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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Friday
Apr202012

The "Gardens of the Bank of Springfield" is a Masterpiece 

(c) Adam Woodruff + Associates Adam Woodruff is an award winning garden designer whose landscaping for the Gardens of the Bank of Springfield, Missouri has been recognized by the Perennial Plant Association, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and featured in Horticulture Magazine.

His remarkable comfort in designing with perennial plants is evident in the eye-catching photos taken of his creation. These images tell us that he is more than a garden and landscape designer. Adam Woodruff is a talented artist who uses colorful plant combinations as his medium. There is originality and vibrancy to his work and the powerfulness of his execution is rarely seen elsewhere.

The image posted above is one of ten sumptuous photographs. They illustrate an article he wrote that was reblogged on April 20, 2012 by Designers on Design, titled Commercial Seasonal Display, Part 1. Although they were intended both for commercial publicity and professional colleagues, the collection of images posted there will amaze and deeply touch all perennial garden lovers. 

In his bio, Mr. Woodruff pays homage to his mentors, Piet Oudilf and Roy Diblik. However, after seeing pictures of his work, I think we should be paying homage to Adam Woodruff himself. Isn’t it admirable when students take what they have learned from talented masters and use it to reach heights that surpass their mentors?

Unusually imaginative planting schemes give his gardens their originality. Using the term garden artisans to describe himself and his associates, the work produced by the team of Adam Woodruff + Associates is pleasurable and engaging. By combining herbaceous plants with woody ones, the resulting landscapes provide visual interest for all seasons.

A hearty Thank You to the team at Designers on Design for raising our awareness of an American treasure.

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Reader Comments (5)

With all due respect to Adam Woodruff, and to you Allan - claiming that Woodruff's work (seemingly New Perennial planting injected with a garish, expensive mix of tropical plants and bedding annuals) surpasses Piet Oudolf's is a ridiculous exaggeration.

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Holt

Peter,
Garden visitors bring a pre-existing criteria to every landscape they admire. If the work of one garden designer touches me deeper than another one does, it is not a ridiculous exaggeration for me to judge one superior to the other. It is an expression of a subjective reaction.

The initial, visceral, reaction to a garden's design, for this writer, is more important than what plants were used and how they were combined.

Tropical plants that are considered garish in one part of the world, are seen as beautiful in another.

Verbena bonariensis [the purple plant in the foreground and an annual plant in colder climates] is considered a perennial in some warmer growing zones and it is known to reseed reliably where it is not hardy.

Classifying any plant as expensive is a subjective matter. Some clients insist that only "quality plants" be used in the design of their gardens. It is true that cost matter to many gardeners, but it is not a consideration for all.

Oudolf's gardens rely heavily upon ornamental grasses, native plants, a contained palette of colors, a natural occurring chaos, and repeated matrix plantings. Not everyone finds that look appealing. While such gardens are brilliant design creations, Woodruff's gardens are more colorful and fanciful. In the end, Oudolf's wilder-looking gardens need to be intellectualized to be appreciated while Woodruff's compositions immediately touch the soul of the visitor.

In summary: There is no one universally accepted criteria for judging what is beautiful and what is not; or for deciding which garden designer is more talented than another. Therefore, my reaction to the work of Adam Woodruff is a subjective one. Isn't that what blogging is all about?

April 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterAllan

Thank you for the link, Allan! I looked at other pictures and loved them. I got some ideas for my own garden.
We used to live in Missouri before moving to the Pacific Northwest. The plants chosen for this garden go well with the Midwest hot summer. Some plants certainly bring the WOW element. Have a great week!

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

Hi Allan,

His gardens remind me a lot of Piet Oudolf's. I reread Piet's book Designing With Plants on the way up to Wisconsin, over and over it is an overwhelming philosophy of planting perennials. Each time I read it I understand a little more of what he is saying. The garden is planned but should not look planned!

Eileen

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGatsbys Gardens

I have to agree with Peter Holt on this one Im afraid. My first thought seeing the pictures was ,what hot messes! With all respect I did try and see it Allan's way but failed. They look quite similar to kindergarten projects, supervised but otherwise by children for children.

The planting schemes repel rather than inspire or draw one in. Having said that there are elements present that I would definitely take away with me and use, combinations that do certainly work but for me. These appear as though more by chance than design, random success within the whole.

Piet Oudolf's plantings and landscapes to me are far more instantly accessible. They beckon and awaken the senses and for all, children included, a universal appeal or recognition which is what makes it art, not just art, but great, iconic art.

Its not what you use, it's how you use it that counts.

IMO these "landscapes" also almost look like a spoilt child's untidy bedroom.

August 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnton

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