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Artfully Random

Articles: Artfully Random

Layers of gauzy texture and soft color create a sense of spaciousness in a small planting bed.
 Design and photo: Maggie Lee
In October of 2000, I flew to Paris and drove southwest to Chateau de Courson for the Journees des Plantes plant fair. Established in 1983, the event was a showcase for nurseries introducing new plants and varieties, offering them for sale in a lovely, park-like setting.
Dutch plantsman and designer Piet Oudolf was a featured speaker that year. It was thrilling to meet him; he had a grand stature, a warm presence, and a generous spirit. Listening to his presentation, one of his remarks nested in me, “Create the spontaneous feeling of plants in Nature … re-create the emotion.” As I listened to Piet speak and viewed his slides, his artistry and knowledge of plants and pollinators resonated deeply with me.

Piet worked as a garden designer for six years in coastal Holland before moving inland in 1981 to the quiet village of Hummelo with his wife Anja and their two sons. There, on three acres, they established their nursery and began collecting, growing, and experimenting with pl...


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