The Rose stands for the freshness of spring, blooming, beginning, and new growth. The Dragon stands for the scorching heat of the Mediterranean summer, retreat and dormancy. Grow and retreat. Two elements of life in a garden.
I think a garden should submerge you, tell you a story, take you away, out of your daily stress and offer you a bit of the calming soothing of nature.
In general, my gardens try to be close to the concept of a natural environment in the setting of a garden. Sure, there will be bold & straight lines but the planting will have a more natural look. The focus is on the green structure. My gardens are clearly constructed, but they feel natural. The garden will be in harmony with what is already there. Melt into it, connect to the landscape around it. This creates a feel of balance and harmony and makes the garden appear larger.
Preferably I like to work with plants that are well adapted to the area the garden is in, that way reducing the risk of diseases and minimising the amount of extra care or watering needed.
But above all I want to share my profound love for and joy of nature and I want to give you a little bit of the amazing beauty and complexity of nature by creating you a garden. Because I can. And because I think deep down every human feels his or her connection to nature.
Essential is the concept of change. A garden is nature. It is alive, it grows and changes. It makes no sense to try to maintain that one rosebush at all costs, where it was conceived in the original design. Roses grow old and get sick. The plants around them have grown bigger, the garden has changed. Other parts now require more attention. The focus in the garden has changed.
A garden must be able to develop. I don’t design gardens that are ready at once. But that doesn’t mean a garden won’t be interesting from the start. A garden grows through different stages and each stage has its own character. In a young garden the accent is on the horizontal structure and perennials and growth. In an older garden the accent lies in light and shade, spaces, the vertical structure and texture of trees and shrubs. A young garden has a different energy than an older garden.
How I work: Design
A design process usually begins IN the garden, exploring ideas with you.
My starting point is you, it’s your garden. I enjoy using my skills and creativity to create something refined that fits you, the owner, that is beautiful, and works well in the place it is in.
Most design processes follow the same routine: Defining requirements, Concept design, Detailed design, Selecting materials, Selecting a contractor, Implementing the design, Creating a planting plan, Finding and ordering the plants, The actual planting, Delivery, Aftercare and Setting up a maintenance & development plan.
For designs that require specific detailing (pools, gardenhouses, large scale levelling, and overall larger projects), I work in collaboration with a landscape architect).
For the build of the garden I work with a well established landscaping company I rely on and trust.
Together with you we decide how I can help you best; just one step of the process, a few steps, or the full process from beginning to end.
How I work: Maintenance
Guiding and advising you on maintenance can be just a one time visit, but more often it’s a process where I or we define the long term and short term plan for the garden, and where I come in on a recurrent basis (for instance a half day per month) to advise and instruct the gardener and his team on the work to be done over that period.
Guiding maintenance means defining the short term and long term plan for the garden, from a technical and aesthetic point of view. Deciding on interventions and improvements, setting up a general planning, deciding on replacements and new borders. Providing guidance on pruning and trimming according the rules of the art to the gardener. Good pruning is something completely different than just cutting back a shrub to a compact shape. It takes skill to understand the shrub and what the effect of a certain type of pruning will have on the growth of the shrub and the looks of the garden.
I am Dutch, since January 2020 living and working in the south of France.
Growing up behind the dunes in the southwest of the Netherlands, always outside, with my brothers exploring the forest and dunes, with both parents who loved gardening, I developed a deep connection with nature. For some reason I ended up with a business degree in Public Administration, but after only a few years working in the corporate world I went back to school and became a fully trained horticulturist/landscaper. After that I got my planting design diploma from the London College of Garden Design. I have 20 professional years of experience in horticulture, creating gardens, garden maintenance, and heading maintenance teams. I have worked for private landscape companies, the city of The Hague, the city of Rotterdam and for my own private clients.
The love for the Mediterranean landscape, its plants, climate and a bit of adventure brought me here end of 2019.
For more info see my Linkedin profile and my Instagram.