Piet Oudolf’s garden is a 1.5 acres perennial meadow behind Hauser & Wirth art gallery. The garden contains over 26,000 herbaceous perennials set out in beautifully organic shaped borders planted in wonderful colours. I went in late September, the grasses and late flowering perennials were the star plants but the colour was still wonderful and the movement in the garden was spectacular. The colours blend so well with the landscape in the distance.
I really loved this garden, three plant combinations which particularly struck me: Succisa pratensis, Anemone x hybrid ‘Honorine Jobert’ with Molinia ‘Transparent’ in the background. The blue of the Succisa is such a vivid colour in the crystal-clear light peculiar to early autumn. The airy wands of small blue buttons (which remind me of dolly mixture sweets) flowers from August to October. Piet Oudolf is such a magnificent plants person; he combines plants that will flower together at the same time and complement one another brilliantly. Note: all these plants like some moisture in the soil to grow well.
The next combination I thought worked wonderfully together was Penstamon digitalis ‘Huskers Red’, Selinum ‘Wallichianum’ and Panicum ‘Shenandoah’. The Penstamon had actually finished flowering but Piet Oudolf uses the seed heads to pick up the red in the Panicum and the different shapes of the plants with the Selinum umbel finishing off this planting trio – just wonderful. Piet Oudolf believes in the beauty and worth of the whole cycle of plant life. Note: don’t be too quick to cut back your plants in the autumn; frost on perennials can look spectacular.
Piet Oudolf also uses repetition in his planting in this case the Aster ’ Little Carlow’ and the Panicum ‘Shenandoah’ are repeated in the opposite border which draws your eye automatically from one bed to another a clever trick. Again, these plants like a soil with some moisture and the Aster will flower from August until October. It also doesn’t spread which some asters are inclined to.
The Cloisters garden links the grade II listed farm house with the new art gallery. The planting here is mainly grasses with a number of key perennials repeated through the planting to give colour throughout the year with a Louise Bourgeois’s spider at the centre of the courtyard. The grasses that Piet Oudolf uses in this area are Molinia moorhexe, Sesleria autumnalis and Deshampsia goldtau they combine so well with the sculpture and the buildings surrounding the garden. It has to look wonderful from 360 degrees.
I am a qualified garden designer with a keen interest in contemporary, natural and traditional gardens. You can find me on Twitter of like my Facebook page where you will find lots of tips related to gardening.