live and let live

Mien Ruys“Today is the first day of my career” …were the words Mien Ruys wrote in her diary at the age of 19. That may have been the beginning of her gardening career, which lasted until age 94. She died in 1999. Little known in the US,  Ruys is a precursor to garden designers, like Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury.

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Her father was a friend of Gertrude Jekyll, founded the Moerheim Nursery in 1888, one of the most notable in Europe at the time.  The garden you see today is a combination of the original gardens designed by Mien Ruys and a re-interpretation of her designs by current staff.

insect hotel

The Insect Hotel, a new sculpture in the garden.

The gardens Ruys made at her own house are experiments.  I understood this idea completely.  Your own garden is your laboratory… it’s for you. These photos reflect the different kinds of spaces Ruys trialed…from geometric to intense inter-planting.  A love of the clipped hedges, concrete pavers, and intense inter-planting of perennials.

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One of my favorite things to do in any garden is to “go backstage.”  Find the area of the garden, where the gardeners work, where the tools are stored and some of the real work gets done.


plant tags


garden sign

One of the staff was extremely surprised that were Americans.  English people come here, but very few Americans.  I recommend a visit, the next time you in NL.

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