Piet Oudolf & Naturalistic Gardens in Netherlands & Germany 2019

Piet Oudolf & Naturalistic Gardens in Netherlands & Germany

  • August 6 – 15, 2019
  • $4,375 USD per person
  • Visit Piet Oudolf’s new design at the Singer Laren Museum, Vlinderhof, Oudolf’s beautiful plantings at Maximilianpark + the private Garten Mooriem, HORTVS, & Tuin ‘de Villa’.

Piet Oudolf & Naturalistic Gardens in Netherlands & Germany

August 6 – 15, 2019

Naturalistic planting is enthusiastically embraced by plant lovers and designers from around the world. At the forefront of this movement is Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf (pronounced Peet Ow-dolf), whose work in private and public gardens is celebrated for its artistic emulation of the wildness of natural habitats. Oudolf has described his approach this way, “My biggest inspiration is nature. I do not want to copy it but to recreate the emotion.” In this spirit, our travelers can expect to be awed by the gardens we will see on this tour and captivated by the rich history that continues to shape the trend toward naturalism in gardens today.

The heritage of this popular style can be traced back directly to Germany where several figures were working in the early 20th century. German plant breeder Karl Foerster and his pupil Ernst Pagels introduced a new style of gardening using huge drifts of perennials and grasses that require little maintenance. Dutch landscape architect Mien Ruys was a friend of Foerster, and she did much to popularize designs using loose groupings of herbaceous perennials that looked like native plants found in natural settings. Ruys’ influence was widespread. She inspired Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden in the United States, who created the New American Garden style.

In The Netherlands, another naturalistic style, that later became known as the Dutch Wave, was adopted by four designers who began collaborating in the early 1980s. They included Rob Leopold, owner of a wildflower seed company; Ton ter Linden, painter and garden designer; Henk Gerritsen, a designer, writer and plantsman; and Piet Oudolf, the designer who continues to inspire and influence the international gardening world.

Our tour will explore Oudolf’s planting style plus a range of other Dutch and German 21st-century gardens, both private and public, that use naturalistic planting in expressive ways.


August 6, Tuesday – Arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
August 7, Wednesday – Singer Laren, Vlinderhof
August 8, Thursday – Tuin ‘de Villa’, Appeltern
August 9, Friday – Hortvs
August 10, Saturday – Peter Berg, Free Time in Cologne
August 11, Sunday – Maximilianpark, Mien Ruys
August 12, Monday – Garten Moorriem, Duo Roof Garden, Dewit Garden Tools
August 13, Tuesday – Lianne’s Siergrassen, Jakobstuin
August 14, Wednesday – Nico Kloppenborg, Amsterdam Canal Dinner Cruise
August 15, Thursday – Depart or continue travels

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


Day 1, Tuesday, August 6 — ARRIVE IN THE NETHERLANDS
  • Tour members independently arrange travel to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and walk to the Sheraton Amsterdam Hotel and Conference Center just outside the terminal where a room will have been booked for each of you (included in the price of the tour). We’ll gather in the hotel bar to get acquainted at 6:30 PM for Welcome Cocktails with the first round of drinks courtesy of CarexTours. Dinner in the hotel this evening is not included.
Day 2, Wednesday, August 7 — SINGER LAREN, VLINDERHOF
  • Our tour starts in the Dutch province of North Holland not far from Schiphol with a visit to one of Piet Oudolf’s most recent projects, the Sculpture Garden at the Singer Laren Museum. Last year 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 older as well new plantings to explore.
  • Next, we’ll travel south to Utrecht and have lunch at a cafe before visiting Vlinderhof, which in English means Butterfly Garden. The garden is nestled in Maximapark and is another design by Piet Oudolf. Residents in the area asked Oudolf to design a garden within the city park, to be maintained by volunteers. Now, over 15,000 plants of 97 different varieties are planted naturalistically attracting not only butterflies but also bees and many other beneficial insects. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful public gardens in Europe, you may have a hard time taking it all in. Make sure to bring your camera when you climb the berm to get jaw-dropping overviews of the whole garden.
  • We’ll check into the Hotel de Buunderkamp, located in a forest near Arnhem, for the night and then have dinner together in the hotel (included).
Day 3, Thursday, August 8 — TUIN ‘DE VILLA’, DE TUINEN VAN APPELTERN
  • We begin our day at Tuin de Villa, a private Dutch garden. Started in 2004, the garden is located between meadows and cornfields on land reclaimed from the sea. Here, Fried and Lily Frederix have made a contemporary garden. There is much to enjoy in their crisp, diagonal design behind the house that directs our attention to the naturalistic planting far in the rear. The Frederix turned a horse pasture into a meadow abuzz with pollinators. Beyond, grasses move in the breeze, and flowering shrubs and perennials form a rich Dutch Wave tapestry of texture & color. If you like to make videos, this is the garden for you.
  • In the afternoon, we visit De Tuinen van Appeltern. We’ll have lunch before we explore the 56-acre park with its 200 model gardens created by designers from all over the Netherlands. The park is the brainchild of Ben van Ooijen who calls it a “garden information park”. This is a place for us to get a broad overview of contemporary Dutch garden design and see Oudolf’s influence on designer’s plant choices.
  • Returning to Hotel de Buunderkamp for the night, we’ll dine together at the hotel (included).
Day 4, Friday, August 9 — HORTVS
  • Today we travel west to Germany to visit Hortvs, the private garden of designer and author Peter Janke. Considered a rising star in the German landscape design, he was early on inspired by the work of British plantswoman Beth Chatto and follows her planting dictum “right plant, right place”. Within a confident geometric structure that includes hedges and allées, Janke’s planting style is in tune with nature making sure that wildlife is welcomed in the garden. On a tour led by Janke, we’ll see a shady mixed border, meadow, gravel garden, woodland garden, bog, and imaginative sculptures. Modern and atmospheric, this is a garden made out of deep passion.
  • For the night, we’ll check into the Hotel Lindner in the middle of Cologne. This evening, you may choose to have dinner at the hotel or at a restaurant of your choice in the city (not included).
Day 5, Saturday, August 10 — PETER BERG, FREE TIME IN COLOGNE
  • Our morning will be spent in Peter Berg’s Garden in the Rhine River Valley. Berg is a designer, and his steeply sloping garden has seven terraces using dry stone walls to create living areas. His planting style is light, airy, and naturalistic preferring to “sprinkle” flowering perennials in grassy areas under shrubs and trees. He is considered a master at setting large boulders so we’ll want to pay particular attention to that. Berg will lead us through the garden and be available to answer questions about his style and making private gardens in this part of Germany.
  • We return to Cologne for the afternoon and evening, staying again at the Hotel Lindner. The rest of the day is free giving you time to explore the city. You may want to tour the Cologne Cathedral (the most visited landmark in all of Germany), shop in Old Town, or visit one of the many museums with art and objects ranging from medieval to modern times. When it comes time for dinner (tonight not included), remember that no other German city has as many pubs per capita as Cologne and the pub food, in addition to the Kölsch, can be excellent. You may want to ask the hotel concierge for pub recommendations since there will be so many choices.
Day 6, Sunday, August 11 — MAXIMILIANPARK, MIEN RUYS
  • This morning we leave Cologne and travel northwest to the city of Hamm where we 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. Filled with Oudolf’s signature lush, textural grasses and high performance, colorful perennials, the garden is an artistic ode to light and shadow. Make sure to bring your camera. Few gardens are as photogenic as this. Rieke Schrewe, the landscape architect in charge of the garden, will be there to give us an introduction and answer our questions.
  • We’ll have lunch in a cafe on leaving Germany, heading east to return to the Netherlands to visit the important Tuinen Mien Ruys in Dedemsvaart. Here we’ll pay homage to the woman many consider the “Mother of Modernism,” landscape architect Mien Ruys (1904-1999). She made these gardens over a period of 70 years, and they’re a reflection of her amazing creativity. Her style is distinctly architectural, but the plantings are loose and naturalistic. There are 28 gardens in all, incorporating old and new styles while using unusual materials and perennial introductions from her father’s internationally renowned nursery. Above all, Ruys was experimental. Never afraid to try new things, her garden was an inspiration to Piet Oudolf as it continues to be to gardeners from all over the world.
  • We’ll travel north to the Dutch city of Groningen where we’ll check into the Hotel Prinsenhof for three nights. For dinner this evening, we’ll dine together in the hotel.
  • We start our tour day at the private Garten Moorriem in Elsfleth, Germany. Begun in 2006 behind a 300-year-old house, Ute and Albrecht Ziburski have made a garden filled with skillfully combined trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses. The first part of the garden is traditional and reflects local styles. However, once you cross a bridge to the far back garden, you’re in new planting territory. A 130’ Echinacea border artfully combines the cool tones of its signature plant with an array of perennials, grasses, and small specimen trees to beautiful effect. Facing this planting across a lawn is a border of hot colors, a tour de force arrangement of oranges, chartreuses, & reds. These plantings are in their full glory in late summer against the backdrop of a neighboring farm’s native meadow. This is a garden that plays with the illusion of naturalness and the result is sublime. Albrecht will lead us through the garden with plenty of time for conversation.
  • We’ll have a buffet lunch in a restaurant on our way to our next stop which is 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 and learn about modern processes of tool making. Willem de Wit started the company in 1898, and today, the 4th generation of the family is running the forging operation. Members of the family 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 Groningen for today’s last stop, a city garden on the roof of a parking garage called Stadstuin Kempkensberg. At the foot of the 300’ tall Rijks Kantoren complex, Lodewijk Baljon Landschapsarchitecten, the designers, installed a prairie planting created to be a “ comfortable, inviting and expressive green environment…for office workers and urban dwellers”. Completed in 2013, the garden also includes ponds that help manage water, specially designed windbreaks, and a pavilion with a locally popular restaurant.
  • We stay at the Prinsenhof again for the night. Dinner this evening is at a restaurant of your choice in the city or at the hotel (not included).
  • Today is our “late start” day. You may choose to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast. Or you may use the morning hours to explore Groningen. 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. You may choose whatever cafe you like for lunch before we board the coach to visit gardens.
  • Our garden visiting starts with Lianne’s Siergrassen, a well respected Dutch nursery that specializes in ornamental grasses and perennials. Not only has the owner, Lianne Pot indulged her passion and brought together a virtual living encyclopedia of grasses, she has also created 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 an overview of this remarkable, stunning garden. Pot will be available to walk the garden with you, and there is no better person with which to discuss this distinctly European style.
  • Next, we visit Jakobstuin, a private garden that the owner and designer, Jaap de Vries, calls a prairie meadow with a mixture of grasses, perennials, and annuals. Inspired by the work of the Dutch Wave foundering designers (Piet Oudolf, Henk Gerritsen, & Ton ter Linden), de Vries weaves warm season grasses through perennials in the currently popular matrix pattern. Look carefully, and you’ll notice that he pays particular attention to form, and light, which is probably the reason hundreds of followers love his daily photo posts on Facebook. De Vries will introduce the garden and then be available for questions.
  • We’ll return to Prinsenhof again. Tonight you may choose to have dinner at a Groningen restaurant or at one in the hotel (not included).
  • On our last day of garden touring, we visit designer Nico Kloppenborg’s small private garden in the historic village of Mantgum. On the street side are clipped beech columns, structural sentries overlooking an exuberant display of vibrant perennials and grasses. The back garden 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 heights opposite what one would expect, making the trip to the bottom a mini-journey of discovery. The destination below is a peaceful place to sit within a naturalistic planting. This garden proves that small gardens can embody big ideas. Kloppenborg will lead us through his garden while sharing his garden design philosophy and answering any questions you may have.
  • Leaving Mantgum, we head southwest toward Amsterdam, driving on a major dike and stopping along the way for a cafe lunch. In Amsterdam, we’ll check in to the Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station hotel. There will be time to get settled before we gather in the early evening for a special Farewell Dinner (included). After boarding a canal boat, dinner will be served while we float through the city’s waterways. We’ll see the sun set and the lights of the city come on making all of Amsterdam look magical, a fitting end to our time together.
Day 10, Thursday, August 15 — DEPARTURE
  • Our time together comes to an end but garden lovers always find fresh 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 a train at a time of your choosing to the airport.


Tour price:

$4,375 USD per person, double occupancy
+$1,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Tour price includes:
  • All 4-star hotel accommodations.
  • All breakfasts and 5 dinners.
  • Admission to all gardens including tips.
  • Comfortable coach transport.
  • Ground transportation between hotel and airport on departure day.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable professional tour coordinator.
  • Design and botanical expertise of your CarexTours leader.
Tour price excludes:
  • Airfare.
  • Travel Insurance
  • 9 lunches, 4 dinners, drinks including water, and snacks.
  • Lunch & dinner on arrival and departure days.
  • Tips for driver & tour coordinator.
Payment schedule:
  • A $1,000.00 (USD) deposit is due when you book your tour.
  • Final payment, in full, is due on May 15, 2019.

NOTE: CarexTours offers thoughtfully arranged garden tours. Each tour is guaranteed to proceed as soon as the minimum of 10 reservations has been met. In the event that our reservation minimum is not met, CarexTours reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is canceled.

Please DO NOT make your airline reservations until CarexTours has guaranteed (by email) that the tour will proceed.


Hotel Accommodations

After a day filled with garden inspiration and botanical discoveries, we will retire to the comfort and convenience of 4 star accommodations. Rooms are double occupancy with the option for a single room for an additional fee.

August 6: Sheraton Amsterdam Hotel and Conference Center at Schiphol Airport, NL
August 7 – 8: Hotel de Buunderkamp in Wolfheze, NL
August 9 – 10: Hotel Lindner Dom Hotel in Cologne, DE
August 11 – 13: Hotel Prinsenhof in Groningen, NL
August 14: Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station in Amsterdam, NL

Coach Travel

Daily transportation will be provided by a modern, comfortable coach operated by an experienced driver.



CarexTours, LLC is a limited liability company organized under the laws of the state of Maryland in the United States. CarexTours hosts garden tours operated by Garden Tours. As the hosting organization, CarexTours provides reservation services and has chosen Garden Tours, a professional tour operator, as its designated tour operator. As the designated tour operator, Garden Tours arranges for the actual tour of the garden sites. Garden Tours also acts as an agent for services connected with specific tours hosted by CarexTours such as ground transportation, lodging accommodations, and meals. Each service provider is solely responsible to the participant for providing their respective services.

By making a reservation for a tour hosted by CarexTours, the participant certifies that she/he does not have any mental, physical, or another condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CarexTours and Garden Tours, reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a tour hosted by CarexTours.


The tour prices in this agreement are based upon current exchange rates, tariffs, and taxes. Fluctuations in these rates could result in a price adjustment without prior notice until the tour is paid in full. Once the price for the tour is paid in full, the fee will not be adjusted due to any later change in exchange rates, tariffs or taxes.

Liabilities & booking conditions:

Garden Tours is established in the Netherlands, and rights and responsibilities for all tours operated by Garden Tours will be governed by Dutch and EU laws only. CarexTours and Garden Tours will have responsibility only for the proven negligent acts and omissions of its employees or agents and suppliers, subcontractors, servants and/or agents of the same while acting within the scope of or in the course of their employment in respect of claims arising as a result of death, bodily injury, or illness caused to the signatory to the contract and/or any other named persons on the booking form.


All participants in tours hosted by CarexTours agree to comply with a non-smoking policy on all coaches, in restaurants, and in all lodging places.


CarexTours and Garden Tours have no responsibility or liability to any person for loss of baggage, money or other property whatsoever. CarexTours and Garden Tours have no responsibility or liability for any loss or additional expenses caused by delay or interruption to travel services through weather conditions (such as rain, wind or fog), civil disturbance, riot, illegal acts of third parties, strikes, wars, floods, sickness or any circumstances amounting to Force Majeure.


In the unlikely event that you have a complaint, you must promptly notify the CarexTours host or the Garden Tours tour coordinator directly, so he/she can take remedial action on the spot. If the matter cannot be solved directly, any complaints must be submitted in writing to CarexTours within 20 days after the date of your return.

Your tour canceled by us:

CarexTours aims to provide your tour as booked. We reserve the right to cancel your tour in any circumstances, but if we cancel your tour, except where this is because you have not paid, you will receive a full refund.

Changes in itinerary details:

CarexTours and Garden Tours strive to operate according to the published itinerary. However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control or opportunities that would enhance the itinerary, adjustments may be necessary or appropriate. CarexTours and Garden Tours reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the agreed-upon itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants. CarexTours will let you know about any important changes as soon as we can if there is time before your departure. Otherwise, we will announce changes on the tour.


If you should need to withdraw from the tour for whatever reason, you must notify CarexTours in writing. Cancellation becomes effective when written notice is received. There will be no refunds from CarexTours on or after May 6, 2019.


Travel insurance is required in case you need to cancel your trip after May 6, 2019, you have health emergencies while on the tour, or other unforeseen issues arise. Squaremouth and Insure My Trip are two travel insurance search sites. If you are under 70 years old, World Nomads is usually an economical travel insurance choice. You will be required to provide evidence to CarexTours that you have obtained travel insurance by May 6, 2019.

To book this tour, contact Carolyn Mullet at camullet@gmail.com or 240 429 0889.

Your reservation will be secured after a deposit/full payment is received.

Deposit amount: $1,000 USD
Full payment: $4,375 USD per person (double occupancy)
Single occupancy: +$1,200 USD

Additional information about the CarexTours costs, including details about inclusions and exclusions, can be viewed on our pricing page.

PLEASE NOTE: CarexTours reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is canceled.