Planting: A New Perspectiveby Noel Kingsbury, Piet Oudolf
Planting, by famed landscape architects Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury, is a groundbreaking moment in horticulture. It is the first book to share Oudolf’s original planting plans and plant groupings and the only book to explicitly show how his gardens and landscapes are made. An intimate knowledge of plants is essential to the success of this/i>
Planting, by famed landscape architects Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury, is a groundbreaking moment in horticulture. It is the first book to share Oudolf’s original planting plans and plant groupings and the only book to explicitly show how his gardens and landscapes are made. An intimate knowledge of plants is essential to the success of this approach and Planting makes Oudolf’s considerable understanding of plant ecology and performance accessible, explaining how plants behave in different situations, what goes on underground, and which species make good neighbors. Extensive plant charts and planting plans will help you choose plants for their structure, color, and texture as well as the way they perform in the landscape. A detailed directory, with details each plant’s life expectancy, the persistence of its seedheads, its tendency to spread, and propensity to self-seed, is an invaluable resource.Planting is an essential resource for designers and gardeners looking to create plant-rich, beautiful gardens that support biodiversity and nourish the human spirit.
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Read an Excerpt
The agenda for planting design in the twenty-first century The former nursery at Piet and Anja Oudolf’s at Hummelo in the Netherlands. It is now a boldly experimental area where a range of robust perennials grow amidst a sown mix of wild pasture grasses along with various spontaneously arriving species. Only time will tell how it will work out. Plants are increasingly being recognized as a vital part of our urban and domestic environments, not just a luxury or an unnecessary—if pleasant—bit of decoration. It has long been established, for example, that the mere view of plants through a window has a beneficial effect on the human psyche, and that plants can play an important role in cleaning and purifying the air of buildings and built-up environments. Gardening, whether on the most intimate private level or the most extensive and public, involves an appreciation of and involvement with the natural world. For many people, plants may be their only point of contact with nature apart from feeling the effects of the weather. Private gardens offer the opportunity for personal choices to be made about what plants to grow and how to manage them, while designers of civic landscapes have always had the responsibility of serving the wider public interest. There is, however, a new and additional agenda for gardeners, both private and public: sustainability and the support of biodiversity. Sustainability demands that we minimize irreplaceable inputs in gardening and reduce harmful outputs, while the support of biodiversity brings a demand for wildlife-friendly planting and practices. The use of long-lived perennials in conjunction with woody plants—the approach Piet Oudolf and I have always supported—genuinely offers improved sustainability and support for biodiversity. Reducing the amount of regularly mown lawn and the unnecessary trimming of woody plants for unclear motives is surely a step forward. Creating rich garden habitats offers natural beauty close at hand, provides resources and homes for wildlife, and improves the sustainability of management. Deciding what plants to use and how to arrange them is covered by the field of planting design, which brings together a combination of technical knowledge and artistic vision. This book looks at some of the recent trends within planting design, and is aimed primarily at home gardeners, garden design and maintenance professionals, and landscape architects. There are, however, important lessons for others, such as architects, who do not use plants directly but often have to situate their work in close proximity to them, or ecologists, whose profession does not involve much design but who increasingly have a role to play in the creation and management of designed plantings. While the role of plants—and therefore planting design—is well established in the domestic garden, and is indeed absolutely crucial to its aesthetic and functional success, it has not been so well established in landscape design. Or perhaps more accurately, plants have often played a minor role in urban landscape design. Historically, for centuries the only plants used in cities were avenue trees; the nineteenth century saw the growth of urban parks, the late twentieth a much wider use of plants in urban areas—a practice to a large extent pioneered in the Netherlands. Now, however, the use of plants is increasing, particularly that of perennials and ornamental grasses, requiring greater access to technical information about plant establishment and management, and to ideas about the visual aspects of their use. Before I discuss in more detail what this book is about, it is perhaps worth looking at these new trends.
Meet the Author
Noel Kingsbury is a well-known designer, commentator, and writer on plants, gardens, landscape, and the environment. His doctorate in horticultural ecology from the University of Sheffield focused on the selection and management of ornamental perennials and he is still engaged in active research in this field. He is interested in combining natives and non-natives in ecological planting schemes and is a passionate advocate for sustainable plant combinations that require minimal intervention from the gardener. He trials plants and gardens at his home on the border between England and Wales and travels widely.
Piet Oudolf is among the world’s most innovative garden designers and a leading exponent of naturalistic planting, a style that takes inspiration from nature but employs artistic skill in creating planting schemes. Oudolf's extensive work over 30 years of practice includes public and private gardens all over the world. He is best known for his work on the High Line and Battery Park in New York, the Lurie Garden in Chicago's Millennium Park, Potters Field in London, and his own private garden at Hummelo in the Netherlands.
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