New Perennials: A Love Story

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“New Perennials: A Love Story” is a personal introduction to the design principles of the New Perennialists who gave rise to the hottest gardening trend in the world today—naturalistic landscaping. In the US, their influence can be seen in New York’s High Line, Chicago’s Lurie Garden, the Oudolf Meadow at Delaware Botanic Gardens, and Oudolf Garden Detroit. My 6 years of research on these gardens (among many others) led to my own, highly unusual New Perennial garden and the only known database of New Perennial plant combinations. Part 1 traces my discovery of their work, my research on their plant combinations, and my use of that research to create a garden in the New Perennialist style. Part 2 explores the historical context in which they emerged. And Part 3 provides an introduction to their design principles—particularly a new concept of structure and a special balance between coherence and contrast that approximates nature’s own. At the end of my talk. I offer home gardeners (and pros as well) some practical “dos & don’ts” for solving the problem of excessive contrast.


Deborah Chud is a retired Massachusetts physician turned garden maker, consultant and educator. Her five years of research on the gardens of the most prominent New Perennialists have generated the most comprehensive existing database of their plant combinations. In the fall of 2020, she presented her work at an international event organized by Piet Oudolf’s co-author, Noel Kingsbury, under the aegis of She has also presented to members of the following institutions and organizations: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C., the Ecological Landscape Alliance, the Northwest Perennial Alliance, Toronto Botanical Garden, and Delaware Botanic Gardens.


This program will be offered via Zoom. Participants registered here will receive an email with details on how to access the meeting the day before the event. If you have any questions, please contact Sophia McKissick at

Co-sponsored with the Master Gardeners of Tompkins County.