In late June I traveled back to Europe for what turned out to be one of the most inspiring experiences of my professional career. My trip centered around a Gardens Illustrated tour of the Northern Dutch Provinces, lead by Noel Kingsbury and his dynamic wife, Jo Eliot.
The tour began with a day-long planting design workshop at Piet & Anja Oudolf’s home and private garden in Hummelo. About twenty-five designers and avid gardeners from around the world attended the workshop (the first of its kind). We traveled on together for the next six days where we explored gardens and talked plants. It was quite special, connecting with people who share a passion for naturalism in planting design, in a part of the world where the style was perfected.
I arrived a couple of days early to take in Hermannshof, a botanical garden in nearby Weinheim, Germany and to have a day in the Oudolf’s garden without distraction. The two photos sets below document the pre-tour experience.
Hermannshof is a place to see successful examples of new directions in planting design, especially in naturalistic planting style. The plant combinations are inspired by plant societies in nature.
Cassian Schmidt leads the Hermannshof’s team with the following objectives: (1) investigating the competitive relationships between plants with different growth and site conditions, (2) design of plant combinations that are of high aesthetic appeal because of harmony and contrast of colors and shapes, (3) the establishment of permanent plantings with a low maintenance and a long-lasting appeal.
The Oudolf’s garden never disappoints! This visit was extra special though. I had not experienced the garden in summer, only fall. The light was nearly perfect. Grasses, like Deschampsia, Sporobolus and Panicum give the fall garden a specific ethereal feeling. In summer, however, before the grasses bloom or are at an early stage of bloom, the underlying perennial structure is more evident. I spent close to 8-hours documenting this sophisticated tapestry of intermingled plants. Piet’s work is living art!
Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury’s new book is Planting: A New Perspective and speaks to the art of intermingling plants.
My next post in this series will include photos from the Gardens Illustrated tour.
Adam Woodruff (www.adamwoodruff.com)
OUDOLF GARDENS IN SWEDEN (PART II)
Wednesday, I visited one of Piet Oudolf’s early public commissions. Drömparken (Dream Park) is located in Enköping, a 45 minute train ride from central Stockholm. The garden was originally laid out in 1996 and enlarged in 2002/2003. Paths meander through large panels of perennials- 220 varieties. Tall, clipped beech hedges punctuate garden and provide architectural interest. A blending of three Salvia varieties creates a river-like effect as it flows from the center of the garden to the water’s edge (an innovation we see used to great effect in Oudolf’s later work at the Lurie Garden).
OUDOLF GARDENS IN SWEDEN (PART I)
On Tuesday, I visited Skärholmen, a suburb of Stockholm where Piet Oudolf designed a small public park. Perennpark (perennial park) is located in the heart of residential apartment complex, just a short walk from the city center. The park consists of a stylized meadow, seating areas and unique water feature. It is a popular thoroughfare for pedestrians and bicycle traffic.
In 2008, I designed a naturalistic landscape for a client’s residential property in rural central Illinois. A 15,000 square foot garden now envelops the home and compliments the beautiful pastoral setting. The house is sited on a natural ridge with views of grassland and timber. Substantial grading was required to create level planting areas around the house and existing pool. Perennials and natives were woven through a grassy matrix to create a visually dynamic display. The design successfully blurs the junction of the wild and the domestic to provide four seasons of interest for my client’s enjoyment. (Note: the images above were captured the week of June 10, 2013. More images- http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamwoodruff/sets/72157634076440052/).
GARDEN FOR A STYLE ICON
Last week, I was in London for the Chelsea Flower Show and a Gardens Illustrated lecture featuring Piet Oudolf & Jinny Blom. Piet has a new garden in Paris that I’ve been dying to see. Since we were so close, we hopped on the Chunnel to check it out.
Oudolf’s garden is a forward to the No. 5 Culture Chanel Exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo. It is “a poetic evocation of the emblematic fragrance by Gabrielle Chanel”, and will remain a permanent feature at the museum when the exhibit closes.
The 440 square meter garden is found on two levels at the northwest corner of the museum. The street level garden is visible from Avenue du Président Wilson. Access to the exhibit is through the intimate lower level garden found at the intersection of Rue Fresnel & Rue de la Manutention.
There is a soft femininity to the highly textured garden, heightened in contrast by the surrounding hardscape. No doubt deliberate on Oudolf’s part, as Chanel played with masculine and feminine in her work.
The garden was just installed in April, yet already appears quite full. At least seventy-seven different varieties of plants, many fragrant, are woven together to create a rich sensory experience.
SUMMARY & REVIEW- by Adam Woodruff
Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury’s highly anticipated new book, Planting: A New Perspective will be released toward the end of March.
The authors explore planting design for the twenty-first century. Specifically, the new, emerging planting design based on… [read more]
I visited NYC last week, for the first time. APLD’s President Elect, Susan Cohan was my awesome tour guide. I was in town for two specific lectures. My friend, plantsman and designer Roy Diblik presented at Plant-O-Rama and seven-time Chelsea Flower Show gold medalist Tom Stuart-Smith spoke to a packed house at the NY Botanical Garden. Another reason for my trip was a long overdue visit to The High Line- Piet Oudolf and James Corner’s sensational elevated park in Manhattan. I’ve included a few photos for your inspiration- for the complete Flickr album follow the link.
I’m very fond of the retaining wall that surrounds this Marblehead, MA home. It is composed of large vertically set stone slabs with smaller stones placed horizontally to fill the gaps.