Friday, January 29, 2016
Oudolf Tour - Leuvehaven
Thank you for coming back for the next post about my Carex Tours trip to The Netherlands last autumn! Today, we look at The Leuvehaven, located in Rotterdam.
Located on a spit of land on the Nieuwe Maas River, this was to be our first Oudolf-designed garden on the trip...and...believe it or not, the first Oudolf-designed garden I had every seen in person!
As we got off the bus, we were confronted by the Merchant Marine Monument, which juts up into the air like the prow of a ship. Very imposing, right?
The monument if fronted by a mix of perennials, with a limited palette of Panicum, Calamagrostis brachytricha, Perovskia and Persicaria.
The refined palette gives the planting a very calming and harmonious feel...not to mention a very tactile one.
The wonderful, subdued colors are perfect...especially paired with the ephemeral blooms of the Calamagrostis.
Did I mention that it was POURING at this garden? It was...heavily!
Once past the initial strip of planting, there are several elevated beds, each triangular in shape, looking out over the river.
Soaring above everything is this fabulous bridge, the Erasmus bridge.
No bridge can really compete with the plantings, however, at least not to a gardener!
This is a relatively small garden, but, again, because of the limited plant selection, it doesn't feel like a crammed jumble. Most plants are used in generous swathes, each flowing seamlessly into the other.
While there is a wealth of contrasting textures, shapes and colors, it isn't overwrought...there is a relaxed dynamism to the combinations.
I think back on that day and this is my memory...trying to stay dry...while taking as many photos as possible. Obviously, for most people, staying dry trumps photos!
One of those plant combinations that we were to see again and again during our trip. Grasses and Asters...classic.
I'm not sure what it is about The Netherlands...but they can grow these larger Sedums to perfection.
If there is one plant that I will always associate with this garden, however, its Deschampsia...as in this photo...it forms misty clouds all around the garden.
It serves to perfectly soften the harder, more solid forms of so many plants, like this Sedum (probably 'Matrona').
And here...it's the perfect, gauzy backdrop for the undulating spires of Salvia.
Did I mention it was raining?
I love how Oudolf seems to effortlessly create effects such as this...of plants flowing into and out of each other like water.
And how other plants spring up from lower-growing companions.
I kept thinking here, "I need more Asters,".
Such is the richness of Oudolf's gardens that we were all constantly discovering things...and pointing them out excitedly to others in the group!
"SIGH"...if only my 'Matrona' looked this good!
Thank goodness for smartphones...how did people look up plants before they were around?
As we climbed back onto the bus to head off into the city for lunch, I grabbed a few last photos. If you're ever in Rotterdam, you must visit this garden...it's utterly fabulous.
I hope you join me again next week for a look at the wonderful Vlinderhof Garden. Also...I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Carex Tours is repeating this tour again in 2016...details available here...if you can swing it, you should sign up...it's worth every penny!