What is a perennial meadow?

Let me make a start with a simple example of a perennial meadow. This is one of the planting areas created last year for a garden within the courtyard of an old people’s home in the centre of Amsterdam. The large irregular pond was already there and it would have cost far too much to tear it out and replace it with something more appropriate. The solution was to create a series of rectilinear planting areas with long straight sides that tied the garden in with the buildings that surrounded it.

Perennial Meadow, city courtyard

The original garden had an irregular, wild form, presumably created as a contrast to the formal building facade that surrounded it. It hadn’t worked, instead the garden just looked untidy. The simple shape of the new planting scheme creates logic within what is a very urban environment. Within their confines the meadows are free and naturalistic, but they are placed in context with their surroundings. Herein lies one of the fundamental principles of perennial meadows; they are used to bring people and nature into close contact with one another in a fresh and powerful model.

This year when this newly planted scheme matures it will fill the garden with an exciting field of colour that flowers spectacularly, moves with the wind and rain and reacts with the seasons. The aim is to offer something new to look at all year round. Perennial plants are ideal for this all and as this site develops and with your help we will attempt to find schemes suited to a wide range of garden settings that do just that.

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