden

water garden seats

lounge chairs under cherry blossom

red seats in childrens garden

my favorite Rietveld chairs

oudolf kwekerij

oudolf nurseryUpon entering Piet Oudolfs’ nursery and garden in Hummelo, the Netherlands, we saw the man himself with shovel in hand. For being the gardening legend he is, I could have been a bit surprised to find him so “hands-on” transplanting a tree with a small crew. Of course I understand, ultimately what keeps us loving our job is what got us started in the first place. In this case, the satisfaction of a successful transplant on a sunny but cool, perfect gardening day.


piet oudolf (left)Because the plants were only recently taken outside the greenhouses, there were only small examples of the beautiful plants selected by the Oudolf team to create the spectacular gardens known for their four-season perennials unique in movement and form. The private gardens are not open until the “grass days” in July but I “snuck a peek” beyond the beech hedges.


early nursery selectsprivate gardenlayers of hedge "blocks"

mien ruys garden


These gardens in Dedemsvaart (eastern Netherlands) are a wonderful collection of 28 gardens designed from 1924 to the present. So many impressions from these gardens -from the use of diagonal lines and circles to plays on perspective- will remain with me in future design work. Here are a few examples;



woodland garden

shady woodland gardens with ball fountain

orange flowers, red barn

diagonal lines of decking

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