Thursday, 20 August 2015

Piet Oudolf Garden - Hauser Wirth Somerset - August

It is a challenge photographing the gardens at Hauser & Wirth, Somerset, there are vast swathes of block planting that require a wide angle lens (next time I will take my lens) 
Piet Oudolf designed the perennial gardens in a large scale plot allowing for an ever changing landscape. The serpentine paths take you through a treasure trove of flowers and grasses which flourish due to intelligent planting. When a clump of Echinacea shed their pink petals, the brown pom-pom centre remains as structural punctuation, or thistles die back to leave a dry seed heads, just as beautiful. Colour is reinstated by adjacent flowers blooming - timing is key. 
A variety of grasses adds motion to the planting and a soft rustling sound fulfils the senses. They soften the landscape in a hazy wash, a trend I have noticed in Piet's landscape design, throughout many of his projects.
A large pond also softens the landscape. Swallows & dragonflies dip in and out at speed (impossible to photograph!) It looks well-established after only a year, and newts have made their home. 
Hauser & Wirth is a contemporary gallery, their sister is in NewYork. It is no surprise that surreal and sculptural statements create a juxtaposition in the garden - the illusional clock and a huge pod shaped building draws you in to walk to the bottom of the garden, out of pure curiosity.
As a photographer, structure helps form a backdrop but what I love about the landscape is its ever-changing dimension in colour, texture and height. I have one frustration! teased by fabulous flowers in the centre of the vast beds I was unable to wade through to get some close-ups shots. I do, however, look forward to photographing throughout the seasons.
I am sure Piet's designs will have an enormous influence on gardens in the UK. Bx

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