Born in Utrecht, ¬†the Netherlands ¬†in 1948, Henk's interest in plants lay dormant until 1963, when asked to make a herbarium for biology class at high school, a life-long passion unfolded. Until 1977 he was only interested in wild plants and travelled all over Europe to see them in their natural habitats. It never occurred to him that he could ever make a living out of this passion.
In 1968 he moved to Amsterdam to study history and politics at the University of Amsterdam. Later he studied at the Rietveld Academy of Art. Between 1976 and 1985 he made a living as a painter.
In 1977 he met the grand old lady of Dutch garden architecture, Mien Ruys, and visited her garden at Dedemsvaart. It was an immediate eye-opener: there lay his future!
The following year he and his friend Anton Schlepers, whom he had met in Amsterdam in 1973, ¬†began to design the Priona Gardens at Anton's family farm in Schuinesloot.
In the folowing years he collaborated as an illustrator on several garden books with Arend Jan van der Horst and cooperated with the Mien Ruys garden architecture office in several wildflower projects. In 1981 he, Anton and several others formed a pressuregroup in order to rescue the Oeverlanden, an area rich in nature in the outskirts of Amsterdam, from encroaching municipal building plans. After a few years of intensive campaigning the building plans were abandoned in 1985. The pressuregroup still exists and has changed into a society that maintains the area.
In 1986 Henk moved permanently to Schuinesloot. The garden opened to the public the same year and has been his livelihood ever since.
After Anton's untimely death in 1993 he maintained the garden alone, with the occasional help of volunteers. Since 1999 Michel Vleugels helps him with the maintenance.
For his other activities since 1986 look elsewhere on this website (Publications, Garden Design)