Hans Prins’s botanical garden
The botanical garden started off in 1990 with bamboo but has since specialized in a wide selection of hardy exotic plants which can be planted in a Dutch or mid-European garden.
The botanical garden and Jungle Garden is situated in Northern Holland and can be visited on Fridays and Saturdays (or by appointment). This wonderful exotic garden with its plethora of bamboo’s, palms and unusual bananas really gives you the feeling of being in the jungle! And you get personal assistance from Hans Prins, the owner of bamboo botanical garden “De Groene Prins”.
Garden exotic categories to be found in the botanical garden are for example eucalyptus, palms, camellia, bamboo, banana and exotic fern. All plants in the botanical garden are planted out and have usually been tested for winter-hardiness for years. The bamboos, or rather the bamboo woods are especially spectacular. Hans Prins has a lot to tell about every plant in the botanical garden!
Which exotic garden plants are hardy for Holland / Mid-Europe?
Hardy exotic plants
The hardiest exotics are bamboos. A number of clumping bamboos such as fargesia are exceptionally hardy. But several species of eucalyptus can take a hard winter and can give your garden a distinctly antipodean look! For that Mediterranean feeling some palm trees will also come through the winter well. Magnolia grandiflora is also quite suitable for a mid-European garden and camellia can also be planted in a temperate Jungle garden. New Zealand can be just round the corner! Our bamboo botanical garden has a range of ferns which are both hardy and evergreen. Have a look at our shop and info pages for more exotic plant ideas.
When we speak of winter-hardiness we are talking of tolerance of temperatures around -20°C. All exotics which you can plant out are available here at the botanical garden as pot or tub plant in all sizes and shapes. For an enthusiast who wants giants for his garden, or who wants to create a bamboo-grove there are bamboo plants available from 30cm to 6 metres tall!
Evergreen exotic plants
The second category of garden plants are those which will tolerate some frost but not too much, say -5 to -10°C. These can be planted out and propagated but will need some protection from severe frosts. These hardy exotics will prefer protection from, say, a bamboo hedge. Then they will stay in good shape as they shelter in the lee of the hedge, which takes the edge off the winter chill. In our botanical garden there are many such exotics which have survived the winter well outside, including moderately hardy palms and even subtropical bananas. Have a look in our virtual garden to see what we propagate in our bamboo botanical garden or have a look in the shop or plant info. Here you can also find the winter hardiness per plant.
For these half hardy exotics there are many methods to protect them against the worst frosts. Come along to our Jungle Garden and be inspired by what’s possible. The botanical garden has years of experience and Hans Prins and colleagues will be pleased to advise you.
The most beautiful perennial flowering plants are not all sufficiently hardy but there are exceptions, such as the gingers Hedychium and Cautleya. For long-lasting blooms tropical plants such as Canna and various bedding plants are to be considered, and you will be flabbergasted by the beauty of eucalyptus in bloom! These and many other exceptional plants are to be found here at the botanical garden.
Pot and tub plants
If you want pot or tub plants with an exotic, Mediterranean of tropical allure, then you’ll have to keep them frost-free in winter. This is necessary, as roots of potted plants receive no warmth from the earth and are as such sensitive to frost. At our botanical garden we have greenhouses and conservatories in which sensitive plants can spend the winter. Be aware that evergreen plants need light in winter as well! That’s why a shed or garage is usually not the best place to keep them in winter.
Bamboo as hedge or specimen plant: key plants in the temperate botanical garden garden
Clumping bamboo such as Fargesia is perfect for a hedge. Bamboo hedges give privacy, suppress noise to a certain extent, improve the air and provide safe nesting places for birds. They are also easy to maintain. High bamboo screens can be made with Semiarundiaria and Phyllostachys. Then you need a root barrier (also called a rhizome-wall). See our bamboo pages for more info, or download the free bamboo brochure.
Bamboo sticks can also make a fine fence. We sell plants and sticks at the botanical garden from own produce. The botanical garden has also many species of bamboo which you can use as a specimen plant. Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Aureocaulis’ is, for example, a magnificent yellow bamboo which is often used as a solitary plant and is exceptionally hardy.
A number of the bamboo species available at the botanical garden are eaten as a delicacy; they can be planted in the main garden or in the kitchen garden!
Camellia as hardy flower
You can enjoy flowering camellias from October to May (8 months long!). The earliest bloomers are Camellia sasanqua and Camellia sinensis (the species which gives us tea). These are also great hedge-species and they bloom magnificently. Many species of Camellia can be admired planted out in the botanical garden garden.
During periods of frost the flowering will be suspended, but as soon as it thaws, the blooms return! Many are suited to shadowy places, as can be seen here at the botanical garden. See our shop and info pages about hardy camellia species!
Eucalyptus, the most exotic tree for your garden
Although some eucalyptus species aren’t 100% hardy, these wonderful trees offer many possibilities for the garden. For adherents to flower-arranging they are unmissable. Download our new eucalyptus brochure for more info or see our shop and info pages. Come and have a look at our eucalyptus trees in the Jungle garden.
Palms for a tropical atmosphere: key plants in the botanical garden garden
Without a palm such as the magnificent Trachycarpus fortunei in your garden, you’re not really exotic. But there are more palms deserving of an place of honour in the garden! Read our info page about the most hardy palms; various plants from seedling to fully-grown specimens are always available in the botanical garden. Some of our enthusiasts collect and propagate all sorts of palms in their garden, and provide protection for the more sensitive plants. See our info pages and shop for more!
You can even grow bananas in a temperate garden!
The hardiest garden banana is Musa bajoo. It’s a decorative banana, which doesn’t supply edible fruit in our climate. It’s to be admired here at Bamboo-botanical garden “De Groene Prins” in all its glory. But there are other species available in our shop and our collection is continually growing. Without banana trees the garden is not exotic and for some of us life is not worth living ….
Ferns, Gingers and other exotics also available at De Groene Prins!
The emphasis is on evergreen ferns. Our assortment is growing each year, and is visible in our specimen garden. We try combinations with less-known plants such as Calanthe, Bletilla and Pleione (large-flowered garden orchids), Roscoea (ginger family) and many other tropical, exotic garden plants. Come and ogle them all at our botanical garden!
De Groene Prins is not a garden centre but a real botanical garden, started as a bamboo botanical garden (sort of specialized tree botanical garden). Professional gardeners are also welcome here!