When the Royal Horticultural Society of Britain commissions an addition to its flagship garden from a Dutch landscape designer you know he must be an extraordinary talent. The title of this delectable portfolio hints at Piet Oudolf’s gift for creating environmentally responsible gardens that relate to urban and natural landscapes, as well as the cycle of the seasons. At first view, his plantings atop the High Line in Lower Manhattan and in Chicago’s Millennium Park look as though nature had run wild without the intervention of a designer’s hand. Therein lies the artistry, for the challenge in New York was to evoke the wilderness that had taken over an abandoned freight line, and in Chicago to play off the wall of skyscrapers that frame the park. Less familiar is Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, where the juxtaposition of towers and lush grasses is even more surreal. Photographs of great beauty capture the subtle balance of form and colors, and elaborate diagrams explain how the magic was accomplished.
Landscapes in Landscapes
by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury
The Monacelli Press ($65)