Piet Oudolf, the Plant Pro Behind the Serpentine Pavilion’s Garden

Earlier this week, we had a post up entitled “A Look Inside Peter Zumthor’s Serpentine Pavilion,” which referred to the now-open, annual, starchitect-designed temporary structure in London’s Hyde Park. In months prior, we’d also written posts entitled “Sneak Preview of Peter Zumthor’s Serpentine Pavilion” and “Peter Zumthor Next In Line to Design the Serpentine Pavilion.” The notable constant there, of course, is the repetition of Peter Zumthor’s name. He is the famous architect who designed the place, of course, but as anyone who has seen the space in person or simply read about and looked at it online, you’ll no doubt remember that the emphasis of the Pavilion is on the large garden, flanked by the architect’s modern walls. Having seen images and video of said garden, even if Zumthor is a remarkable amateur landscaper, we’re sure he’s not that good. Fortunately, the Telegraph has filed this great story on the man responsible the garden, who perhaps won’t receive anywhere near the attention Zumthor will for the project, but based on the initial reviews, clearly deserves it. Not that he really needs any more, as the architect went with the best: Piet Oudolf, the landscape artist behind such projects as the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park and the High Line in New York. So perhaps we oversold it, that this poor, already super-famous plant expert was playing second fiddle, but what can you do? We got you interested and now you can go read up on Oudolf’s experience working on the Serpentine and then you can show off in front of all your friends at this weekend’s barbecues how knowledgeable and cosmopolitan you are. Or not. Anyway, here’s a bit about the make up of the garden:

Deep reds, as in Astrantia major ‘Claret’ and Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ are a favourite of his: “This colour tends to be slightly shocking, an articulation of something primitive. Not too much, just a little punctuation gets attention.”

Grasses such as Molinia ‘Transparent,’ keep the overall effect soft and hazy, conducive to the state of elevated daydreaming.

“I want visitors to see that architecture is simple and planting is complex. Looking into plants brings you into another kind of thinking, connected with inner space. That’s what a hortus conclusus is for. It’s simple, in a complex way.”