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A formal garden with the Oudolf twist

Piet Oudolf, the undoubted leader in the field of the European style of perennial meadow plantings, rarely takes on private gardens. His low maintenance, stunningly beautiful planting schemes are in high demand in parks around the world. He has been busy designing for Dream Park in Stockholm, Wisley and Battery Park, New York amongst others. One private garden he did agree to design was the 41/2 acre walled kitchen garden at Scampston Hall in Yorkshire for Sir Charles and Lady Caroline Legard.

He has divided the garden up in the classic 17th century manner with a prospect mound in the form of a grassed pyramid from which to take the birds eye view. Hundreds of limes, underplanted with spring flowering shrubs, make a cloistered walkway around the perimeter. Within the strict geometry of yew and box hedging the garden takes a modern slant. A strong theme is a pattern of streams or waves of Taxus and Buxus. A variation is giant fluttering grasses crossing in diagonal waves. To achieve this six thousand Molinia caerula were propagated by head gardener, Tim Marshall. The heart of the garden lies in front of a fine Victorian glasshouse and bears the unmistakeable Oudolf thumbprint. Wild looking and dramatic, its a heady mix of fire and flame coloured flowers amongst many different grasses.

As planting was only completed a year ago, the launch is to be in 2005. Meanwhile the garden is opening for a fascinating preview from June to mid-October.
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