Cultured Magazine

Fall 2014

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Page 140 of 215

t is becoming increasingly reductive to call Piet Oudolf a garden designer. With last month's unveiling of his recent commission, a 1.5-acre garden installation at Durslade Farmhouse at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, the time has come to say Oudolf is indeed an artist. The Dutchman formally trained as an architect, but nature lured him into a career devoted to the definition and manipulation of space (and emotion) through planting. Multiple layers of form and texture combine to create Oudolf's garden tableaux with sensational year-round impact. "I know my clients come to me specifically for my type of garden—good structure and good planting including many grasses," he says. Grasses create a diaphanous textural contrast that echoes the wildflower meadows and plant communities that Oudolf keeps as a source of inspiration. Oudolf still works from the home he shares with his wife, Anja, in Hummelo, Netherlands. For decades, Anja ran the nursery, which was like a laboratory for Oudolf, who rigorously observed and crossbred plants in his pursuit of constancy in color, form and longevity. "Home is where I now experiment with the ever-increasing shift toward naturalism in my work," he says. The meadow that replaced the nursery signals a departure from Oudolf's more figurative compositions of the 1990s to horticultural abstraction, where the plants get to choose the hierarchy as much as the maestro himself. He sets nature in motion by knowing exactly what to sow. CULTURED 139 I Oudolf designed this garden in 2003 for a private residence by Piet Boon in the Netherlands. PHOTO COURTESY OF PIET OUDOLF

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