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News: Newest Oudolf Public Garden

 

September 15, 2020

GCA Medalist’s Detroit Garden in Good Hands

Piet Oudolf came to Detroit to build a garden at the invitation of The Garden Club of Michigan (GCM). This public garden, more than four years in the making, was planted in early September and its designer Piet Oudolf, had to oversee it virtually from the Netherlands due to travel restrictions. Fortunately, his latest creation was in good hands. Leading the effort to transfer Oudolf’s design from paper to dirt were GCA Honorary Member Roy Diblik and Oudolf protégé Austin Eischeid. Oudolf, the 2019 GCA Medal of Honor winner, connected via iPhone daily to give his input. A core group of GCM members assisted with the planting.

The Detroit garden is the first Oudolf garden design to mix three of his signature planting styles – matrix planting, block planting, and what Roy Diblik calls “dimple planting.” Dimple planting is a method of scattering different plants. More than 23,000 plants (a mixture of native and hearty perennials mostly sourced from Michigan growers) went in the ground in less than a week.

The Garden Club of Michigan, one of the founding clubs of The Garden Club of America, raised the initial money to commission the garden on a site Oudolf picked on Detroit’s Belle Isle, a nearly 1,000-acre state park. Oudolf Garden Detroit, the group dedicated to overseeing and maintaining the project, includes five GCM members. It has raised more than $4.2 million to install and maintain the garden in perpetuity. Oudolf requires all public gardens to have maintenance funding before he will accept the commission. Learn more at oudolfgardendetroit.org.

 

 

Photos by Ryan Southen

 

 

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