Thinking like Piet Oudolf

is easier said then done. Piet’s favourite season is Autumn. In an interview he was saying he loved that moment when there is still a little colour in the garden but everything is dying. I think he’s truly brilliant and the idea of there being four useful and beautiful seasons in the garden is inspired and revolutionary. How easy it is to consider only spring and summer as worthwhile times. So, all that said, I went into the garden today. It was just the most beautiful autumn day with the old hockney blue sky and brilliant sunshine. If there was going to be a day when you could find beauty in the autumn garden it was today. I stood and surveyed the scene and was so disappointed to see it was a total mess. I haven’t yet managed to get rid of the old base of the missing wendy house and there is lots of abandoned, plastic summer junk, so that doesn’t help. I turned and looked at the borders. They were mouldering. The odd flower was trying it’s hardest to look pretty but it was fighting a losing battle. I realised in that moment that of course to have an autumn garden worth looking at, you have to plant it. You can’t have all those great summer show stoppers and expect them to be beautiful into the autumn, they might be but they equally might not be. I love flowers in the sunshine – I don’t think about much except cramming in the most and preferably the brightest colours. I was so disheartened that I couldn’t find a beautiful thing to take a picture of. I was just going back inside to have a taking stock kind of cup of tea and a biscuit when I saw one of the foxes looking at me – and I felt she was agreeing, it all needed addressing. The question for the cup of tea is whether to dig up and replant the garden for all seasons or just not really go out there again.




  1. Your post made me a little sad. Perhaps I am not like Piet (I have a horror of winter) but I do enjoy autumn in the garden once I have stopped feeling cross in September that summer is over.
    You might try just one or two plants that will give you joy in more than one season – perhaps something with flowers in spring and then berries later on like a hawthorn, or on a smaller scale a Rose of Sharon.

    I’ve got some more suggestions in

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