Oudolf Garden and Design Work

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Nan’s recent post on the outstanding French garden, Le Jardin Plume, inspired me to flip back through my collection of back issues of Gardens Illustrated. Besides being a pleasure in itself, it reminded me of a particularly good issue from June 2008, which features a beautiful article on Piet Oudolf’s private garden, Hummelo.For so many of us, Oudolf has become a beacon of light and a designer of uncharted territories in the gardening world. He has received a great amount of publicity about his own garden and those that he has designed, both private and public. In the U.S., his work at Millennium Park in Chicago and The Battery Conservancy in New York City has left an indelible mark on how we perceive public gardening space: as not only inspirational but with a strong emphasis on plant selection.

On his website, you can see tons of pictures of his private garden and the projects he has designed. For more viewing enjoyment, check out his books; I use several of them continually as inspiration and resources.

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at www.fransorin.com.

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Fran Sorin
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Steve Silk December 6, 2008, 9:12 am

Fran-I too admire Piet Oudolf’s style, and hope to get some inspiration closer to home next season. The New York Botanical Garden is planning a Dutch double whammy next year. They’ve commissioned Piet Oudolf and bulb impressario Jacqueline van der Kloet to design their two Seasonal Walk borders. One border is nearly 200 feet long, the other almost 100. Thousands of perennials and something like 25,000 bulbs (spring and summer) should ensure quite a display.

That is great, great news!! I can only imagine how magnificent it is going to be…..when is the completion date for the gardens? Fran

Adam Woodruff December 6, 2008, 5:41 pm

Oudolf’s planting scheme for the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago is a source of inspiration when I am stumped on perennial design. He seamlessly weaves plants together to create gardens even ‘Nature’ would envy!

Thanks for your comments. You’re lucky that you live close enough to be able to visit the Lurie Garden whenever you feel you need to. I checked out your blog…and the design/plantings you did for the bank are just beautiful. Kudos to you. Fran

Frances December 8, 2008, 8:52 am

Hi Fran, I am a convert to Piet’s way of doing things too and have visited his website and many others to try and absorb some of that genius by osmosis. I have a question though, when do we cut this stuff down? The new grassy growth is showing already on some things, it will be difficult to not cut the new growth with the old now. Does that matter? Sorry for a question that doesn’t really pertain to your post, but thought you might know.

Am always glad to hear that yet another gardener is turned on by Oudolf. My suggestion is not to cut down the ornamental grasses and alot of the perennials until early spring. First, the silhouettes of the perennial stalks and the grasses blowing in the breeze are beautiful. And secondly, they act as a refuge for birds and insects as well as food sources. Fran

Steve Silk December 8, 2008, 2:43 pm

Fran-When I was at NYBG a few weeks back, it looked as if most, if not all, of the perennials had been planted. Not sure about the bulbs. The show should start this coming spring. I’m planning to make a first visit around tulip time.

That’s great news. It should be pretty thrilling. Haven’t been able to find anything about it yet on NYBG’s website. Perhaps they’re waiting until after the first year. Between NYBG and The Battery Conservancy, NYC is becoming ‘Oudolfized’. Fran

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