Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Singer Laren

After Vlinderhof, I visited Piet Oudolf’s new planting for the Singer Laren Sculpture Garden. It’s a great space, wonderfully pleasant, everything you want in a garden. I didn’t particularly care about any of the individual sculptures — sculpture is always a bit hit and miss and, for me, the Laren collection is pretty much all miss — and after seeing the perfection of Vlinderhof’s planting, I found the plantings at Singer Laren a step down. At Vlinderhof virtually every plant was in perfect synch, all pulling together to make the best meadow planting I’ve ever seen; Singer Laren was interesting for the small ways it fell short of Vlinderhof’s perfection. But if I sound critical, that’s not right, I really liked it. It’s a great place, recommended to everyone. A coffee and a pastry in the sun at the Singer Laren garden… wonderful.

It’s fairly common to see a single sculpture set in an ornamental planting in a garden, but I’d never seen an entire museum collection set within plantings by someone of Oudolf’s skill and stature. On their own I wouldn’t have cared about the sculptures, but the plantings elevated them.

As at Vlinderhof, Oudolf gets a lot of mileage from his Echinacia.

At Vlinderhof, the ornamental grass is a perfect backdrop for Liatris. Here the Liatris looks good but not exceptional.

This garden underlines how important scale is to Oudolf’s planting style. The planting beds that are roughly 25′ x 25′ have the distinctive Piet Oudolf look that has become such a phenomenon. The smaller beds, despite using roughly the same plants and planting strategy, are nice but very ordinary.

But so many of the planting beds are big and beautiful. A wonderful garden.

Leave a Reply