Plans are in motion to install a new 1.5 acre garden that will be located in front of the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon between the bandshell and the Whitcomb Conservatory gardens.
The garden will be one of collaboration between Oudolf, Belle Isle Conservancy, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The project focused group called the Oudolf Garden Detroit will be raising $2.7 million for construction and to provide a fund for ongoing maintenance.
The Oudolf garden is still in its planning stages as installation is planned to begin in 2019.
After talking with Oudolf at a media roundtable last week, I have been thinking about all of the possibilities and how this could be great for Detroit.
9. Oudolf has over 40 years of experience designing gardens
Recently Architectural Digest said he’s among the most “influential men and women working in interior design and architecture, who are changing the world, one room, one building and one garden at a time.”
8. The garden will be a wonderful place for pollinators like butterflies, bees and birds
His gardens are wild without actually being wild. He uses a mix of native and non-native plants in his gardens.
7. Detroiters will have one more thing to compare us to Chicago and NYC
Chicago might have the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park and New York City has the High Line but we will soon have our own Oudolf garden.
6. Piet Oudolf is known for using plants that are interesting all four seasons in his gardens
So even when it is freezing outside the garden will still be interesting to look at.
5. This garden will strengthen the connection to other greenways in the city
We’ve already got an amazing Riverwalk but imagine the connection that we could have between Belle Isle and the Riverwalk or even the Dequindre Cut.
4. The location for the garden will give an underutilized part of the park a new life
I can already imagine a sitting in the garden on a warm summer day and listening to live music playing from the band shell.
3. This could just be the first park by Oudolf in the city
He played coy at the round table, but there was some talk of other projects in the future.
2. This garden could generate more interest in financial support for Belle Isle
This garden will put Detroit on the map as an international destination because Piet Oudolf is an internationally renowned garden designer.
1. We deserve it
Seriously. Belle Isle is a great space that has the potential to be a world-class draw. And beyond that, all of us who live within driving distance should be excited to come to the island. We as a region should push for the best.