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Henk Gerritsen

Henk Gerritsen was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands. He studied politics and history at the University of Amsterdam then trained at the Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam. He made his living as a painter for many years until 1977 when he met the grand old lady of Dutch garden architecture, Mien Ruys. At that moment he realized that becoming a garden architect would be the best way to combine his great passion in life, plants, with his other talents.

In 1978 he started Priona Gardens with his friend Anton Schlepers on Anton's family farm at Schuinesloot in the east of Holland. Henk's extensive knowledge of plants and his artist's eye have resulted in a most remarkable garden, where wild plants from all over the world grow together in low-maintenance plant communities that appear natural but are set in an unusual and sometimes absurd architecture. Magazines including Gardens Illustrated, The Garden, House and Garden and World of Interiors have featured Priona Gardens.

Henk respects the full cycle of life in his garden; rather than battling disease and decay, "troublesome" weeds, and animals like greenflies, slugs, moles, and rabbits, he prefers to compromise, considering them an essential part of the beauty of the garden. He never uses chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Henk's international projects include creating a wild flower garden from the formal Waltham Place garden at White Waltham in England, and incorporating a natural garden in and around the French hamlet of Leyvinie, close to Perpezac-le-Blanc in the Correze. He is a celebrated writer in the Netherlands with several books and monthly magazine columns to his name.

Books by Henk Gerritsen