More Grasses less Grass

6 February 2015

42 days, 4 hours and roughly 12 minutes till Spring. This winter has me counting down every second and day dreaming of springtime gardens.

I first learned about world renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf after reading about the perennial gardens he designed for the Hauser & Wirth art center in Somerset, England. You may recognize his handiwork at the High Line in New York City and the Lurie Garden in Chicago. Lurie Garden is actually a the largest green rooftop garden in the world built on top of a parking garage.

Piet Oudolf is the leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement, using herbaceous perennials and grasses planted in drifts to create a more naturalistic look.  And by grasses, I mean the tall hairy looking grasses that sway in the wind, not the tight short grass you mow.

Ouldolf’s style is wild and unruly, it’s planned with purpose but looks a little undone. He says, “a garden should be monitored and maintained but also have a balance between control and no control.”  Just like life.

I’ve just ordered Piet Oudolf’s most recent book, Planting: A New Perspectiveand will be taking notes to plant my own garden…. as soon as this ice melts. Until then, join the Spring countdown with me and enjoy a few photos of Ouldolf’s sketches and gardens.

Piet Oudolf plants as an artist paints.

Oudolf's handdrawn designs for the Hauser & Wirth garden. Every diffent color reprsents a diferent plant.

Oudolf’s hand drawn designs for the Hauser & Wirth garden. Every different color represents a different plant.

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A detailed sketch of the lower section. All photos of the plans are from Piet Oudolf, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, photo by Alex Delfanne.

Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Hauser & Wirth Somerset

For more photos of the garden, the incredible farmhouse and rest of the property of Hauser & Wirth visit their website.

The Lurie Garden in Chicago is built on the largest green roof in the world, and contains 35,000 perennials and 120,000 bulbs.

The Lurie Garden contains 35,000 perennials and 120,000 bulbs.

See the similarities between the Highline and Lurie?

See the similarities between the Highline and Lurie?

view of one of my favorite museums in the world, The Art Institute of Chicago.

View of one of my favorite museums in the world, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Maximillian park

Maximilian park (still investigating what is happening in the right hand side of this photograph, I will report back.)

Is this real life? Maximillian Park in Germany. (The featured image is also of this masterpiece.) More photos can be found on Oudolf's website.

Is this real life? Maximilian Park in Germany. (The featured image is also of this masterpiece.) More photos can be found on Oudolf’s website.

Piet Oudolf himself, thanks for all the beauty you put into the world. (Kinda has that handsome-mad-scientist-thing, going on, amiright?)

Piet Oudolf himself, thanks for all the beauty you put into the world. (Kinda has that handsome-mad-scientist-thing, going on, amiright?)

If you’re interested here’s a great list of perennial plants from Colorado State University. A few species found at the The High Line include: Sicilian honey garlic, rudbeckia, coneflowers, joe-pye weed, and ‘Shenandoah’ red switchgrass.

  • tim

    Love a garden whether it be vegetables or flowers! They soothe and feed the soul and Zen the spirit. No pun intended but it takes me to my roots too!

    • jess arb

      You’ll have to help me with the garden when all the ice melts!

  • Nicola Oakey

    Hey,

    Thanks for linking my blog post about Hauser & Wirth.

    You’ll love the book, it’s beautiful! 🙂

    Nicola
    http://www.workingplot.com

    • jess arb

      Your blog is incredibly inspirational Nicola. Thank you for allowing me to credit you!