Piet Oudolf

Border designed by Piet Oudolf at Scampston Hall, UK
photo credit: unknown

After seeing the film Five Seasons: the Gardens of Piet Oudolf, I’m ready to revamp my entire garden. His designs are heart-stoppingly beautiful, a perfection of form and texture.

Besides Battery Park, Chicago’s Lurie Garden, his own garden in the Netherlands, and countless landscapes in Europe, Oudolf is the mastermind behind New York City’s High Line, which I look forward to visiting in a few weeks. No matter how many times I’ve walked its length, it never fails to delight me.

Because Oudolf designs his landscapes to be enjoyable in all seasons, he gives precedence to shape, texture, and structure over color. Large drifts of plants billow and ebb in exquisite rhythm.

I particularly love what he said in the film about a garden being a promise of what’s to come. To Oudolf’s artist eye, the seed pod of a witch hazel is just as worthy of our gaze as the fluffiest of peony blossoms. He has a rare appreciation for all stages of a plant’s life cycle, including its decay and ultimate death. The ever-changing nature of a garden seems to me to epitomize what life is all about.