Dutch Wave Masters

  • July 23 - 31, 2024
  • $5,150 USD per person
  • An inspiring pilgrimage to see Piet Oudolf’s designs and naturalistic gardens in the countries where it all began. Visit Vlinderhof, Singer Laren, Park of Dutch Dreams, and Maximilianpark.

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I absolutely loved the gardens we visited, particularly Oudolf's—they were stunning! The tour was super enlightening, especially from a planting design viewpoint. I’ll draw inspiration from these beautiful plantings for many years to come!

2022 Dutch Tour Member

Dutch Wave Masters

July 23 -31, 2024


We're seeing a big surge in naturalistic planting worldwide, led by Dutch design legend Piet Oudolf. His gardens, known for their wild-ish beauty and emotional impact, reflect his philosophy: “My biggest inspiration is nature. I do not want to copy it but to recreate the emotion.” During our tour, we will be amazed by the stunning gardens and rich history that shape today's most significant gardening trend.

This popular style traces back to early 20th-century Germany and the Netherlands, where pioneers like Karl Foerster and Mien Ruys laid the groundwork for what would become iconic gardening movements. These influences led to what came to be called the Dutch Wave, featuring designers like Rob Leopold, Ton ter Linden, Henk Gerritsen, and, of course, Piet Oudolf. Our tour showcases gardens that reflect the legacy and creativity of these visionary designers. Prepare for an inspiring journey through some of the most beautiful naturalistic gardens anywhere.


July 23, Tuesday – Arrive at Schiphol Airport
July 24, Wednesday – Singer-Laren, Tom De Witte, Vlinderhof
July 25, Thursday – Vlindertuin de Zindering, Hans Geiszen, Park of Dutch Dreams
July 26, Friday – Hortvs, Maximilianpark
July 27, Saturday – Kwekerij Jacobs, Free Time
July 28, Sunday – Mien Ruys, Lianne’s Siergrassen
July 29, Monday – Cruydt-Hoeck, Jaap de Vries, DeWit Garden Tools
July 30, Tuesday – De Terptuin, Amsterdam Canal Cruise
July 31, Wednesday – Depart or continue travels

CarexTours strives to operate according to our published itinerary. However, adjustments may be necessary if unforeseen circumstances beyond our control occur or opportunities arise that would enhance the itinerary.


Day 1, Tuesday, July 23 -- ARRIVE IN THE NETHERLANDS

  • Tour members independently arrange travel to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, walk to the Sheraton Amsterdam Hotel and Conference Center just outside the terminal, and check into the room booked for you (included in the price of the tour). We’ll gather in the hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM for a Welcome Dinner (included).


  • Our tour starts in Laren, a village not far from Schiphol, with a visit to one of Piet Oudolf’s recent Dutch projects, the Sculpture Garden at the Singer Laren Museum. In 2018, the museum awarded Oudolf the Singer Prize, noting, “We consider Piet Oudolf as an artist…who is using the earth as a canvas and coloring his compositions with flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees.” Oudolf had earlier designed the museum’s forecourt and roof garden, so there will be three nearly mature gardens to explore. We’ll have lunch in the museum’s cafe (not included) before traveling to our afternoon gardens.
  • For many years, Piet Oudolf has entrusted his planting installations around the world to Dutch landscape architect Tom De Witte. So, it is not an exaggeration to say that more than any other person, Tom grasps the nuances of Piet’s plantings better than anyone else. So it is a special treat to visit one of Tom’s latest gardens here in Laren. Unlike the examples of Piet’s work that we will see this week, which is mostly in public gardens, this garden is residential. There will be many ideas and tips in this smaller-scale space for us to take home and apply to our own design(s).
  • Our last stop of the day is Vlinderhof (Butterfly Garden), an Oudolf design inside Utrecht’s Maximapark. In 2013, residents of the area asked Oudolf to design a garden within the city park that volunteers would plant and maintain. Now, eleven years after the installation, more than 15,000 plants of 97 different varieties attract not only butterflies but also bees and other beneficial insects. Many consider it one of the most beautiful public gardens in Europe, but visitors sometimes have a hard time taking it all in. Make sure to bring your camera so that when you climb the berm at one end, you’ll take jaw-dropping panoramic shots over the whole garden.
  • For the night, we’ll check into the Hotel Bergse Bosson in Utrecht for two nights and then have dinner together in the hotel dining room (included).


  • This morning, we’ll explore another butterfly garden, the new Vlndertuin de Zindering in Tiel, one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands. Designed by garden designer and horticulturist Edwin Barendrecht, the garden was created in collaboration with residents, local businesses, and governments and was built on the roof of an underground parking garage. The goal was to bring greater biodiversity into the center of the town by attracting pollinators and providing wildlife habitat throughout the year. One hundred volunteers came every Saturday for ten weeks in the fall of 2020 to plant 15,000 plants. This garden is an example of how quickly this planting style can mature. We’ll have lunch in a cafe before moving to our afternoon gardens.
  • Our next garden is a country home garden designed, built, and maintained by Hans and Yuxian Gieszen. This is a new destination for CarexTours itineraries in the Netherlands. Because the owners say very little publicly to promote their achievement, only some in the garden world know about it. However, checking out Hans’ glowing photographs of the garden throughout the seasons on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/gieszen01/), you’ll see what a naturalistic gem this garden is.
  • We next travel west to Doetinchem and have a cafe lunch before walking through another relatively new planting at the Park of Dutch Dreams. Located on the south bank of the Oude IJssel River, landscape architect Nico Wissing's studio conceived the overall design of the two-acre site. Piet Oudolf agreed to contribute to the planting design but stipulated that other designers also be involved, including Bart Hoes, Climmy Schneider, Tom de Witte, & Jacqueline van der Kloet. Planted in March 2022, this will be an opportunity to see which perennials are growing in the fastest and how a group of Oudolf-picked Dutch professionals are expressing naturalism in their planting designs.
  • We return to the Hotel Bergse Bossen for our last night & gather for dinner together (included).

Day 4, Friday, July 26 -- HORTVS, MAXIMILIANPARK

  • This morning, we cross the Dutch border into Germany to visit Hortvs, the private garden of designer and author Peter Janke, considered a star in the German landscape design world. Inspired by the work of the late British plantswoman Beth Chatto, Janke follows the "right plant, right place" garden philosophy. We'll see a shady mixed border, an allee, a meadow, a gravel garden, a woodland garden, a bog, and imaginative sculptures. Modern and atmospheric, this is a garden made out of deep passion. We’ll have lunch in a cafe before moving on to our afternoon garden.
  • We travel north to Hamm to visit Maximilianpark, a former coal mine transformed into a 22-acre city park with a garden nestled inside by Piet Oudolf. Surrounded partially by a woodland, meandering paths crisscross the flourishing garden. The garden is an artistic ode to light and shadow, filled with Oudolf's signature lush, textural grasses and high-performance, colorful perennials. Make sure to bring your camera. Few gardens are as photogenic as this.
  • We check into our hotel (TBA) for the night and then have dinner (included) at the hotel restaurant.


  • This morning, we return to the Netherlands and take a break from exploring gardens to visit the perennial nursery Kwekerij Jacobs. Over the years of visiting Dutch gardens, tour members have noticed that Dutch gardeners choose from an eye-popping array of perennial species and cultivars—a much more extensive assortment than we have in North America. This is our chance to see how nurseries present their plants and perhaps find out the name of an alluring but unfamiliar plant that has been in every garden we have seen.
  • We now travel west to Groningen, sometimes called “the Amsterdam of the North,” and check into the Hotel Prinsenhof for two nights. You are free to explore the city for the rest of the day. Within easy walking distance is the market square and city center, where you can shop, visit a museum, climb Martini Tower to see the views or wander about soaking up the atmosphere of this ancient university city. Or you may wish to simply take a nap. Dinner this evening will be at a restaurant of your choice (not included). Reservations may be needed.


  • This morning, we visit Tuinen Mien Ruys in Dedemsvaart to pay homage to landscape architect Mien Ruys (1904-1999), the woman considered the “Mother of Modernism” in Dutch garden design. She made these gardens over a period of 70 years, and they are a testament to her creativity. Her approach is distinctly architectural, but the plantings are loose and naturalistic. There are 28 gardens, incorporating many styles while using unusual materials for her time and perennial introductions from her father’s internationally renowned nursery. Above all, Ruys was experimental. She was never afraid to try new things, so her garden inspired Piet Oudolf and continues to do so to gardeners who visit from all over the world. We’ll have lunch in a cafe on our way to our next garden.
  • We spend our afternoon at Lianne’s Siergrassen, a garden specializing in ornamental grasses. The owner, Lianne Pot, indulged her passion for grasses by creating a demonstration prairie-style garden arranged in curving beds with over 12,000 dynamic plants. Make sure to allow time to stand on the mound in the middle to get a panoramic view of this stunning, atmospheric garden. Pot will be available to walk the garden with you, and there is no better person with whom to discuss this distinctly European style.
  • We return to the Hotel Prinsenhof for the night. For dinner this evening, we’ll dine together in the hotel (included).


  • Our first destination today is Cruydt-Hoeck, a seed nursery started by the late Rob Leopold, a specialist in wildflower seeds and one of the founding members of the Dutch Wave movement along with Piet Oudolf. Leopold established the nursery in 1978 to preserve the biodiversity of wild plants, bees, butterflies, and other animals, offering seed mixtures for native wildflower plantings and flower meadows. Since Leopold died in 2005, the nursery has continued under the leadership of Jasper Helmantel and Jojanneke Bijkerk, designers who are experts in Dutch Wave principles.
  • We continue our tour at a private garden that falls somewhere between Oudolf’s planting style and European prairie style: the owner and creative force, Jaap de Vries. In addition to warm-season grasses typical of the North American prairie, de Vries uses many perennial selections favored in today's naturalistic planting movements and arranges some of his plants in a matrix pattern. Look carefully, and you'll notice that he pays particular attention to texture, form, and light, probably the reason hundreds of followers love his daily photo posts on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jaap.devries.10).
  • We start our day at DeWit Garden Tools. The Dutch are known for making some of the finest garden tools in the world, so we’re very fortunate that DeWit has invited us to visit their factory to learn about modern tool-making processes. Willem de Wit started the company in 1898, and today, the fourth generation of the family manages the forging operation. Family members will lead us through the factory and demonstrate some of their new designs with plenty of time left for browsing or shopping in their showroom.
  • We return to the Hotel Prinsenhof for the night. Dinner this evening is in the hotel’s restaurant (included).


  • The last garden of our tour is De Terptuin, designer Nico Kloppenborg’s small private garden in the historic village of Mantgum. In the front garden are stylish clipped beech columns, structural sentries overlooking an exuberant display of grasses and perennials. The back opens onto a gravel terrace, which abruptly drops down a steep slope. Here, Kloppenborg has designed a clever zig-zag path enclosed by hedges with sloping tops leaning in an opposite direction than one would expect, making the trip to the bottom a mini-journey in a maze. The destination below is a peaceful place to sit. This garden proves that small gardens can embody big ideas. Kloppenborg will take us through the garden. We’ll next drive south to Amsterdam, stopping for lunch along the way.
  • In Amsterdam, we’ll check into the Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station Hotel for the last night of the tour. In the early evening, we’ll gather for a special Farewell Dinner (included). Dinner will be served after boarding a canal boat while we float through the city’s waterways. We’ll see the sunset and the lights of the city come on, making all of Amsterdam look magical, a fitting end to our journey.

Day 9, Wednesday, July 31-- DEPARTURE

  • Our time together ends, but garden lovers find inspiration wherever they are. Tour members can choose to return home or carry on the adventure. We’ll provide coach transfer to Schiphol Airport at 7:30 AM for those with flights leaving at 11:00 AM or later. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or train to the airport at your chosen time.
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