Saturday, August 27, 2011

A kindred spirit

Ton ter Linden is famous for his garden-making in Holland, and for his art - mostly still-lifes. Time spent weeding or planting is as important to him as his painting, it’s a kind of partnership with time spent at the easel.

I’m glad to be here at last. I first came across his garden through photographs taken in the mid 1990s by Marijke Heuff, an incredibly gifted Dutch photographer, who at the time was busy with gardens by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen - indeed her ability to capture the misty faded glory feel of Henk’s Priona Garden helped launched ‘The New Perennial’ look. We used several pictures of his garden in eastern Holland for my book The New Perennial Garden. But I never got round to visiting. He moved with his partner Geert to South Limburg, that salient of Dutchness that shoves itself down between Belgium and Germany in an attempt to plant the flag on a decent hill or two. But it turned out not to be so restuful so they came up here – to the empty fields of Friesland.

I’d come with Dani Coray (whose wonderful really plantygarden so deservedly won a gold at Tatton Park recently) and a friend, Zoe Weston. Clutching our googlemap printout and a very basic £4 Dutch satnav app on my iPhone we bumped down concrete slab roads, where every slab was pointing in a different direction. It’s remote, but it sounds like Ton and Geert get lots of visitors. They run a studio, with work by other artists as well as Ton’s work. Some wonderful sculpture in the garden too.

Ton doesn’t speak English, so wir sprechen ein Bisschen auf Deutsch, but Geert is used to speaking for Ton, and he soon got back to his studio. Geert explained that the garden may look carefree but it involves a lot of emotional as well as physical effort – and that the sound of Ton shouting and swearing as he gardened was not uncommon. I know the feeling. I also knew almost before I waded out into it, that it was my kind of garden. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ton ter Linden's website is here.
We went to lots of other good gardens and nurseries on the trip too... you can read about them on Gardening Gone Wild.


The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Wonderful, like a paradise island in the middle of the fields. And the 'bird' sculptures are very soft, reflecting the flowing forms of the plant drifts.

elaine said...

Something for me to aspire too - what I would call a 'loose' garden.

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I've been wondering how designers are using Hordeum jubatum. It stands out so much catching so much light, but it surprises me how much it fades into the background around the Petasites (?) and Astilbe(?).

bloggernefa said...

hi Noel
I understand your fascination. Its a beautiful garden.
I think you would love to visit Overdam Plantskoles website here ind Denmark. This is their website:
They sell more than 250 different kinds of grasses. Its a beautiful place.

Hope you have a great weekend.

best regards

Sibylle said...

Thanks fot the interesting post, really like to go and visite the garden. From Germany its not so far, will have a look at the other gardens you've been there.
Greetings Sibylle

small garden love said...

Beautiful garden especially love the sculptures they sem to bleb seemlessly within the landscape.