Piet Oudolf’s planting designs for such high-profile projects as Chicago’s Lurie Garden in Millennium Park and New York’s High Line have created a definitive “new perennials” style that he describes as “romantic, nostalgic, not wild, organic, spontaneous” in an article in The Telegraph. His gardens can be recognized by their large sweeps or drifts of tall perennial varieties and more naturalized plant choices, which create blocks of color and texture that weave the eye through the garden. Veronicastrum, Sanguisorba, Cimicifuga, Miscanthus, Rudbeckia, and Eupatorium are several perennials that often populate his signature gardens.
At Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a new gallery and arts center in Southwest England that will open this July, Oudolf is further developing his style to include combination groups of perennials, grasses, and groundcovers in his stylistic development as a garden designer. Additional cultivars and variously scaled selections will be arranged in repeating clumps versus the usual expansive drifts.
Here is a nutshell-version of Oudolf’s planting design combinations for Hauser & Wirth Somerset:
- Meadow Garden: Sporobolus species and cultivars, Achillea ‘Feuerland,’ Echinacea pallida ‘Hula Dancer,’ Amsonia hubrichtii, Lythrum salicaria ‘Swift,’ and Sedum ‘Coral Reeves’
- Courtyard Garden: Molinia ‘Moorhexe,’ Seslaria autumnalis, Clematis heracleifolia ‘China Purple,’ Euphorbia griffithii ‘Dixter,’ Astrantia ‘Venice,’ Actaea ‘Brunette,’ and Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’
Though the garden will not be open until September, from July 15-November 2, 2014, one of the first exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, entitled “Open Field,” will feature Oudolf’s drawings:
“This exhibition showcases his planting designs, including maps and drawings which highlight the creative process behind his work. Shown together for the first time, these preparatory drawings reveal the artistic vision behind some of Oudolf’s most influential and innovative projects in the UK and further afield.
A leading figure in the New Perennial movement, Oudolf’s projects are characterised by a strong pictorial relationship to a garden’s composition and layout. Inspired by art, nature and time, Oudolf’s gardens are achieved through areas of naturalistic planting, using swathes of perennials and grasses combined with structured pathways, shrubs and trees. At the heart of Oudolf’s garden designs lies an intimate knowledge of plants, and careful consideration of how plants relate to one another and behave in different situations.”
“First Glimpse of Piet Oudolf’s New Garden in Somerset” by Tim Richardson – The Telegraph, 8/13/2013
“Hauser & Wirth Somerset…the Next Guggenheim?” by Sally Shalam – The Guardian, 3/21/2014
by Deirdre E. Toner, Affiliate ASLA, Planting Design PPN Chair