During the most spontaneous sequence in Five Seasons, the accomplished garden designer Piet Oudolf is driving through Texas Hill Country to see the wildflowers, and gobsmacked by their beauty. “Just like paintings,” he enthuses. The same could be said of his influential work, although his preference is for perennials that aren’t conventionally pretty, and palettes that consider grays and browns colors too – a wabi-sabi approach to gardens that embraces not just bright blossoms but decay.
As he follows Oudolf’s travels through Europe and the States to completed projects and works-in-progress, director Thomas Piper illuminates the striking, seemingly rough-hewn beauty of his subject’s landscapes. […] Piper opens the film, intriguingly, with the scratch of markers on drafting paper as Oudolf sketches a new garden plan. His multihued drawings are a delightful cross of simplicity and sophistication (and the eventual subject of an exhibition), and Piper effectively connects the studio work to the field work, when the selected shrubs and herbs and grasses are set in the ground. His emphasis on the changing seasons highlights the ways the gardens adapt and thrive.
The doc’s visions of Oudolf’s work, in gorgeous close-ups as well as from drone-photography angles and time-lapse perspectives, will undoubtedly send some viewers to his books and to the gardens themselves.
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter