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“Wild By Design Since 2009” – The High Line Celebrates its 15th Anniversary with Spotlight on Piet Oudolf

@ Lawrence Sumulong. Courtesy the High Line
@ Andrew Frasz. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line
@ Liz Ligon. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line
@ Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line
@ Friends of the High Line

Mon, Jun 3 - Mon, Sep 30  2024

High Line, from Gansevoort Street to Hudson Yards, NYC

During this milestone year celebrating 15 years since the opening of the park, the High Line annual Horticulture Celebration is spotlighting the incredible work of Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf, who translated the magic of the self-seeded landscape of the derelict railway into what you see today.

Nearly 20 years ago, as Friends of the High Line looked to transform the High Line into public open space, the goals was to preserve the magic of the untamed landscape that had grown over the tracks and between the rail ties since the trains stopped running. During the design competition in 2004, one proposal stood out in its approach: project lead Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro partnered with iconic garden designer Piet Oudolf to take inspiration from the High Line’s original self-seeded landscape to create a stunning, multi-layered garden experience evocative of nature.

Visit the High Line and follow horticulture signs throughout the park to learn more about Piet Oudolf’s original designs, favorite plants, and more.

There are many Piet Oudolf naturalistic—or nature-inspired—garden designs around the world, but the High Line is widely recognized as the most emblematic of his unique artistry. As a leading pioneer in the New Perennial movement, Oudolf has spent decades creating garden compositions that focus on what were revolutionary ideas in the beginning: the use of perennials instead of annuals, an appreciation of plants’ movement and structural beauty across all four seasons, and combinations of plants that take inspiration from naturally occurring plant communities.

As Oudolf himself says, “A garden is never done.” In the 15 years since the park opened, the gardens have grown and evolved under the skilled guidance of the park’s horticulturists. Oudolf’s original vision has been shepherded and expanded upon with intention—more native plants have been incorporates, how to better support pollinators and birds has been explored, and the complex gardens and skills of the horticulturists have been used as learning tools to prepare the next generation of horticulture professionals. Every day, the High Line is not only aiming to keep the park true to Oudolf’s artistry, it is also striving to create a sustainable green space with broad positive impacts for New York City.

About Piet Oudolf

Piet Oudolf is a Dutch garden designer, nurseryman, and author. He is a leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement–his designs and plant compositions are known for using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses, which are chosen for their four-season interest, including flower color and seed structure. Piet Oudolf’s vision and expertise continue to shape the ongoing evolution of the High Line’s landscape.


Lead support for Horticulture on the High Line is provided by Amanda M. Burden.

Program support for Horticulture on the High Line is provided by Con Edison and Greenacre Foundation, with additional support from The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust.

The Wild by Design Horticulture Celebration is supported as part of the DutchCultureUSA FUTURE 400 program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Wild by Design and FUTURE 400

FUTURE 400’s theme of reconsidering the past for the purposes of the future resonates with the ethos of New York’s High Line—a formerly abandoned 1930s viaduct reconceived as verdant public space. In 2024, as the High Line marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Friends of the High Line and the 15th birthday of the park, its cornerstone annual horticulture celebration will focus on iconic garden designer Piet Oudolf’s role in creating the High Line’s gardens and how its horticulturists are shepherding that vision into the future. Oudolf is one of the world’s most revered plantsmen, and the High Line is emblematic of his unique artistry and his pioneering naturalistic—or nature-inspired—approach, which is a revolutionary departure from traditional garden design. Throughout the year, the High Line invites visitors and neighbors to delve into Oudolf’s design approach and his favorite grasses and perennials through on-site signage, a printed brochure, and on- and off-site programming for all ages—including a public talk with Oudolf himself.

DutchCulture USA