Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Cool Morning Trip With Piet Oudolf

It is probably my fifth time going through Piet Oudolf's book Designing With Plants, and each time I find the philosophy overwhelming but I am determined to master it.  I read it all the way up to Wisconsin and even fielded questions from my husband on what it meant to have a plan that didn't look like a plan.

I have tried Dianthus Firewitch at my home with no luck.  It does just great in Wisconsin, don't know why because the temps are not that different but the air sure is, very little pollution and cooler evenings.

Roy Diblik who is part owner of Northwind Perennial Farm has worked with Piet Oudolf on the Lurie Gardens in Chicago's Millennium Park.  Northwind is located in Burlington, Wisconsin which is very close to my Wisconsin home.  I have frequented Northwind many times over the years and have said before that it is the birthplace of Panicum Northwind grass, one of my favorites.  Roy does not have a degree in horticulture and grew up on a small lot in Berwyn, Illinois but he has become one of the most influential plantsman in recent history. 

Nepeta Walker's Low does great up here no splitting in the middle like mine back home in the alley garden.

I cut down Coreopsis Zagreb a few inches so that it will spread and become more bush like, more blooms.

One of the questions my husband asked was could I duplicate a Piet Oudolf garden in my small space.  I had to think about this and stated that I could definitely use his philosophy regarding repeating plants in color, form, structure and mood rather than duplicating the same plants throughout the garden. 

He did a much smaller garden at Midwest Groundcovers in St. Charles, Illinois (where I had a writers workshop in the fall) and it was very impressive.

This pathway leads up to the front door with boxwood, dianthus and daylilies.

The Knockout roses had gone crazy because we didn't come up in time to cut them back for the season.  With the unusually warm weather they had grown to five feet tall in every which way.  I had to make the hard decision to cut them back severely and possibly miss a first flush of flowers.  I did it and fertilized!

The Hidcote Lavender was very overgrown and I usually cut it back to new growth in early spring.  However, with my late arrival this year or should I say early spring this did not get accomplished.  Again, I decided to do it now!

Sedum Autumn Joy has taken over Salvia May Night, will need to move this.

Sedum Vera Jameson does great but there is one along this path that I have replaced twice, must find out what it going on in the soil.

Shasta Daisy Snowcap

This is an example of volcano mulching done by the landscaping company that takes care of the grounds.  The maple tree is stunted so there may also be a problem with the burlap and twine underneath the soil.  The University of Illinois recommends that the burlap be cut away along with the twine when a tree or shrub is planted.  Many times these products do not decompose as we are told by nurseries and landscaping companies.

Echinacea Magnus and White Swan do well in this climate.

All of the plants at this Wisconsin home require minimal amounts of water because we are not always there to take care of them.  Even the Knockout roses survive under these conditions.  I used to put in some annuals but have given up on this as they require more care than the perennials.

I won't be doing too much Piet Oudolf up north but I have incorporated some of his recommendations in regard to preferred perennials.  However, back home, I will work more with his philosophy rather than the planned garden look.


Mary Anne said...

Hi Eileen:

I think I share Piet's philosophy . . .I have a plan, but it doesn't look like a plan!! I look forward to your visit this week! (if we don't freeze!!)
Confirm time tomorrow.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen girl I think your style is just what this home needs for its garden.
A plan that doesn't look like a plan? .. yup .. that is sort of me too .. but is it recognizable? LOL
We have had snow .. it is dark, gray and white out there this morning .. so you could say this week has started off with a cold yawn ? LOL

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Mary Anne,

I am hoping each day that we don't have a freeze, so much up to damage. See you soon.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

I am really liking the idea of something that doesn't look so planned. I try to repeat plants somewhere in the garden, not necessarily in a row.


Beth said...

I enjoyed your post and seeing part of your other garden. You do keep very busy I am sure, and you have lots of beauty with your gardens.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Beth,

My other garden is pretty minimal but I do like to see some flowers when we go up there.



Looks like everything is doing really well. When I took the Master Gardener course 10 years ago (!) it was stressed that the balled and burlaped packaging should come off the tree/shrub before planting. Makes sense to me. I hope this tree survives.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I know Grace, this has been the recommendation for a long time. I just purchased some evergreens from a local nursery where he said I could leave the burlap and twine on the balls. I told him this was no longer recommended and he didn't look like he believed me!


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Eileen! I like that many of your perennials grow in big numbers. It means you'll have blooms in masses! Also, what gorgeous Bleeding Heart is on the top of your blog!!! By the way, in Russia, it is called Broken heart.

allan becker said...

It's reassuring that Knock Out Roses can withstand neglect.

Cottage Garden said...

I confess to not having seen any of Piet Oudolf's books, I shall have to seek him out at the library.

Always interesting to read about gardening methods across the pond Eileen and also mention of your Wisconsin garden too.


Jennifer said...

Hi Eileen,I only know only a little bit about Piet Oudolf. 'A plan that does not look like a plan' somehow makes perfect sense to me! The other day I happened across an online video of Piet Oudolf talking about some of the gardens he has done. He mentioned having gotten rid of stepped heights from short to tall in his borders. This is something I also try to avoid. Hopefully, I can find a book on his gardens at the library. I would like to learn more about his garden design philosophy.

Aerie-el said...

Looks like things are coming along very nicely! I hadn't heard the term 'volcano mulching' before. Very descriptive! Hope your tree survives.