John Bergmans (1892 – 1980)
Garden Designer and Plant Expert
John Bergmans was born in Antwerp in 1892 and came to the Netherlands during the First World War. He gained his initial practical experience of the gardening world at various tree nurseries near Haarlem. Later he worked for the J.H. Faasen - Hekkens tree nursery in Tegelen, where he became director of the department of garden design.
Bergmans was a member of the Association of Dutch Garden Architects and the Dutch Dendrological Society. He became well known above all as a result of his book “Vaste planten en Rotsheesters” (herbaceous perennials and rock shrubs), published in 1924. Apart from this book he published nine other books on plants and gardens and also wrote articles for various specialist magazines. Bergmans had many international contacts and was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s “Veith Memorial Medal" in 1973. As a garden architect he designed over three thousand gardens, parks and recreational parks in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany. Many of his creations can still be seen, above all in south Limburg and the city of Oisterwijk, where he lived, as well as in the surrounding vicinity.
Bergmans’ gardens are characterised by a large variety of herbaceous perennials, shrubs and rock plants. He drew up detailed plans of plants and was a master in creating compositions of plants whose appearance changed in each season due to their blossoms, the shapes of their leaves and their colours. In this sense, John Bergmans was a true “plant connoisseur” for whom the layout of the garden was of less importance that the range of plants growing in it.
After the Second World War, Bergmans also worked as a garden inspector for the state mining company “Staatsmijnen” in Limburg.
Bergmans’ well-known garden and park projects in the Netherlands include the Schutterspark in Brunssum, the open-air theatres in Brunssum, Oisterwijk und Tegelen as well as the Botanical Garden in Kerkrade, the zoo in Tilburg and the arboreta in Kalmthout und Essen
Bergmans’ extensive collection of garden designs and books can be found today in the library of Wageningen University.