Fine Gardening magazine arrived today! I contributed a regional report, “Alternatives to problem plants”. My picks- European privet, Purple loosestrife and Cannas. Want to know my alternatives? Pick up a copy of Fine Gardening at newsstands today.
APLD’s re-designed and re-imagined quarterly publication, The Designer, launched Saturday. It is a free publication. I am proud to be a part of the magazine. My Jones Road garden is the backdrop for the table of contents and I’ve written an article on one of my favorite plants, prairie dock. Go to http://issuu.com/apld/docs/apldthedesignerspring2014
Proud to be a part of the re-designed and re-imagined Spring 2014 issue of The Designer, APLD’s quarterly, digital only magazine. It will launch on March 15th. Don’t miss out on great content. Get a free subscription http://bit.ly/1jZ3r3d
I LOVE YOU PIET
Last night I attended a reception at the Missouri History Museum for honorees of St. Louis At Home Magazine’s Architect & Designer Awards. It was a fun evening with friends and colleagues. I am thrilled to share that my Jones Road project was selected by a distinguished panel of national judges including: Barbara Barry, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Marlon Blackwell, Michael Boodro and Peter Pennoyer for First Place in the category of Residential Landscape Design Construction (half acre or more).
Piet Oudolf- A Documentary
Paul VanMeter of VIADUCTgreene, recently shared a Vimeo video on Facebook. It is a fundraising teaser for a feature-length documentary on Piet Oudolf and his work. Intrigued, I reached out to filmmaker Tom Piper to find out more. Below is Piper’s narrative explaining the project.
Fundraising will be broken into two phases- production and editing. At this time, Piper needs to raise roughly $100,000 by spring (March/April). The Checkerboard Film Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit institution. Please join me in supporting this important project.
Contributions can be sent to:
(Please note in a cover letter or the check memo that your funds are for the Piet Oudolf project).
All Rights Reserved
“For me, garden design isn’t just about plants, it is about emotion, atmosphere, a sense of contemplation. You try to move people with what you do.”
In any of the visual arts, how often does someone infiltrate popular consciousness? Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol… once in a generation? With the astounding success of New York’s High Line and Chicago’s Lurie Garden, Piet Oudolf is approaching a rarified level of name-recognition. Consider that his medium is gardening, and his celebrity is all the more remarkable. He is one of a very few to define gardening as an art.
This feature documentary will follow Piet and a number of his most important gardens across five seasons, capturing, in beautiful high-definition cinematography, all the aspects that make his designs so unique and revolutionary: painterly compositions featuring forgotten or unheralded plants; the celebration of a plant’s full life cycle including death; and the orchestration of these elements in gardens that evoke the emotional responses of being in the wild – and are, in fact, fantastically bio-diverse – but done so by meticulous design. The film will be a vital record of a profoundly important figure. But perhaps most importantly it will be an education in the creative process, and its important ecological implications. As Noel Kingsbury, garden critic and co-author of Piet’s many books, says, “I want to see a new generation of lots of Piet Oudolfs.”
“A garden isn’t a landscape painting that you look at but a dynamic process that’s always changing.”
Beginning over 30 years ago, Piet consciously moved away from a reliance on the flower, particularly it’s high maintenance – staking, deadheading, all the efforts to fix a design in time. His shift instead to concentrating on perennials allowed him to design gardens that accentuate change. Plants sprout, then bloom, then die, then decay, always with intention in the design. It is a high-wire act emblematic of his mastery – he’s working in the fourth dimension of time as well. Even his widespread use of grasses is motivated by both form and movement. Time is marked not just by seasons, but in minute shifts in weather, or breeze.
For some time now Piet has been the equivalent of a rock star among plant people in Europe, where his break from the dominating ideal of the manicured English garden toward a more ecologically driven, interwoven style – complex layers of plants that are described more by form than color – helped shepherd an entire movement called New Wave Planting by his followers. But his star has exploded lately with the success of a string of major public commissions in addition to the High Line and the Lurie Garden, including the Olympic Park in London; the Battery Gardens in New York City; and installations at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Serpentine Pavilion in London, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The High Line is now New York City’s number one tourist attraction. It was born of an extraordinary collaboration between equally visionary civic organizers, architects, and landscape designers. But what arguably defines the High Line experience for most visitors? Piet Oudolf’s singular responsibility: the planting.
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.”
Like any artist, profound knowledge lies at the root of his talent. James Corner, Landscape Architect of the High Line, says, “he’s like a really good chef. He knows his ingredients in a much deeper way than an amateur. He’s a master of the medium.” In 1982, Piet moved his family from the Dutch city of Haarlem to a rural farmhouse in Hummelo. He opened a nursery and dedicated himself to intense study of plants, and began hybridizing for specific uses. He has, himself, named over 70 new plants. His one-acre garden at Hummelo is a showcase. It has all the raw, brimming energy of a great painter’s studio.
“Gardening has traditionally been about decoration. I wanted to do more… layers, depth, complexity. It is a composition, but also a performance.”
The documentary will convey Piet Oudolf’s artistry with particular attention paid to the cinematography. Immersive camera work will emulate, to the nearest extent possible through any medium, the experience of being present in the gardens and, to an extent impossible through any other medium, the experience of all four seasons. The production will deploy specially designed long-term time-lapse photography systems in multiple gardens to poetically capture the signature dynamism of his designs: the change of whole gardens within days and overseasons. The visual splendor of the film should be breathtaking.
Importantly, the film will capture Piet at work and in his own words. We will see him designing and installing a major new garden for a contemporary art center in England, Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Intimate discussions with Piet will take place in his own gardens at Hummelo as well as on visits to his works in New York, Chicago, Nantucket Island, Germany, Sweden and Holland. The film will also document candid conversations between Piet and collaborators such as the garden writer Noel Kingsbury, the landscape ethicist Rick Darke, the Pritzker Prize winning architect Peter Zumthor, and artists Thomas Struth and Jeff Koons. Key interviews will include Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery; Christopher Woodward, Director of the Garden Museum in London; and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, the eminent landscape preservationist and former head of the Central Park Conservancy. Above all the film will be entertaining – a window into the mind and process of a true artist, working in a medium ideally suited to moving images.
“I want to work with plants that die beautifully. Brown is also a color.”
Filming has begun this fall, with an initial visit to Hummelo already recorded. Principal filming will continue through one full year with each of the following four seasons being used to frame aspects of Piet’s work. Editing will commence in Winter 2014 with an aim to complete the production in late Spring/early Summer 2015.
We expect the film to have broad appeal. In addition to the extensive audience of gardening enthusiasts, Piet’s work has drawn particular attention in the contemporary art world, with a number of gallery and museum commissions, all of whom should have an interest and audience for programming the documentary. The film will ultimately speak to anyone who marvels at innovation and beauty. Owing to Piet’s success both in the US and Europe, we also see potential for wide theatrical and broadcast distribution in both markets.
The film will be produced by the Checkerboard Film Foundation, a non-profit institution established in 1979 to document, through film and video, living artists who are making unique and important contributions to the arts. In 35 years, Checkerboard has produced over 50 films ranging in subjects from the visual arts to musicians, choreographers, writers and architects. They represent a visual time capsule of artistic achievements spanning the last half-Century. Titles include Brice Marden (1977), Aaron Siskind (1987), Roy Lichtenstein: Reflections (1993), Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect (1996), Billy Collins: On the Road with the U.S. Poet Laureate (2003), Ellsworth Kelly: Fragments (2007), James Salter: A Sport and a Pastime (2011), and Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line (2012).
The film will be directed and photographed by Thomas (Tom) Piper, Director of Production for the Checkerboard Film Foundation, and an award-winning non-fiction filmmaker. He has directed, photographed and edited more than 20 films including co-directing and editing Ellsworth Kelly: Fragments, which won the Best Film for Television award at the prestigious International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in Montreal. As an independent producer, he recently completed the film Art, Architecture, and Innovation: Celebrating the Guggenheim Museum, a documentary marking the 50th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright museum building. His latest project is the one-hour film, Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line, recently broadcast on PBS affiliates in New York, and accepted for over 25 festivals around the world. Other recent subjects have included the artists Sol Lewitt and Kiki Smith, the writer James Salter, the art historian Vincent Scully, the architects Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, and Thom Mayne, and MacArthur “genius” grant winner, Jeanne Gang.
- December 2013 -
Michael King has a series of eBooks available on his website- Perennial Meadows. http://www.perennialmeadows.com/new-ebooks/ The books include planting formulas. I was fortunate to visit Lianne’s Siergrassen this summer on the Gardens Illustrated where owner Lianne Pot has installed several of King’s perennial meadows. My earlier post today included photos of Lianne’s display gardens, but check her website for later season pics. Don’t forget to use google translate. http://www.siergras.nl/Home. I really like King’s ideas!