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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

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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Entries in Garden Designers (2)


A Dutch-Influenced Garden: The Millennium at Pensthorpe by Piet Oudolf

Readers who have seen the book review of Designing with Plants, posted here on July 12, 2010, may already know that Piet Oudolf is one of my favorite garden designers. Yet, it is unlikely that I will ever have a landscape-as-canvas vast enough to emulate his work. What he has created can never be duplicated in the urban or suburban flower beds of my clients’ gardens. Oudolf’s work requires parklands, meadows or fields. Fortunately, there are plenty of open spaces around the world, managed or owned by visionaries, who have already invited Mr. Oudolf, a native of the Netherlands, to work his magic on their land.

Just the other day, Hermes, who blogs at Gardens of a Golden Afternoon, came across a photo essay of Dutch-influenced gardens; some designed by Oudolf, others inspired by his style. This collection of images was originally posted at the marvelous website of the Telegraph, an online version of The London Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper that supports the garden designs industry in a significant manner. From that collection, I have selected the above photograph, by Alamy, to share with my readers. It is known as the Millennium Garden, spans one acre, and is one of three gardens located in Pensthorpe, a wildlife and nature preserve in Norfolk, England. The parkland is open to the public and sells plants of all flowers that grow there. Orders are also taken for sold out varieties which are shipped to visitors when they become available.

After discovering the pictures posted by Hermes, I stumbled upon additiional images of this same garden. The photos below, taken by Andrew Lawson, have been used to illustrate an article of the Telegraph and the official site of Readers may click on any of the images on this page to link to the accredited sources.


The planting scheme of the Millennium Garden is predominantly maroon, purple and russet. Plants used include Echinacea, Monarda, Astrantia, Bronze Fennel, Astilbe, Aster and Vernonia; intermingled with a variety of golden grasses such as Deschampsia. In all, about 100 different species of perennials and over 20 types of grasses have been used. The plants are set off by tracts of open water, and explored by winding paths.

Horticultural travelers to the UK now get “more bang for their buck”. In addition to visiting the traditional English gardens, that are challenging to re create in North America, they can also study English based but Dutch-influenced gardens, planted with flowers and grasses more suitable for our climate.


Praise the Landscape Architect

I just finished planting a garden to surround a swimming pool. I hope to have pictures for my readers as soon as the client permits me to photograph the property. I came away from this project with a great sense of fulfillment because the landscape architect that had drawn up the master plan had given me generously sized flower beds to work in. These beds had been strategically placed to look their best from any spot in the outdoor living space.

Because each flower bed is located in a different area of the garden, I was able to use a different theme for each one. A Zen-type garden was planted around a wind sculpture. A rose garden was placed off to one side of the property. A perennial sun garden flanks another side of the pool, while a strip of ornamental grasses and ferns runs the length of the pool on the far side.

I have come away from this project with a great sense of accomplishment, especially since the client is so pleased with the results. However, my expertise alone is not responsible for this success; the layout determined by the landscape architect is a critical contributing factor. The home owner was wise to consult us both.

The landscape architect creates outdoor living spaces complete with patio, deck, pool, paths and pergola. This professional also designates the location of trees, lawns, shrubs and suggest only those few severely disciplined perennials that do not detract from the overall vision. Green is the most frequently used color in a landscape architect’s design. And that is where my job as a garden designer begins. In the flower beds, I introduce as much color and as many flowers as the clients need to make them happy. Unlike the landscape architects who restrict their flowers to Hosta, Daylilies, Astilbe and ground cover, my choices of plants, colors and textures are limited only by my imagination.