This post is an ode to Maria Hofker-Rueter, the Dutch artist who was born in 1902 in Sloten near Amsterdam (not the Sloten in the north of the country where we are from!). She’s a woman who’s book Treasures from my Garden has really inspired me. Early each spring I take her book from the shelves, to read her texts and enjoy her subtle watercolours and the photographs of her beautiful garden.
Maria grew up in an artistic family. Her grandfather, father, brother and sister all painted and sculpted, whilst her mum provided a cosy atmosphere in the family home. She decorated the home with beautiful objects, and her garden provided the home with fresh bouquets. It was a very inviting and welcoming home, so many would find their way to it.
Maria also married a painter: her husband Wim Hofker painted portraits and landscapes, among other things. In his work Maria was able to “aid him under all circumstances”. But the desire to paint and draw herself was “sleeping and waiting in me”. She looked at the world around her as an artist.
The couple lived in an upstairs apartment in Amsterdam, where Maria created a beautiful artistic atmosphere. The only drawback was that they didn’t have a garden. When an allotment plot became available Maria couldn’t be happier. Every day she’d go to the garden, which she transformed from a patch of grass into a world of colour and shapes. It was here where she made most of her watercolours. It was her goal to show beautiful things that others could draw strength and inspiration from. I think that she managed that!
In the last years of Maria’s life she was assisted by a younger friend who helped her on the garden. She continued work on the garden after Maria passed away in 1999. In 2015, the garden was opened to the public. This way, the beautiful things that she created literally live on, and can be enjoyed by others too.
Geertruida & Sietske
P.S.: the pictures in this blogpost are all of our own garden. For pictures of Maria’s garden, please visit her website
https://mariahofkerrueter.wordpress.com/ (Dutch only).