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The Gardens of Appeltern: An inspiration park with mature gardens

Asian Gardens – Photo: Appeltern
Asian Gardens – Photo: Appeltern

For the garden planner, Ben van Ooijen, advising his customers was a far too theoretical process. He wanted to show them in practice how they can turn their own personal garden dream into reality. He began creating the first model gardens 25 years ago.

More and more were gradually added, so that up until today over 200 gardens have been created on 25 hectares of land in Appeltern, the Netherlands. This inspiration park is the largest of its kind in Europe and attracts many international visitors. Plant professionals as well as landscape architects, landscapers or nursery gardeners all get their money’s worth in the diversified gardens and amid the national shrub collection.

“In Appeltern it is about how to create a garden which will make its owner happy,” explained van Ooijen. “Garden owners and experts exchange their experiences.” Innovative materials, using trusted items in a new way, sheds, special plants, surprising visual axes and a variety of ponds – a huge treasure of inspiration is united here. Whether fruit and vegetable gardens, urban roof terraces, Asian gardens or naturalistic landscapes, in Appeltern the diversity of current trends becomes visible.

Aerial view - Photo: Appeltern
Aerial view – Photo: Appeltern

Unlike at garden shows, the gardens are allowed to grow slowly here and enfold their whole potential throughout all of the seasons. New gardens including avant-garde pieces of garden art arise continually on the festival grounds. The park’s state of care, which is impressive, is constantly and professionally tended to by a small team. “Garden joy doesn’t have to involve too much work, if the right plants are chosen and correctly implemented,” stated van Ooijen. “We explain to our visitors how this can be done in our free audio guide, the Appeltern whisper tour.”

Since the Gardens of Appeltern offer special group arrangements and tours, the park makes an ideal destination for group outings. The existing facilities are also suitable for training courses. Van Ooijen: “Garden architects frequently visit our gardens together with their customers to gather and finalise ideas on-site. We expressly look forward to exchanging experiences with our European colleagues. Welcome to the Gardens of Appeltern.”

Overview map – Photo: Appeltern
Overview map – Photo: Appeltern

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