Piet’s weed

Piet Oudolf's private garden in Hummelo (the Netherlands)

Piet Oudolf's private garden in Hummelo (the Netherlands)

It finally arrived. ‘Landscapes in Landscapes‘ by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury. I’ve been waiting for it for months: it has been released at the end of may and then I’ve ordered on Amazone US. The book runs through Oudolf’s most significant projects from present and past. Summary descriptions and loads of stunning pictures. It is structured as you start from small area projects and goes on wider and wider projects. ‘Il giardino delle vergini’ at the Venice biennale 2010, ‘The battery’, ‘The high line’, RHS garden at Wisley are a few examples that I now can remember. The funny thing is they published the original drawings too. Some of them look like a modern art painting. I really enjoyed this book.

I took the pictures in this post in 2009, when we went to Hummelo and visit Oudolf’s private garden (open to public) and the nursery tended by Mrs. Anja Oudolf, now retired.

The Oudolfs' front garden

The Oudolfs' front garden

I’ve read they ripped out the original waves-hedge recently, apparently for waterlogging issues, as for my box hedge last winter. Anja Oudolf retired and they closed the nursery which was behind their house.

Eryngium giganteum mingles with Sporobolus heterolepsis sweet scented flowers

Eryngium giganteum mingles with Sporobolus heterolepsis sweet scented flowers

Apparently they are now re-thinking all the area previously intended for the nursery and I’m very curious to see what they’re up to this time. I think Piet Oudolf is really an artist, before he is a landscape designer or architect or whatever. His works are amazing and very significant, when you happen to walk in a place designed by Oudolf you really feel inside an artwork. Now I don’t know what kind of weeds are handled at the Oudolfs but surely it’s good stuff for inspiration: God bless Amsterdam!

Echinops bannaticus against deschampsia caespitosa 'Goldtau'

Echinops bannaticus against deschampsia caespitosa 'Goldtau'





Breaking news on the stab-lab: the guys were right, they came and go and the raw floor is done. The house is slowly but inexorably going on. I see the light… I see the light at the bottom of the tunnel!

brand new floor for the stab-lab

brand new floor for the stab-lab






13 thoughts on “Piet’s weed

  1. But how could they remove the hedge?? It looks like the contrast with the soft naturalness of the other plantings. Your garden will be better.

    The floor looks terrific! But I do think “stab-lab” is a bit maybe goth sounding and scary suggesting lots of cold metal tables and sharp implements….yikes.

    And speaking of knives I will go start the cutting so it’s ready by wine pressing time.

    • Linnie, I didn’t call it slaughterroom… Anyway stablab’s failed. Let’s wait and see what will come up.
      I’ve put a link on the removing of the Oudolfs’ hedge. Apparently that part of the garden has been flooded or anyway waterlogged last winter and (as I learned with mine…) box doesn’t like waterlogging. I kept my dying box hedge with the hope of revival, evidently Oudolf didn’t bother removing an unshowy hedge on the garden he uses as a “business card” and I agree with him. I’m sure there will be a new brilliant addition set against the softness of those grasses.

      Ah! And yeah, my garden will be better than his… he will pay to see cà rossa but don’t bother I’m gonna be your friend even when fame will overwhelm me!

      • OK I understand and forgive the hedge. But I am inspired to shape my boxwoods now (Chris at Levens Hall and now Piet’s hedge loss) so I will be working on THAT. And I am reassured that you won’t forget that I knew you back when, and that you will autograph my copies of the books you write about cà rossa.

  2. Hi Alberto and thanks for the Hummelo pix. I occasionally get to Amsterdam, so next time I’ll try and make time to go out and visit. I don’t think it’s my style of gardening, but I’m always in search of ideas. If I go, I’ll give you some feedback.
    I can’t think why you and Linnie like box….it smells of cat pee. Just because you can cut it into pretty shapes is no excuse!

    • What about viburnum tinus then? When it rains it smells like the feet of a cat dead while peeing on a box. But I like it anyway. Thaks for leaving a message. I’m looking forward to seeing updates about Hummelo.

      • This is for kininvie’s terrible remark above about boxwood. I keep READING this places, this idea that box has some parallel with cat pee. (Have you ever HAD a cat kininvie?)

        I associate boxwood hedges with memories of my grandma’s house when I was little, and everything about her house and gardens was so wonderful, including the hedges! I should maybe send out sugar cookies from her recipe and you could eat them while walking by some hedge and maybe you wouldn’t think of cats…But her hedges were all square. Do you think I could snip a little this time of year Alberto? ps.– Trying to comprehend Twitter– are you on there?

        • On there? Twitter isn’t very popular around here, and if it was I wouldn’t be around it then.
          Just a little word about box: italian gardens are mostly made of it, its very particular smell can touch the strings of very sweet memories of my childhood.
          How many cats did your grandma have by the way??

          And girls I can’t carry on keeping this secret: Piet Oudolf’s hedge… it wasn’t box… it was yew. My mistake. I didn’t realize you could have pulled out such an argument from box…

  3. Alberto, Twitter is IN your computer. Lots of people, tiny, in the box. International. Silly but peculiar. I’ll let you know how I do, it seems kinda fun but takes getting used to.

    Yew? It was yew? That’s different. Thank goodness it wasn’t box. But I bet box wouldn’t have died. Or maybe it would have. Anyway my grandmother did NOT have cats but she grew flowers and fruit trees and had a lawn swing and she was a seamtress and sewed clothes for my doll. And she had a cool basement.

    I’m glad you have memories of the NICE boxwood fragrance too. It always reminds me of being about five years old– and now that I’m seven it is nice to look back. ps-kininvie and I are great friends, boxwood or no boxwood.

    • I was confused because at a glance you (well I) can see yew for box and vice versa, plus I lost two yew pillar last winter as well as part of my box hedge because of waterlogging. I wasn’t serious about the argument with kininvie, I seldom am..

      Do you really think my mac is full of tiny silly funny bloody people?! I think you’re a 7 yo little liar.

      PS: I assume that blonde middle aged lady you have on the picture hugging Max is your Grandma?? How sweet.

    • Great Uncle Hamish had strong opinions about box, but his much put-upon wife continued to nurture it. It didn’t do well for her because of the salt-laden winds which howl around Castle Tavish. I’ve no doubt you’ll hear more when I get round to a post on hedging….

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