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3 Questions to: Ben van Ooijen (The Gardens of Appeltern)

Every year, from March to November, the Gardens of Appeltern (“De Tuinen van Appeltern”) in the Netherlands open their gate to present over 200 model gardens. Visitors can experience very different gardens from tiny balconies to designer garden, they learn a lot about plants and the feel of materials. Even accessories and latest furniture trends are on display. The Dutch landscaper Ben van Ooijen founded this park of ideas more than two decades ago.

Mr. van Ooijen, how did the idea for the Gardens of Appeltern came about?
van Ooijen
: Over 25 years ago I was thinking about how I could explain my gardening ideas to my customers so that they can see my designs. This is why I installed flower beds, paths, a lake, a dry wall, and other garden elements next to our own house. These first model gardens have by now grown into over 200 gardens on 23 hectares. Of course I didn’t design all those areas by myself: The best landscape artists and garden architects from the Netherlands come here to present their latest designs and visions. There is always something new to see. Ideas are being developed, materials being tested, and plantings tried out – simply to create beautiful gardens.

What kinds of people visit your gardens?
van Ooijen
: Every year the Gardens of Appeltern welcome about 100.000 visitors. We are a very important place for students and nursery men in training as well as for landscapers and designers. Of course, Appeltern is also a place for garden enthusiasts and people interested in plants who just want to relax and get inspired. Most of our visitors are from the Netherlands, but the amount of people from other countries is rising constantly. 

What is the difference between the Gardens of Appeltern and a normal garden show?
van Ooijen
: The usual garden show is made only for a short period of time, whereas some of our inspirational  gardens have existed for decades. In this period of time lots of changes and developments happened and of course nurture and care by garden experts. There are gardens for the most different target groups. In Appeltern you will find the largest assortment of garden plants in the Netherlands as well as the national collection of perennials. The perennial garden itself has a surface of over 10.000 square metres and is divided into model patches with thousands of varieties. You can enjoy almost the whole garden year over here – from early spring to late autumn. Just bring enough time  and enjoy and experience our gardens! There are lots of ideas to take home.

On September 3rd, 2014, the spoga+gafa organizes a trip to the Gardens of Appeltern for visitors of the fair from Cologne.

Further Information: appeltern.nl

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