Piet Oudolf & Naturalistic Perennial Gardens in Netherlands and Germany

Piet Oudolf & Naturalistic Gardens in Netherlands & Germany

  • August 14 – 23, 2020
  • $4,475 USD per person
  • Visit Piet Oudolf’s masterly designs at the Singer Laren Museum, Vlinderhof, Maximilianpark + visit the private Garten Mooriem, HORTVS, & Tuin ‘de Villa’.

Piet Oudolf & Naturalistic Gardens in Netherlands & Germany

August 14 – 23, 2020

Our tour to the Netherlands and Germany celebrates the beauty of naturalistic plantings with a special emphasis on the work of Dutch design master Piet Oudolf (pronounced Peet Ow-dolf). As a planting style, naturalism can be traced back to German plantsman Karl Foerster. He embraced perennials and grasses seen in the wild as garden-worthy plants in the late 19th-century. One hundred years later, a group of young garden designers in the Netherlands adopted Foerster’s point of view, developing it further by creating plantings that mimicked nature in artful ways. They were dubbed the Dutch Wave. Oudolf was part of that group and continues today to inspire and influence the international gardening community through his painterly plantings.

We’ll delve into the tenets of this style on our tour, exploring both Oudolf’s gardens and those of other garden-makers who use naturalistic planting in expressive ways. Come with us for an immersive travel experience into some of the most beautiful plantings in the world.


August 14, Friday – Arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
August 15, Saturday – Singer Laren, Future Plants, Vlinderhof
August 16, Sunday – Tuin ‘de Villa’, Plantwerk
August 17, Monday – Hortvs
August 18, Tuesday – Peter Berg, Free Time in Cologne
August 19, Wednesday – Maximilianpark, Mien Ruys
August 20, Thursday – Garten Moorriem, Dewit Garden Tools, Stadstuin Kempkensberg
August 21, Friday – Lianne’s Siergrassen, De Kleine Plantage
August 22, Saturday – De Terptuin, Amsterdam Canal Dinner Cruise
August 23, Sunday – 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, Friday, August 14 — 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 that will have been booked for each of you (included in the price of the tour). We’ll gather in the hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM for a Welcome Dinner (included) with the first round of drinks courtesy of CarexTours.
  • Our tour starts in Laren, a village not far from Schiphol, with a visit to one of Piet Oudolf’s most 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 earthas 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 mature gardens as well as captivating new plantings to explore. We’ll have lunch in the museum’s cafe before traveling to our afternoon garden.
  • Next, we’ll visit Future Plants, a collective established to introduce new perennial varieties, after years of testing, into the horticulture marketplace. Here we’ll see plants discovered by Piet Oudolf and others, which are not yet available anywhere. Walking through the test beds, we’ll try to select the next star plant.
  • Our final stop of the day is Vlinderhof (the 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 would be planted and maintained by volunteers. Now, six years after the installation, more than 15,000 plants of 97 different varieties attract not only butterflies but also bees and 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 so that when you climb the berm at one end, you’ll get a jaw-dropping shot over the whole garden.
  • For the night, we’ll check into the Hotel Finch in Deventer for two nights and then have dinner together in the dining room (included).
Day 3, Sunday, August 16 — TUIN ‘DE VILLA’, PLANTWERK
  • We begin our day with a visit to Tuin ‘de Villa’, a private Dutch garden. Started in 2004, the garden is located between meadows and cornfields on a polder, land reclaimed from a river. Here, Fried and Lily Frederix have made a contemporary garden with a crisp, diagonal design behind the house that directs our attention to the naturalistic planting far in the rear, beyond a horse pasture meadow abuzz with pollinators. Grasses move in the breeze, and flowering shrubs and perennials form a rich Dutch Wave tapestry of texture and color. If you like to make videos, this is the garden for you. The couple will give us an introduction and be available for questions as we wander through the garden.
  • This afternoon we’ll explore Plantwerk, a 1.5-acre perennial and grass display garden and nursery. Started in 2013, the owners are Caroline van Heeswijk, who manages the nursery, and garden designer Frank Heijligers. In the garden, the partners try out plants and combinations aiming to find the very best for their projects. We’ll benefit from their extensive horticultural knowledge and be able to ask questions, surrounded by the beauty of this naturalistic testing site.
  • We’ll return to the Hotel Finch for the night. Dinner this evening will be at a restaurant of your choice (not included) either in Deventer or in the hotel restaurant.
Day 4, Monday, August 17 — HORTVS
  • Today, we travel east to visit German gardens. The first is Hortvs, the private garden of designer and author Peter Janke in Hilden. Considered an outstanding talent in German landscape design, he was inspired early on by the work of British plantsperson Beth Chatto, and follows her dictum “right plant, right place.” Within a confident geometric structure that includes hedges and allées, Janke’s design style is in tune with nature, making sure that wildlife is welcomed into the garden. On a tour led by Janke, we’ll see shady mixed borders, 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.
  • For the night, we’ll check into the Marriott Cologne in the city center and have dinner together in the hotel (included).
Day 5, Tuesday, August 18 — PETER BERG, FREE TIME IN COLOGNE
  • We’ll spend our morning in Peter Berg’s Garden in Sinzig, a town in the scenic Rhine River Valley. Berg is a designer, and his steeply sloping garden has seven terraces using dry stone walls to create living areas connected by more than 100 steps. 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 private garden making in this mountainous part of Germany.
  • We return to Cologne for the afternoon and evening, staying again at the Marriott Cologne. The rest of your day is free 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, Wednesday, August 19 — 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 by mature woodland, the flourishing garden is crisscrossed with meandering paths. Lush, textural grasses and high-performance perennials make the garden an artistic ode to color, 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 (not included) on leaving Germany, heading west to return to the Netherlands to visit the important Tuinen Mien Ruys in Dedemsvaart. Here we’ll pay homage to the woman considered the “Mother of Modernism” in Dutch garden design, landscape architect Mien Ruys (1904-1999). She made these gardens over a period of 70 years, and they are a testament to her amazing creativity. Her style is distinctly architectural, but the plantings are loose and naturalistic. There are 28 gardens in all, incorporating many 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 for gardeners from all over the world.
  • We’ll travel north to the Dutch city of Groningen, sometimes called “the Amsterdam of the North,” and check into the Hotel Prinsenhof for three nights. For dinner this evening, we’ll dine together in the hotel (included).
  • We start our day at the private Garten Moorriem, which sadly will close at the end of 2020. Located in Elsfleth, Germany behind a 300-year-old house, Ute and Albrecht Ziburski’s garden skillfully combines trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses. The part of the garden closest to the house is traditional and reflects local styles. However, once you cross a bridge in the back, you’re in new planting territory. A 130-foot 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, and reds. These plantings are glorious in late summer against the backdrop of native meadows and fields. 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 lunch in a restaurant (not included) on our way to our next stop, 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 processes of tool making. Willem de Wit started the company in 1898, and today, the 4th generation of the family manages 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 base of the 300-foot tall office building, the landscape architecture firm Lodewijk Baljon installed a prairie planting, created as 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 popular cafe.
  • We’ll 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).
  • This morning, we travel southeast to Lianne’s Siergrassen, a garden that specializes in ornamental grasses. The owner, Lianne Pot indulged her passion for ornamental 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 remarkably stunning 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.
  • De Kleine Plantage is a nursery very much in the spirit of many of the gardens we’ve seen on this tour. Next to the nursery, Fleur van Zonneveld and Eric Spruit, the owners, have created a graceful, handsome garden using sturdy, textural perennials and grasses in almost-hidden alcoves along a crisp, hedge-lined avenue. They describe their garden as “a search for harmony between the straight and the curved, between order and looseness, between structure and content, between space and privacy.” We’ll also want to pay special attention to the many clusters of pots that van Zonneveld has planted with naturalistic annuals, her specialty. De Kleine Plantage will remain in our memories as a refreshing Dutch oasis.
  • We return to Prinsenhof again for free time 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 restaurant you like for dinner or return to the hotel to dine (not included).
Day 9, Saturday, August 22 — DE TERPTUIN, FAREWELL DINNER
  • 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 swaying grasses and vibrant 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 and on a walk to another garden he’s designed for a neighbor. We’ll next drive south to Amsterdam, stopping for lunch (not included) along the way.
  • In Amsterdam, we’ll check into 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, Sunday, August 23 — DEPARTURE
  • Our time together comes to an end, but garden lovers are likely to 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 a train at a time of your choosing to the airport.


Tour price:

$4,475 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 transportation.
  • 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.
  • 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, 2020.

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 of 4-star accommodations. Rooms are double occupancy with the option for a single room for an additional fee.

August 14: Sheraton Amsterdam Hotel and Conference Center at Schiphol Airport, NL
August 15 – 16: Hotel Finch in Deventer, NL
August 17 – 18: Cologne Marriott Hotel in Cologne, DE
August 19 – 21: Hotel Prinsenhof in Groningen, NL
August 22: 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 this garden tour 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 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 15, 2020.


Travel insurance is required in case you need to cancel your trip after May 15, 2020, 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 15, 2020.

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: $4,475 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.