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Final Assignment for the Garden Design Course

My final assignment of the Garden Design Course and I’m left hanging for more! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about garden design and feel I’ve only touched on it ever so slightly. I might at a later stage invest in doing a longer, more thorough course in garden design. Not because I want to become a garden designer, far from it – dabbling around in my own garden is enough for me – but because I’ve loved every minute of it.

In this final week of the Planting Design course I’ve been doing through My Garden School, the forth and final chapter is entiled “Seasonal Colour & Excitement”. We are introduced to the work of Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. Oh my … that opened up a whole new world for me! If you haven’t yet spent any time looking at his work, I strongly recommend that you do. I spent a few happy hours looking at his gardens (all online of course – ah the joys of the Internet!) and I’m now a huge fan!

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about his work and found this statement he made in a post on which gave me food for thought … “He feels that most clients still want immediate results with gardens: that they are lacking in patience and are not willing to observe and enjoy the beauty of a garden maturing over time. For Piet, the public may offer positive comments about his work but they are still reticent about fully embracing it”. (Reference here). This is something I need to practise – patience! I want my garden to “hurry up and mature”. This was a reminder to me to just enjoy it and not be in such a hurry.

This weeks assignment

Screen shots of my plant choices for this weeks assignment, details below

[one_half]Assignment 4[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Assignment 4 Screen 2[/one_half_last]

So this weeks assignment was: “You are planning a small ‘naturalistic’ planting scheme. Use the work of the Dutch designer Piet Oudolf as a source of inspiration for your design”. We were given certain guidelines of plants to choose (hedges, bulbs, grasses etc). and had to list them all with pictures once again. The screen captures show part of my final assignment.

I really enjoyed doing this. It took absolutely hours to decide on my choices. I based it on my whole back garden with just the trees in situ and nothing else and planned it on the basis of it having half sun and half part shade. I am almost tempted to rip everything up and start all over again!. Just kidding of course, but I might incorporate some of what I came up with in the future and the area that was destroyed two weeks ago because of the new french drain will be getting a make-0ver with some of these choices.

Piet Oudolf’s photostream on

Barbie – this is for you! (and anyone else who is not familiar with his work). Prepare to be amazed! I’ve spent hours just gazing at his gardens, wondering if I will ever be able to conjure up such magic with plants…

In closing …

I read an interview the New York Times did with Piet Oudolf. They asked him what his advice is for the beginner to which he replied …

Experience starts the moment you start to like gardening. You can’t do it right the first time. You can’t even do it right in a few years. You always see the next step you have to do. Start simply, putting good combinations of plants together, and work from there. You have to go through all the steps. You cannot skip any lessons. That is honest. It’s hard work. But you get something back, that’s the good thing. It’s like raising children. You try to do your best“.

Happy Gardening!

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