Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update
Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update
A visit Bruton was overdue as I needed to have an Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update!
I had intended to visit during late summer when more perennials would be flowering. But the thing about Oudolf’s style of planting is that the blooms are important but not an essential element of the scheme. His plantings can be as attractive in their dying as in their blooming. Piet Oudolf has had a massive influence on both amateur and professional planting styles and his naturalistic style of planting can be seen around the globe.
This was my third visit to the garden and I must confess that I have mixed views about it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the plants that Oudolf uses and am a fan of the naturalistic planting style. But for me this garden doesn’t quite do it for me! I guess the main reason for my disquiet is that this garden doesn’t sit comfortably in its surroundings. I’ve walked the hills and looked down on it sitting as it does in this verdant valley and it looks out of place. It’s true, I’m not a great fan of the sausage shaped building that sits at the end of the garden and that this detracts from both the beauty of this valley and the garden that sits in it.
But my visit was primarily to see how the plants had fared now that they are well and truly established.
Plants in the Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update
Summer flowering perennials had little colour left. But Oudolf’s choice of hardy plants is as much about the petals as the seed heads. Many looked as good now as the had when in full flower. Echinacea pallida and Dianthus carthusianorum looked especially attractive amongst the many ornamental grasses.
Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update on Ornamental Grasses
Stipa tenuissima, Sporobulus heterolepsis and Deschampsia caespitosa ‘Goldtau’ are widely used. They all were in an advanced state of bleaching to straw colour. Molinia ‘Transparent’ is a variety that I had not seen before and it stands as tall as any Miscanthus sinensis.
Imperata cylindrica rubra, the Japanese Blood Grass, was at its best providing striking red autumn colour. This is a beautiful
shorter grass that is well worth growing but it’s not one for colder areas.
But grasses alone do not make a garden and it is their use with flowering and seeding perennials that works so well.
Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update on Flowering Perennials
A lot of the hardy perennials in this garden are late summer flowering. In early autumn the perennials that were at their best were the Michaelmas daisies [Asters and Symphyotrichum] and Sedum. But Actaea [formerly Cimicifuga] and Persicaria atriplexicalis Orange Field were vying for attention too! The Actaea add graceful tall blooms to the mix and stand out demanding attention. The Persicaria is a variety of this useful perennial that I wasn’t so familiar with. I’m sure that I’ll be using in the future.
Symphyotrichum [Aster] cordifolium ‘Little Carlow’ is an exceptional Michaelmas Daisy and rarely if ever suffers from the achilles heel of this plant group – powdery mildew! Aster amellus ‘Sonora’ looks equally mildew free and another fantastic performer. Aster Violetta was outstanding too and I suspect a good selection of the novae angliae [New England] tribe.
But the Asters – I’m going to struggle to adopt the new name Symphyotrichum – that really shone out had tiny flowers and masses of them too! Theses were smothered in honey bees -there are hives within the garden. These Aster laterifolius horizontalis and umbellatus plantings are very late to flower. But they were providing insects with a late season drink of nectar which is so important in the buildup to winter.
By contrast, and although the Sedum telephium ‘Matrona’ looked good, they were devoid of any insect visitors. This confirmed my suspicion that if you want to encourage bees and butterflies this is not the best Sedum to do it! In my experience Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’ is the one they really go for!
Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update on other performers
Still quietly impressing was Selinum wallichianum. This umbell has such a long blooming period and was still at it!
Anemone ‘Hadspen Abundance’ was in full bloom at the time of my visit. I’ve yet to see a better pink late flowering Anemone.
Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ had real flower power too. But here the flowers were not the usual pale mauve seen in catalogues as this was a bleached white form of this clump-forming bulb.
Was I disappointed in my Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth update visit? Not at all, and I’d happily return again!
Have you been to this garden? At what time of year did you visit?
What was your impression of the garden and its planting style?
If you’re not familiar with the work of Piet Oudolf get up to speed here.
Incidentally, the Wroth Bar & Grill here serves great drinks and food so be sure to allow time to visit that!
I can also recommend a visit to At The Chapel actually in Bruton. They serve excellent food and drink in a perfectly restord chapel.