Standard perennial border (1960)

Inspired by the prefab building in the fifties, Mien Ruys thought up the idea of standard perennial borders. These were standard borders with strong, healthy, long flowering perennials and easy to maintain. She designed borders with different lengths, colour schemes, for sandy, clay and peat soil, for sun, partial shade and shade and also borders suitable for small gardens. The Dutch name ‘confectie’ was taken from the fashion world when ‘off-the-peg’ standard fashion was introduced. The borders were on sale at Moerheim, the nursery belonging to her father, Bonne Ruys. One only had to hand in particular wishes and garden details and the plants were delivered in crates, including a planting scheme and instructions for the upkeep of the garden. To experiment with the planting for these borders, a few borders were created in the Gardens. These Standard Perennial borders and also the Shade loving and Sun loving borders are examples of her experiments.

Design and planting

The garden consists of a number of larger and smaller flowerbeds with plants suitable for her idea of the  ‘Off-the-peg’, Standard perennial border. The small borders in the middle are separated by a round shaped little hedge of Spiraea x cinerea, a dense growing shrub with a delicate light green leaf. The hedges protrude a little, breaking up the straight lines of the path and grass.

The very tall trees in the grass are Metasequoia glyptostroboides. This sort  had existed for millions of years and was thought to be extinct.  However, in  the 1940s , living examples were found in China.  Moerheim nursery was able to get hold of some seed of these rediscovered trees. One tree actually grew from seed and produced the seed for the present Metasequoias.

On the north side of the garden there are two larger borders in full sunlight. These borders have as background small strips of wood in a wooden frame of poles. These are roller screens which were used as sun blinds in the Boskoop market garden business.

The bronze statue in the grass, the ‘Reclining lady’ is the work of the sculptor Thijl Wijdeveld. The statue was placed here during one of the art expositions in the nineties. Mien Ruys was delighted with both the statue and the position it was given in the Gardens. It filled an empty spot that was left when the Sleeper bench was removed.


The standard perennial borders have been on this spot in their present form since 1987. Before then there was also  a Sleeper bench, one of the experiments with Railway sleepers. This bench was made in the sixties when the Gardens were extended on the north side of the Wood. As in the Sunken garden, there were also experiments with Railway sleepers on this spot. The use of railway sleepers is very suitable in the peat soil of Dedemsvaart to create differences in height. One row of sleepers could be used as the foundation and another layer could be nailed on to it. The idea of a Sleeper bench was to create a multifunctional spot in an open area in a rather playful way with edges to sit on and a possibility to make a sandpit or a potting area for plants. The heavy Railway sleeper required a particular shape. By cutting the sleepers into different lengths, moving lines were created.

In one of the flowerbeds, an arbour shaped flowering Cherry, Prunus incise “Moerheimii’  was planted which  formed a roof above the Sleeper bench. In 1987 this was all removed and replaced by grass.

Recently the Standard perennial borders, the City garden, the Sunken Garden and The Reed pond have been nominated as National monuments from the period of rebuilding after the Second World War.