the dutchman in yorkshire

August 8, 2014

drift garden phellodendron + salvia p rain1

” I had the idea of creating different garden rooms but on a big scale” says Piet Oudolf. The walled garden at Scampston Hall is where this idea was carried out. Within a geometric structure, the informality of the planting spreads through and harmonizes the experience of the journey  – from room to room. Rivers, drifts and flowing lines are the theme – just enough and, not so much, as to dampen or annihilate. Unfortunately, these images show clearly that the air was laden with Yorkshire moisture on this visit, so water is all around  . . .

drifts of molinia poul peteresn3

. . . . curving ribbons of Molinia caerulea ‘Poul Petersen’ are woven through the mown turf base layer in the Drift Garden. As the grasses grow, the dynamic changes into a soft meadow landscape  – the initial pattern is hidden. Low seating beneath the Chinese cork trees (Phellodendron) is surrounded by Salvia ‘Purple Rain’  – all quite delicious and showing that simple’s best.

drift garden phellodendron + salvia purple rain2


spring box border - beech hedges + geranium 'brookside'4

Mature beech hedging rings the exterior of the garden rooms – visible on one side of the Plantsman’s Walk as well as within in the Spring and Summer Box Borders . . . .

beech hedges katsura grove13

katsura grove astrantia claret,geranium rose claire

. . .  Astrantia m. ‘Claret’ punctuates pink Geranium ‘Rose Clair’, or is it the other way round? Woodland plants froth and spill under the Cercidiphyllum trees. A well-known Oudolf device of a central geometric  shape, in this case, an oval, is positioned here filled with Molinia ‘Transparent’  – the arching habit disguises the formality of the pattern. A sense of formality is retained all year however, in the Silent Garden, where columns of yew are firmly entrenched within square clipped bases – the only feel of movement here comes from the water surface which hardly ripples . . . a very poor photo. This is said to be a room with a calm atmosphere  . . . I’ve made it look depressing.

katsura grove, molinias to spring box border5


silent garden recatngular pond7


the mount view8

Cherry trees and a flowery mead circle The Mount which is worth ‘mounting’ to appreciate the whole scheme and understand how the rooms connect and balance  – just like looking at a master plan. Oudolf comes into his own with the Perennial Meadow – a traditional quincunx filled with naturalised planting. Groups of plants and individual species appear to be scattered in a graceful manner but rise up and blend into a powerful almost musical performance . . . even in the wet.

perennial meadow, trifolium rubens, phlomos, thermopsis9

perennial meadow, knautia, salvia + thermopsis10

perennial meadow salvi, allium schuberti, phlomis,amsonia11

perennial meadow rudbeckia occ,thermopsis caroliniana, salvia blauhugel12

Rudbeckia occidentalis wafting around above yellow Thermopsis caroliniana and Salvia ‘Blauhugel’  – quite splendid. A pleasing little gate too from which to exit – Yat is Yorkshire dialect for gate.

cut flower garden to veg garden14

One lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee,
One lesson which in every wind is blown,
One lesson of two duties kept at one
Though the loud world proclaim their enmity–

Of toil unsever’d from tranquility!
Of labor, that in lasting fruit outgrows
Far noisier schemes, accomplish’d in repose,
Too great for haste, too high for rivalry.

Yes, while on earth a thousand discords ring,
Man’s fitful uproar mingling with his toil,
Still do thy sleepless ministers move on,

Their glorious tasks in silence perfecting;
Still working, blaming still our vain turmoil,
Laborers that shall not fail, when man is gone.
Mathew Arnold  Quiet Work


15 Responses to “the dutchman in yorkshire”

  1. Uncle Tree Says:

    Gracious be! 🙂 I love these!

  2. akismet-cc86e69a13119f6a42f5deab97c402e6 Says:

    Has it really changed this much? There are doubting voices, of which this is one, though from some time ago:

    Is it really worth the trip? From how far away….? You don’t actually say you like it ?

    • julia fogg Says:

      this is truthfully what I found in July after a warm wet winter. Charles reviewed the garden 4 years ago and lucky him to have seen it then – I’ve been trying to get there for years. I am not blogging in the ‘Trip Advisor’ mode simply as I state in my ‘strapline’ (ghastly terminology) so I must refer you to that. This post links to another which I hope to post very soon – looking at Oudolf’s planting in London. His strength is planting design on a large scale and consequently something which interests me greatly. However, his Serpentine pavilion scheme with architect Peter Zumthor was very successful – restricted space and evocative too – equally the High Line, though long is narrow in width.Read again and you’ll see the compliments.

      • akismet-cc86e69a13119f6a42f5deab97c402e6 Says:

        (Reply to Julia)
        I’m well aware of Piet’s strengths and find Tim Richardson’s comments on this garden’s weaknesses interesting too – in the structure perhaps rather than the planting?

        Hope these pictures aren’t unrealistically flattering. (Because of our detour to see it. I don’t trust TripAdvisor either..)

        I guess you have defined your limits in your strap-line, but I’m sad that it keeps you in the Gardens Illustrated school of garden story when I think you could give us so much more.

      • julia fogg Says:

        Unrealistically flattering – I think they’re pretty awful photos apart from the first. The Gardens Illustrated school of garden story – huh. Also I don’t hide my name.

  3. Seb Says:

    Well it’s definitely not grim up north, stunning

  4. Despite the rain you’ve posted some great pics here Julia. Now we all know that it’s possible to flatter any garden by the photography and part of me (Tristan Gregory shares his Little Man with me) wonders if you have not done the same here. And I was left asking why you describe but make little evaluative comment in this post? I am heading for Yorkshire soon and I hope that I might make a return visit to see what I think 4 years and a month further on in this gardens life. So you might here from me again!

  5. julia fogg Says:

    As I ‘ve just had to say – I think the images are pretty awful – far too soggy. As far as evaluative comments – sometimes I do if I feel it’s apposite. This trip was too short – one quick gallop around in a very rushed schedule . . . yes, I would like to go back maybe later on in the season.

    • akismet-cc86e69a13119f6a42f5deab97c402e6 Says:

      The significance of including your name?

      I’d love to hear if you do a longer look….

  6. elizabethwix Says:

    Utterly blown away by this post! stunned stunned stunned!

    • julia fogg Says:

      Planted the High Line – you probably know this! also just done more planting with James Corner in Olympic Park. Photos sitting here but time is limited – maybe another post next weekend.

  7. Hello Julia. Elizabeth (above) , who I met in New York several years ago and with whom I have blogged for some years, directed me to your site. What a beautiful garden this is. I might persuade my husband to take me there for our wedding anniversary later this month. I live in Wensleydale, so shall have to look the area up on a map.

  8. julia fogg Says:

    Well, Pat have a good look at the weather forecast + try and find some clement weather. The Yorkshire Sculpture park just north of Sheffield is also worthwhile. You could do these together.

  9. […] dutchman‘s work doesn’t figure in the North Park of our new city park  – the Queen […]

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