‘You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes – nature or the longing for nature. ‘ Allowing the garden to decompose , he added, meets an emotional need in people ‘you accept death. You don’t take the plants out, because they still look good. And brown is also a color.’ “
A statement of Landscape and planting designer Piet Oudolf in the New York Times, January 31, 2008. It describes his fascination with the beauty of some dead plants still make a big impression in the garden with their structure and seed heads in the fall or winter. One of the key principles in its design is that a garden should offer anything what fascinates people all year.
The private garden of the Oudolfs in Hummelo (from 1982) is the laboratory for the many ideas of Piet. The garden has actually the function of showroom where he likes to invite his clients.
The garden Hummelo has undergone many changes in its history, removing the imposing yew hedges that made the structure at the back end of the garden was the most profound.
On many pictures of the garden these hedges can be seen, they were a true icon in the garden which had also suffered from the high water on the spot and some flooding. In 2011, Piet decided that the hedges, who were slowly dying in the meantime, had to be removed and not replaced.
The hedges that surround the garden are currently the only architectural element and give the garden an enclosed effect. Many of the plants in the garden are choosen for late summer to bloom, where such plants, Verbascum, Helenium, Astilbe, Echinops, Eryngium and Stachys provide the structure.
Piet Oudolf uses ‘filler plants’, these are often shapeless plants that fill spaces between the structure plants and bring color to the garden. In the garden at Hummelo this plants are for example, Geranium, Potentilla, Geum, Nepeta and Saponaria.
Pictures with kind permission of garden designer Karen Bertram.