There’s a new film for garden lovers being screened across Canada this summer. The documentary, Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, immerses viewers in Oudolf’s work and explores his creative process, from his beautifully abstract sketches, to theories on beauty, to the ecological implications of his ideas. Oudolf is based in the Netherlands, but has designed gardens around the world, including more recently The High Line in New York and Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, Chicago. In Canada, Oudolf designed the Entry Walk Garden at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
After completing a feature documentary on New York’s High Line, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Piper met Oudolf and developed the idea for the new film. Intimate discussions take place through all fours seasons in Piet’s own gardens at Hummelo, and on visits to his signature public works as well as to the far-flung locations that inspire his genius, including desert wildflowers in West Texas and post-industrial forests in Pennsylvania.
As a narrative thread, the film also follows Oudolf as he designs and installs a major new garden at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a gallery and arts centre in southwest England, a garden he considers his best work yet.
Piet Oudolf has radically redefined what gardens can be. As Rick Darke, a famous botanist, says to Oudolf in the film: “Your work teaches us to see what we have been unable to see.”