Friday, February 01, 2008

More Piet Oudolf

August garden beds: My take on the Oudolf style

There a good article over at the New York Times about Piet Oudolf. The writer tours his Hummelo garden in winter and notes his love of the look of perennials that have died away - the shapes and forms of seedheads and dried foliage.

This quote from the article is good summing up of Oudolf's garden style:
"He's gotten away from the soft pornography of the flower," said Charles Waldheim, the director of the landscape architecture program at the University of Toronto. "He's interested in the life cycle, how plant material ages over the course of the year," and how it relates to the plants around it. Like a good marriage, his compositions must work well together as its members age.

Oudolf is quoted, saying:
"When I started, 35 years ago, everything was focused on the traditional English garden. It was all flower and color. It was dogmatic — deadheading, staking. I got a bit tired of that."

The lack of fussiness, tossing out high maintenance deadheading and staking, combining grasses with naturalistic perennials - these are all the qualities that drew me to his style, which happens to be tailor-made for country gardens.

I once had the pleasure of interviewing Piet Oudolf for an article in Gardening Life magazine. This page on at my web site is an adaptation of that article.

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Wow, I see his influence in your garden, and you've made a really beautiful setting. How long have you had this meadow garden?

  2. Hi Pam: We've been working on our property for ten years. The beds you see in the picture here were started nine years ago.

    Some of the perennials we even started from seed. What can I say? We were a decade younger then!

    Cheers, Yvonne

  3. Wow, this is gorgeous! I just want to sit on a bench with some hot coffee and watch the wind blow the grasses around. I love how it looks like it just sprung up naturally, but I'm sure that it must have been a lot of work!

  4. I love this. It is what I want in my dream garden. I just wrote about the inspiration I drew from Piet Oudolf's Battery Park Gardens for a small border in my yard, but it's nothing comparied to what you have done.

    Thank you for sharing. I am adding a link to this blog post for future reference.

    -Heirloom Gardener

  5. That looks lovely and does resemble quite closely Piet's style. I have seen Piet's private garden (and nursery) for real. Not so difficult for me to do as I live in the Netherlands. :-) Last year I saw a garden in Rotterdam he designed. It was a small garden, smack in the middle of a big city but it was lovely and very much Piet's.

    I'm now off to read that article of yours about Piet. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Beautiful garden. I'd love to see a winter photo of the same area since one of the hallmarks of the Oudolf style is the garden's appearance in winter. Mine was hit by early ice storms this year, and many of the plants were flattened, except for the grasses. What's the effect in BC?


Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener