For patriotic Ulf Nordfjell, irrespective of where in the world he is working, the Stockholm-based landscape designer always conveys a strong flavour of Sweden in his gardens. With a strong preference for natural materials, he uses a mix of Swedish granite, steel and timber to bring his landscapes to life.
Ulf’s passion for his craft is obvious, “Gardens are to be celebrated as one of the most complex forms of culture as they unify architecture, nature and art.”
Winning Best in Show at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show in 2009, on just his second try at the prestigious event, Ulf’s design was elegant and understated. Putting a Scandinavian twist on an English cottage garden, he enjoyed using plants that are impossible to grow in Sweden’s harsh winters such as delicate pink Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’ and bearded irises.
Unmistakeably Scandinavian in design, Ulf used geometric lines to form a tapestry of simple interlocking shapes and clean lines to create a spectacular garden room. Ulf used a “two –layered planting” system whereby blocks of one signature plant dominate a grouping and are shown off by the others around it. “I don’t want them in a crowd – the plants are the stars in the garden”.
The tapestry is also divided into very specific ecological environments: dry and hot in the front, wet in the middle and shady at the back. In Sweden, where the climate is less forgiving, gardeners cannot get away with pushing the boundaries when placing plants in the garden: “right plant, right place” has to be followed to the letter.
Although Ulf follows this principle impeccably, he never lets it restrict his design. In this award winning design, he partners Campanula rotundifolia with Antennaria dioica, a delicate wildflower that grows along the roadside all across Sweden, while moisture-loving arum lilies Zantedeschia aethiopica are under planted with the Swedish wetland grass Carex rostrata, one of Ulf’s favourites.
Clearly deserving of this accolade amongst many others, we share Ulf’s passion for designing with plants at the forefront. He is certainly a favourite that we are thrilled to share.
For more on Ulf and his work, click here