The Gardens of Piet Oudolf
By John Brennan, 02/05/2019
Continuing our look at garden designers from around the world...today we're looking at Piet Oudolf.
He's is a garden designer many people will be familiar with, he loves to plant vast swathes of perennials in a ‘prairie’ style, and if you don’t know the dutch designer and his gardens you have probably seen planting schemes in British cities that have been influenced by his style.
His naturalistic, perennial meadow style exerts such an influence that you now see it in local pocket parks, on roundabouts and in amenity schemes all over the place. Not long ago, the dominant amenity planting style was seasonal bedding, petunias, pelargoniums and pansies – brightly coloured, but sterile, devoid of wildlife and lacking spontaneity.
The New Perennial Movement, of which Oudolf is often seen as the figurehead, changed all that, with herbaceous plantings and meadows made up of robust perennials and grasses.
He uses a sophisticated palette of plants that are chosen for the rhythm they create over the seasons; they have to look as good in decay as they do in the first unfurling of spring.
Many current garden designers even if they’re not aware of where this move towards perennial meadows has come from, have adopted this way of planting their gardens as it’s gained in popularity.
And as Piet Oudolf himself says
“England was the first country to appreciate my work and my approach to gardening”
If you’re interested in seeing some of his planting schemes in the UK you could visit Scampston Hall, RHS Wisley and Trentham Gardens, they all showcase some of his complex, highly naturalistic schemes.