Oudolf as himself

Piet Oudolf is a phenomenon.  Not since William Robinson has a single figure given the gardening status quo such a shake-up, and drilled their way into the imagination of gardeners, recalibrating their dreaming.

It’s inexplicable, and wholly delightful.

This weekend takes it further.  In various locations around Melbourne there’s screenings of a feature-length movie (very many already sold out) about the work and workings of Piet Oudolf.  That’s right.  A movie about a garden designer.

Piet Oudulf's own garden in The Netherlands
Piet Oudulf’s own garden in The Netherlands

It’s not the first.  I was kind of chuffed when I heard about the movie ‘A Little Chaos’ (2014), being, as it was, a movie based around a garden designer.  Of course there were layers of implausibility – most notably that a female (played by Kate Winslet) could have had a career in the 18th Century, let alone as a garden designer.  Then there was the fact that the story set her up to be in romantic opposition to the formal style of the day, only for her to churn out possibly the most boringly formal and uptight section of one of the most formal gardens ever made. But I’m happy to overlook all that for a movie that acknowledges, and even celebrates, the work of the garden designer.

I can’t wait to see ‘Five Seasons’ this weekend.  But meanwhile I’m bathing in the glow of living in a world in which such a movie can even exist.

For details of screenings, click here, and scroll down to this weekend to find those occurring in Australia.  Call the cinema or attempt to book online, as many screenings are already sold out.

If such a movie makes you long to know more about plants and how to use them, come along to our planting workshop on Saturday 19th May.  Details here .  It’s a general overview of plants, and the strengths and weaknesses of the various plant groups, that will help you determine the best type of plant for any role you’d have a plant play in your garden.  Workshops based on using perennials coming up.  Send an expression of interest to michael@thegardenist.com.au


  1. Michael can you please identify the splashes of blur in the photo of Oudolf’s garden? Even on my bit computer screen I cant see what they are.

    Many thanks.
    Erika parkinson

    1. Hi Erika. yeah, resolution isn’t great. The grass that repeats about is Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’. The pale blue appears to be an aster, and the wine red looks to be one of the tall Eupatoriums. Here is Aus, you’d use Eupatorium ‘Gateway’ for that same effect.

  2. Thanks very much for that Michael. Asters are lovely I think.

  3. I’m going to see the movie myself this weekend here in the Dandenong Ranges. I’m wondering if I should take a notepad and pen with me. What do you think?

  4. You would have seen Portrait of a Garden?
    I’m very much looking forward to your workshop this weekend – will be wearing my woolliest jumper!

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