A recent trip in our campervan took us to Somerset. I chose this area for a short bank holiday break because it’s a place we normally travel through rather than stop at. Also, and more importantly, there’s an art gallery in a village called Bruton with a garden recently designed by Piet Oudolf who is one of my favourite garden designers.
Hauser & Wirth have branches in Los Angeles, New York, London, Zurich & (Bruton) Somerset. I know, it sounds nuts doesn’t it but sleuth like, I had conversation with a local and discovered the owners of the gallery live in Bruton & so it made more sense. Why wouldn’t you display your own international art savvy & taste in garden design in your own village?
I’ve seen a few of Oudolf’s gardens before (Pensthorpe, Battery Park NY, Wisley) & this delightful gently sloping creation didn’t disappoint. At the top of the slope is a ammonitoid pavillion designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic which sits like a crown overlooking the art gallery two hundred metres downhill.
Piet Oudolf resides in Hummelo, Netherlands. He designs & builds beautiful gardens all over the world that mostly are at their best from high summer through to frosty days in the winter. The planting is big, tall & massed in swathes & drifts. Oudolf mixes umbellifers, cones, buttons, plumes that come atop perennial flowers & grasses. It’s the structure and the form of the planting which gives it its special appeal in the winter time when the frosts have descended. And in early spring the whole garden gets a haircut & the cycle starts all over again. No deadheading & almost no weeding as the plants are packed in, Oudolf’s gardens are medium maintenance as there is no such thing as a low maintenance garden.
Another time, we’ll visit in late summer when the main bulk of visitors have returned to work/school & we can picnic & snooze in the garden on a blanket. And then, we can take a snack morsel with a glass of wine in the truly fabulous Roth Bar & Grill whilst attempting to understand & appreciate some of the crazy installations hanging around.