Garden Museum to showcase Dutch design

The Garden Museum is to hold a new exhibition called Going Dutch, from 5 October 2010 to February 2011, to showcase the 1990s Dutch Wave style that was based on ecology, habitat planting and perennials.

The exhibition features two Dutch designers - Henk Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf - and investigates their influence on contemporary designers both in Britain and around the world.

Museum director Christopher Woodward said: "We wanted to understand why it's the Dutch - not the French or Italians, Germans or Americans - who have transformed the British approach to gardens and plants in the past 15 years.

"The Dutch are the world's best gardeners. We tell ourselves in England that we are a 'nation of gardeners' but if you cycle around Amsterdam or explore a little Dutch town you will see much more original design - and much better plantsmanship."

Woodward added: "It's easiest to think of their impact when you see grasses mixed with perennials, or the longer season - such as leaving dead seed heads in September. But it was a bigger change than that. We discovered habitat planting through the Dutch. Until the sell-out Kew Conference in 1995, Beth Chatto and the young Dan Pearson were the only designers attuned to their ecological approach.

"The Dutch Wave challenged the English pictorial approach that a garden should be like a pretty watercolour painting."

Gerritsen, who died in 2008, designed the garden at Waltham Place, Berkshire.

Oudolf's gardens include Bury Court in Hampshire, the walled garden at Scampston Hall, Yorkshire, borders at RHS Wisley, Surrey. He collaborated with Arne Maynard in a garden at Chelsea in 2000 and with Tom Stuart-Smith at Trentham Hall, Staffordshire. His garden at the 2010 Venice Biennale will be the first event exhibit by a garden designer at the Biennale.

On 27-28 October there will be events with speakers including Oudolf, Stuart-Smith, Tania Compton and Jacqueline van der Kloet.

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