July is a great month to go out and enjoy the outdoors! Take a few minutes on this hot summer day to be inspired by the work of Piet Oudolf, a visionary landscape artist. Oudolf embraced sustainable and ecological planting long before it became a mainstream concern, and in the process created his own strong and beautiful aesthetic.
Plants in designed landscapes may even play a role in conservation. The graphic qualities of the royal fern (Osmunda regalis) are used here in a private garden (Dyffryn Fernant, Pembrokeshire, Wales), creating visual weight amongst a mass of finer foliage. This species is now very rare in the wild but extremely long-lived, making it a good landscape plant.
A meadow of the US native grass Sporobolus heterolepis in a garden on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, includes Echinacea purpurea, a species which has become something of a poster boy for native plants.