Saturday, September 22, 2012

First thoughts about Piet and Anja Oudolf's garden

I knew I'd like this garden, but I was overwhelmed. It was extraordinary. I couldn't believe how creative the juxtaposition of textures, shapes, and colors were, and the way senescing plants were part of it- amazing.
The Joe-Pye and Vernonia were in full flower and all of the grasses were in their glory, either golden or on their way.
I visited on a perfect morning, cool and fresh, with a bright clear light, and I'm glad that I hadn't made it late yesterday, so I was able to experience the garden with fresh eyes.
Anja was there to greet visitors, and when I said I was American, replied that Piet was currently at the High Line (it's on my list to visit).
The gardens encompass an old farm site with a modern house, with the former nursery area converted to a spectacular created/artistic meadow planting. The older garden in the front of their property had amazing complexity with texture and colors, confined by the formality of beech hedge and clipped yews, and the structure of the garden paths.
Needless to say, looking at my photos on an iPad just confirm what a wonderful garden that this is, but don't give me much scope to really look at the images I managed to capture. Sorting will need to wait until I'm at home again.
I'm so glad that I was able to experience a visit in person. The way that Oudolf designs with plants (a great many of them eastern and central North American natives, but not exclusively at all) definitely honors their qualities as plants going through their life cycle. I'm going to read his book on that subject again, written with Noel Kingsbury, when I get back home.
2-yr old planting on old nursery site
Grasses and Forbes with house in background
Joe-pye and other in front garden
Textural contrasts
There will be more thoughts as I reflect on this garden. What a great gift for them to open their private garden to visitors on weekends from August through fall, and in early summer.

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