The Botanical Garden in Kerkrade was a joint initiative of the Dutch State Mines, the South Limburg Horticultural Association and the Roman Catholic Parish of Terwinselen. It was intended as a park for mine workers and their families.
Bergmans worked on this garden for 22 years. His first design dates from 1938, but it was only in 1945 that the park took on its present form, with a southern and a northern garden. The southern garden, designed in English landscape style, centred on a kidney-shaped pond surrounded by undulating meadows and long plant borders.
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With its diversity of plant combinations, colours and textures the garden offered a stunning spectacle emphasised by long visual lines and unbroken views. A walk that pleasantly combines intimacy and openness. The northern garden bordered on the Macintosh rainwear factory. To aid this transition between stone and garden, Bergmans created a large-scale rock landscape.
Since the garden’s collection consisted primarily of non-indigenous plants, Bergmans encircled it with a dense and high plant border. Only the Church tower and the mine shaft rose above it, symbolising the founders’ ‘watchful eye’.
The garden has been a national heritage site since 2000. It is still committed to protecting endangered plant species and reminding its visitors of the importance of biodiversity.
Information about other Botanical gardens in Belgium and the Netherlands, designed by John Bergmans, can be found in Database TUiN.