Take a Seasonal Walk

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Tulips in full bloom along the Seasonal Walk at The New York Botanical Garden.
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Designer Jacqueline van der Kloet distributes tulip bulbs along the Seasonal Walk at The New York Botanical Garden.
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Alliums begin to show along the Seasonal Walk at The New York Botanical Garden.
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An incredible disply of color along the Seasonal Walk at The New York Botanical Garden.

Want to team up with Piet Oudolf? Train with Jacqueline van der Kloet? Now, via a new website, you can join these Dutch landscape design superstars in an online rollout of their landmark collaborative Seasonal Walk installation at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The designers’ highly naturalistic concept, sophisticated plant mixes and artistic interplay of form and color are causing real excitement at the garden, where many are referring to the design as “pure genius.”

The Seasonal Walk Chronicles website offers a first-ever online opportunity to track a conceptual landscape design as it matures and evolves over a full growing season. The website is a teaching tool, featuring how-to sections detailing the design team’s innovative planting techniques and their stellar plant combinations. Visitors should find abundant ideas there, large and small.

Via bi-weekly Chronicles and Picture Galleries, the site allows visitors to focus on “what’s happening now” in the garden, while revisiting the evolution of different plant combinations and sequences over the seasons. 

Documenting the site are two award-winning gardening professionals, writer Tovah Martin and photographer Rob Cardillo. Martin captures the plant and design interplay via evocative on-the-scene report. Her chronicles also incorporate design observations from the two designers and hands-on execution notes from the New York Botanical Garden’s crack team of gardeners. Cardillo contributes lush photography that visually documents the sophisticated design as it unfolds, including occasional unexpected contributions from Mother Nature.

Already posted are the November planting, and the spring and early summer seasons. Next comes the intricate dance of flowers, foliage and form over summer, into fall and winter. Visitors may want to bookmark the site for repeat visits as new Chronicles, Plant Combinations and Picture Galleries will be posted every few weeks from now through November.

Piet Oudolf of Hummelo, Netherlands, is famed for his artful uses of perennials. His influential New Wave planting style features naturalistic combinations of native plants, perennials, grasses, bulbs and other plant material used to create harmonious landscapes that evolve over the seasons as landscapes do in nature. Jacqueline van der Kloet of Weesp, Netherlands, is known for stylish, eclectic designs with inspired, often impish, mixes of perennials and flower bulbs with blooming shrubs and trees. Her gardens have a relaxed random feel that belies the artistry behind her plant placement.

Only twice before have the two Dutch designers put their skills together in projects. Both were in the United States: in 2006 at Manhattan’s Battery Park and in 2007 at The Lurie Garden in Millennium Park in Chicago. The New York Botanical Garden’s Seasonal Walk is the first garden anywhere that the duo has designed together from scratch.

The New York Botanical Garden’s Seasonal Walk is a broad garden path running between two wide borders adjacent to the glorious glass-domed Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The Oudolf-van der Kloet design project and installation is a collaborative project of The New York Botanical Garden and the Internationaal Bloembollen Centrum, Hillegom, Netherlands. The Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center in Danby, Vermont, created the Seasonal Walk Chronicles project and website.