Piet Oudolf: Master of the Wild
The Dutch landscape designer, a leading figure in the new perennial movement. Is now the subject of a new documentary. He is changing how we think about horticulture.
“With the stress on our environment,” says Oudolf, “people want to be more related ton nature and come closer to the wild. It’s very much today that people are more conscious about what we do to nature.”
One might hardly believe that just a few meters above the bustling streets of New York City sits a natural oasis of calm and greenery. But sure enough, a walk on the High Line – the elevated walkway populated with hundreds of different plants species, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary – transports you to a place where the concretes, tarmacs and industrial structures of the big smoke seem to drift away behind a flourish of biodiversity.
The designer behind this meandering layout of natural landscape was the Dutch gardener Piet Oudolf – a man whose level of global influence and cultural relevance is rare for those of his profession. His vision of natural beauty has captured the imagination of architects, designers, urban planners, ecologists and horticulturalists around the world, who have called on his unique skills to bring the authentic essence of nature and green life into variety of spaces.
Oudolf is considered done of the leaders of the New Perennial movement – a creative horticultural wave that uses herbaceous perennials and grasses planted in tight, undulating formations, creating a feeling of the wild, to artistic and dreamlike effect. While an artista uses oil, a paintbrush and a canvas, it is tres, lawns, flowers and shrubs that make up the tolos of Oudolf’s craft. Londoners may have seen his handiwork at the gardens of the Serpentine Gallery, while those in Chicago might have wandered through his Lurie Garden in the Millenium Park. Closer to home, Oudolf designed a classically inspired garden for the Voorlinden art museum in Wassernaar, Holland.
To read the full article, get your copy of SHA Magazine here.