My love affair with Piet Oudolf

I don’t remember when I discovered Piet Oudolf, or how. I do know it took me at least two years to learn his name is pronounced Pete OW-dawlf. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to visit any of the gardens he’s designed and made. Until I do, I can only wear out the pages of his books and search for photos of his work online. His garden-making philosophy resonates. The photos of his gardens stop my heart.

I don’t like the term bucket list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have one. Top of my list is a Piet Oudolf garden tour. I’ll start in June (not this year, but soon), when the salvia river at the Lurie Garden in Chicago is in bloom. From there I’ll fly to New York to see The Gardens of Remembrance at The Battery and stroll The High Line. Next, on to the UK, where Oudolf has designed at least six public gardens. Two in particular call my name: Pensthorpe, in Norfolk, and Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire, where my grandmother used to spend time when she was young. In my wildest dreams (it’s a private garden and I don’t think the owners offer tours), I would visit this garden in West Cork, Ireland.

Of the many Oudolf-made gardens on the European continent, I’d love to see the Dream Park in Enköping, Sweden. My tour would end, as any good pilgrimage should, at the feet of the master: Oudolf’s home garden of Hummelo in The Netherlands.

From Thomas Rainer at Grounded Design today, news of a documentary in the works by Tom Piper called Piet Oudolf: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. As Rainer writes, “the great thing about capturing Oudolf’s work on film is that cinematography can create the experience of being present in the gardens.”

“The great thing about capturing Oudolf’s work on film is that cinematography can create the experience of being present in the gardens.”  ~ Thomas Rainer

Thank you, Tom Piper, for making the documentary. The full-length version can’t come soon enough! And thank you, Thomas Rainer, for sharing the news. Until I can make my Oudolf tour a reality, this 4-minute video teaser on Vimeo lets me experience the pleasure of being present with Piet Oudolf in his garden.

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