Piet Oudolf garden

I have for years been lusting after the effects Piet Oudolf achieves. (For those ‘less in the know’: Oudolf is a Dutch garden designer and plantsman, the power behind what is loosely called the New Perennial Movement, and undoubtedly the most famous garden innovator in the world today.) I picked up a magazine with an article about one of his gardens and was struck – not for the first time – by how many of the effects he strives for are similar to what I do at Sequoia Gardens. It is essentially ‘natural looking’ with some formal structural elements, it respects the seasons and the plant in its seasons, and it tends to be too twiggy to make for good photography!


The two pics I use on my facebook pages illustrate what I mean. And also make me realise where I fall short. It is the old 20% of the effect takes 80% of the effort formula. It is Mercedes-Benz versus the best from China. I have achieved a great deal. To achieve to the next level will take more time, money and even energy than I think I can muster. And that leads to the next instalment of my tale… Here meanwhile (a tree-scale rather than a perennial-scale!) is a view taken on this damp winter’s morning, with some of our Liquidambar formosana still colouring beautifully when others have long passed their prime.

Wet July view s


5 thoughts on “TO GO FOR THE OU?

  1. Hi Jack. I’ve also been a big fan of Piet’s work since the first photo I saw. I think you do achieve some of the texture and scale he does but overall I think your work is often more formal and classically beautiful. But boy I love the textures, layers and colors he uses. Viva la difference?

  2. your garden is your own, your own particular style. With the framework of established trees – yours is quite unique. Now, I’m curious about the next chapter?

  3. I can definitely see the similarities, especially in the top photo from your Facebook page. I agree with Mark and Diana, though, that it is far better to modify Oudolf’s ideas into your own style than to try to copy it.

    • It’s not about copying so much as about using a wide range of well adapted and highly suitable material. I’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to finding and propagating them in variety!

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