Garden Edit

Three years ago I had the good fortune to be invited by a Dutch friend to visit her childhood home in Holland and tour some Dutch gardens.

At the top of my list were the gardens of one the twentieth century’s greatest landscape architects, Mein Ruys. Ruys died in 1999, but this being Holland her gardens have been beautifully preserved. Over seventy years on 6.18 acres she created thirty garden rooms. And while I had seen photos of the place nothing prepared me for the beauty of being there. Ruys’s use of strong architectural foundations: hedges and walls and paths – provide contrast to the looser softer plantings; a perfect balance of the controlled and the willful. Nearly twenty years after her death her gardens live on expressing an acute sense of design, her playfulness and daring. The Gardens Of Mien Ruys

Piet Oudolf designed the planting of the Highline in New York and the Laurie Gardens in Chicago. Loving both of these, I was excited to see what he had done at Hummelo, his own garden in the Netherlands. A Wild Idea -The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Using many native North American meadow perennials and grasses over large prairie like spaces with backdrops of tall hedges, Oudolf has artfully tamed what would otherwise be wild and let what would usually considered tame to take on a haphazard wildness. His gardens are like mysterious memories; summer prairie where the designer/gardener has worked to make his touch lightly visible.

As with any really enriching garden experience this profusion of beauty caused me to reflect on my own garden; specifically what’s not working!
In hindsight three years after that trip, I can see the influence those two gardens have on my own garden.

After returning from the Netherlands I began to viciously edit my fourteen year old garden ripping out overgrown shrubs and exposing huge gaping holes. After this clever burst of gut like certainty the overriding feeling was one of panic! But over the following years I was given or bought perennials to fill those gaps, moved things to different spots and waited. This year, perhaps for the first time, I really like my garden.

As any gardener knows a garden is never static and I will continue to make changes as plants mature, but I am closer now, much closer, to the vision in my head. Watch this space! (More beautiful Dutch Gardens) Dutch gardens


Lily Landini and drumstick alliums mingle in the borders


Nepeta sibirica ( blue) Stachy Hummelo (pink)


Agastache blue forntune


Moon garden Aralia sun king, white cosmos


Moon garden


Echinacea, veronicastrum virginicum, monarda grand parade, crocosmia lucifer


Grass Calamagrostis brachytricha


Garden July 2018


This entry was posted in Design Ideas, Perennials, Photos of Don's Garden, Piet Oudolf's Gardens, The Flowering Border, The Gardens Of Mien Ruys, Variegated Plants and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Garden Edit

  1. jehed diamond says:


    On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 10:23 AM, Rooting for Ideas wrote:

    > Don Statham posted: “Three years ago I had the good fortune to be invited > by a Dutch friend to visit her childhood home in Holland and tour some > Dutch gardens. At the top of my list were the gardens of one the twentieth > century’s greatest landscape architects, Mein Ruys. Ruy” >

  2. Ed Morrow says:

    An interesting and informative read (with excellent pictures). There is hardly anything written in English about Mien Ruys, despite her widely acknowledged influence in modern garden design. Do you know of any good books in any language with good pictures of Ruys garden designs? I guess I will have to go and see for myself. Thanks.
    Ed Morrow
    Carmel Valley, CA

    • Don Statham says:

      Hi Ed,
      I did buy a book on her at the bookshop at her garden, but it’s in Dutch. The photos are beautiful and really capture the garden. I have to say it’s worth trip to Holland to see both gardens. I also saw some other new gardens located on one of the polders. I believe if you look on my site there’s another article with lots of photos on those other gardens that are definitely worth seeing. I wish someone would make a documentary on her. Piet Oudolf’s talks a lot about her influences on him. Best, Don

  3. Joan Martorano says:

    It looks splendid!

  4. Making big changes is gut-wrenching, to be sure. But to see the results looking so fabulous must be very satisfying. I like the Moon Garden in particular — it makes me chuckle to see the Aralia Sun King featured so prominently at the wrong time of day!

  5. Don Statham says:

    Thanks Pat, the Aralia Sun King is under a Donald Wyman crabapple and in just two years time has become about 8’ft wide. It’s in deep shade most of the day., but yes this a late day shot.

  6. Swanee says:

    Your garden is so beautiful. What is the flat green hedge like plant in the moon garden? What a lovely backdrop for the blooms.

    • Don Statham says:

      Hi Swanee, Thank you. The hedge is Rhamnus Fineline and I planted it about the 2nd year it was introduced. The tag said it would reach a width of 5’ft so I planted accordingly, but they never get wider than a couple of feet. I wish I had planted them closer together.

  7. Marjorie Kellogg says:

    Good to hear that you love your garden again!  

    Sent from my Galaxy Tab® S2

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