|"I am no longer satisfied with having planted
millions of plants. My new goal is to plant billions."
Prior to 1977 when Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden started their
firm, North Americans had seen little use of ornamental grasses.
Oehme, van Sweden Associates set out to change that and now, after 30
years, suppliers are still struggling to meet the high demand for grasses.
From the beginning the firm used grasses and perennials so effectively
that the public was immediately captivated by this refreshing, non-tradional
way of designing landscapes, often referred to as the New American
Landscape style. This approach was a departure from the traditional
lawn and foundation shrubs that dominated most homes and buildings.
This new style focussed on elements such as sound and movement, rich
textures, enhancing nature, dynamic four season interest and above all
- low maintenance. Over the years this new style has been refined to
a point where sustainable landscapes might be a more accurate
Most of these perennials are very vigorous growers and
are suited to being planted in large drifts and allowed
to fill in the spaces. When completely grown, the overall
effect is a combination of large patches of colour and texture,
producing a blend of art and nature.