When one enters Chicago’s Lurie Garden, you are immediately swept to the fields of Provence or some charming European village with overgrown grasses and flowers meticulously kept unmanicured. I like to think of this sort of design as controlled chaos; while there appears to be this effortlessness, a lot of time and energy goes into creating this “wild” and whimsical aesthetic. My favorite landscape architect, Piet Oudolf, is the mastermind behind Lurie Garden- as well NYC’s High Line and many other beautiful gardens globally. Most landscape architects will choose shrubs for their low maintenance and clean lines but Oudolf combines perennials, which all bloom at different seasons, so we have year-round access to this hidden gem.
The moment I walked into Lurie Garden, it was as though I found a “secret garden” or rather an oasis of serenity within the busy downtown Millennium Park. While relatively small in size, I found myself struck by the inherent beauty of the seasonal change and spent hours studying Oudolf’s choices- which are thankfully written on stakes in the ground. My husband and I hope to have the space for a large garden one day and aspire to create a Piet Oudolf experience because it is truly an experience being amid his work.
Sitting on a small bench on the outskirts of the garden, all I want to do is stay to watch the seasons change and to be inspired by each new story Piet Oudolf tells. He is an artist but instead of looking at his work in a museum, you get the privilege of living in his actualized dream.