Summer days seem long gone on Autumnal Mondays like today when my garden has been dull, wet and windy. The leaves have been falling off the trees at a great rate and the bare bones of the garden are starting to appear once again. Ah… but do I have a summer treat for you that I have kept back especially for a day like today…
A huge smile came to my face as I looked through my holiday photos of our visit to The Millennium Garden at Pensthorpe in Norfolk, England. This visit was made all the more special as we had visited Pensthorpe for the wildlife and huge fan of the Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf that I am I had no idea he had designed a garden there! On checking my link for him I see his website now shows images of this garden and some others too.
I was like a girl looking through the sweet shop window as the shop was about to close when we discovered this garden - we were about to leave for the day. I was standing in front of the entrance gate! Nope… I just couldn’t rush this garden. So, with such anticipation in my heart I turned around and walked away to return again a few days later.
Piet designs in a naturalistic way with grasses and huge drifts of the same plant or colour – oh if I only had a spare field! Most would probably say that the pictures I have shown here are not this garden at its best but that now is the best time to see it with its seed heads, dry grasses and cobwebs. That is definitely what I would have thought too looking through the books on my bookshelf. I wasn’t expecting to be blown away with his bold use of colour too.
I absolutely adore his use of form and shape in his plantings like the spires used in the photo above. They are repeated again and again weaving their way into the distance. Walking through the different heights and blocks of colours is just quite magical.
Mixing foliage textures in his planting even in areas with less ornamental grass ratio absolutely captivates me. Much of this can be scaled down and work in our own gardens. I always play around changing my plantings anyway but oh… to have a field.
Large block plantings of water lilies in the pond and lush foliage with dots of strong colour around it looked fantastic especially with the almost black foliage plants almost mirroring the surface of the water. Oh… I’ll stop chattering on for a moment and let you look in peace at a few more views from this wonderful garden.
This last selection of photos will wake you up with a start if this garden has made you a little dreamy! This is mid July colour and what a riot it is too. What an absolutely fantastic contrast to the huge weaving blocks of dusky flowing ornamental grasses. The red monarda was the plant that really caught my attention.
I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share my garden visit with any Piet fans reading this. I know I have thoroughly enjoyed my visits (through blogs) to other Piet gardens including his own private one – thanks Yolanda.
If you are new to Piet’s style of gardening I hope that you too have enjoyed this tour. If you want to read/browse some of his books - my bookshelf proudly holds the list of books below. Ah… and if you are looking at plants and plans for your own garden next year I hope this gives you some inspiration.
Dream Plants for the Natural Garden by Henk Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf.
Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury.
Planting a Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen.
Gardening with Grasses by Michael King and Piet Oudolf.
Oh… but wait a minute this garden style celebrates movement in the garden. Okay, you’ve twisted my arm… here’s some video of the garden too. Unfortunately moving the camera on plants that are already moving makes for less than perfect resolution after processing. However, the photos above in no way show the scale of planting in this garden or the true height of the plants.
Watch out for the few people I caught walking around the garden with me as they will scale the garden for you. I really hope you will enjoy the walk too.
Finally, I do have one more posting to come from my visit to Pensthorpe which will be on the birds. Sorry, I'll have to keep you waiting a little longer for that one.
The video and photos above were all taken on July 22nd 2008.