Piet Oudolf's Garden

An autumn visit to the Dutch designer's garden at Hummelo

Since 1982 Piet Oudolf has been developing his own garden at Hummelo, 75 miles east of Amsterdam. Oudolf gardens are often designed to peak at the end of summer, but Piet is as interested in the way that plants die, always choosing plants that are going to add value in autumn and winter. November is a wonderful time to see his own garden, when a low sun can light up the sea of plants in infinite shades of gold, bronze and coppery brown as the garden settles slowly into dormancy. The form of the plants is laid bare as everything starts to fade: soft arching sprays of panicums or pennistums, spiny eryngium, bulbous black baptisia seedheads, tall spears of veratrum or delicate fennel umbels. It’s true they have limited time left to shine, but they are all beautiful in their way, and it is this sense of detailed, almost loving appreciation of perennials throughout their lifecycle that is at the heart of Piet’s ethos. 

To see the full version of my article in House & Garden with photos by Andrew Montgomery, click here.