Piet Oudolf – gardens to soothe the soul ++ inconjuncts – healing 12th harmonic

Gardens are a healing space in a chaotic and stressful world with Dutchman Piet Oudolf called the “Rembrandt of gardens” leading the way in designing and planting urban parks in New York, Chicago and London. He is now redesigning the Glasshouse borders at the RHS’s flagship Wisley garden in England. He is one of the most influential gardeners of modern times  bringing a sense of wilderness into cultivated settings with  grasses and structural plants. He believes design is about the “movement, the flow of colour, the light ­filtering through” the grasses, the “energy of growth”, but also the cycle of life and death. He leaves the “skeletons” – the seedheads – to provide strong visual interest throughout the winter.

  Surprisingly, for a creator who is drawn to willowy grasses and a misty, soft focus look, he has a hard, determined chart. Born 27 October 1944 in Haarlem, NL, he is a Sun, Mercury, Mars in Scorpio square Pluto and trine Saturn. He does have a flowing Pisces Moon probably square Venus; and his Neptune is heavily aspected attracting him to sweeping images.

 Several prominent gardeners have early Scorpio planets which fits with Charles Carter’s degree equivalences in which he lists 6 degrees Scorpio as love of soil.

 Many other gardeners’ charts have Taurus planets which is the sign most often associated with nature and design.  TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, 2 May 1949, has his Sun, Venus and Mars in Taurus.  Interior and garden designer David Hicks, 25 March 1929, had Venus Jupiter, North Node in Taurus.

   Susana Walton, 30 August 1926, wife of composer Sir William, who designed the famous La Mortella gardens in Ischia, Italy, had Mars in Taurus opposition a Scorpio Moon Saturn square Neptune opposition Jupiter. Like Gertrude Jekyll, she had Jupiter in Aquarius, in her case, doubly emphasized being on the focal point of a yod inconjunct Sun sextile Pluto.  Alan Titchmarsh also has Jupiter in Aquarius on the focal point of a yod to Saturn sextile Uranus.

 Trying to trace similarities in gardeners’ charts there are several with inconjuncts – and three in particular Susana Walton, Beth Chatto and Vita Sackville West had Uranus inconjunct Neptune. With two others also having strong Uranus Neptune aspects.

  Pluto features strongly as well which makes sense of trying to exert control over plants and designs.

 Many of the gardeners’ charts have challenging aspects suggesting they are/were high stress personalities who found an outlet in gardening. The TV gardener and author Monty Don, 8 July 1955, has often talked of his mental health problems and how much gardening has been his saviour. He, like Beth Chatto, is a Sun Cancer with Venus also in Cancer and Uranus Mars in Cancer square Neptune. His Mercury in chatty Gemini is trine Neptune and sextile Pluto.

 Susan Walton took up gardening to give her an occupation when her much older (and none too faithful husband) shut himself away composing. Vita Sackville-West found solace in gardening in the midst of and after a tumultuous love life. See post 17 March 2024. She had Uranus inconjunct Pluto Neptune; a revved up Mars – and significantly a Taurus North Node which would appreciate the calming influence of nature and plants.

A respite from a depressing world.

ADD ON: Inconjuncts and yods are reflected in the 12th harmonic which is the victim/healer harmonic. It is strong in doctors charts. The 150 degree angles are constantly trying to find a way of merging incompatible elements to reduce discomfort. Definitely a healing drive.

  Christopher Lloyd is a case in point (thanks Jane), 2 March 2021 since his natal chart has Sun Jupiter in Pisces inconjunct Neptune in Leo. Mars in Aries inconjunct Jupiter in Virgo. Venus in Aries inconjunct Saturn in Virgo.

  He had an exceptionally strong and successful 12th harmonic with an emphasised Jupiter – and a Sun Neptune Venus link.

26 thoughts on “Piet Oudolf – gardens to soothe the soul ++ inconjuncts – healing 12th harmonic

  1. Today’s Times carries this headline “Gun-toting bad girl of gardening honoured at last” – about a new summerhouse at RHS Wisley being opened, as a belated tribute to the talented, eccentric horticulturalist Ellen Willmott. A fascinating, creative, rude, energetic character, Miss Willmott has almost 200 plants named after her and created three gardens.

    And the inconjunct appears, as if by magic! 19 August, 1858 – Sun in Leo inconjunct Neptune in Pisces; Venus in Libra inconjunct Pluto in Taurus; Saturn in Leo inconjunct NN in Pisces; a rocking Mars in Sagittarius opposing Uranus, and Saturn in Leo square Pluto in Taurus. Mercury opposed Neptune as well – so not an easy natal chart, but one which produced great determination and creativity.

    She’s also known for scattering seeds wherever she went, hence the ornamental silvery thistle (?) called Miss Wilmott’s Ghost. I thought that ghostly nickname was quite appropriate for someone with Sun/Neptune, Mercury/Neptune, and a potentially mystical, healing NN in Pisces.

  2. Goodness, this is fascinating (and thank you, Marjorie, for this in-depth post)! I am a former landscape architect, turned landscape manager (not as dull as it sounds, it’s the art of using and manipulating what already exists to make something new) turned permaculturalist, turned amateur (and very recently, guerilla) gardener. I checked my own 12th chart and found it dominated by a yod (Sun apex, Pluto sextile Saturn/POF). Also Neptune quincunx Jupiter and a lot of big oppositions and trines. It’s a stark and startling chart (and now I feel inspired to check out harmonic charts in general).

    • David Hamblin who was a Harmonics expert avoided the 12th since it was a ‘mixed harmonic of 3X4. But Vendla whose helpful list of numerology definitions of numbers – gives 12 as creative as well as the victim/saviour/healing vibe. It has made me wonder about creativity – as a way of joining disparate elements together.

    • Piet is Dutch, and the Netherlands records birth times, so it’s just a matter of it surfacing and a good way to compare it to your rectification.

  3. I don’t know if it is still the case, but gardening along with basket weaving and painting and drawing and writing were used as therapy tools many years ago.

    • I used to run a therapy project in a hospital for psychiatric patients and we offered them gardening, arts and crafts, music and movement, creative writing and local history among other activities. We also designed and created a new sensory garden with murals of local scenes with the help of local volunteers and business people. We all really loved our work and the patients felt a lot better for it.

    • I forgot to mention I also offered the patients astrology sessions if they requested it. They found the subject fascinating and were thrilled to see their birth charts. Patients in psychiatric wards are often Sectioned and obliged to stay as in-patients for at least 28 days for observation and for their safety and the safety of others. They got bored and frustrated and learning about astrology gave them an interest and offered insight.

      • Thanks Rohanna (lovely name!) It is good to know that people are given projects that they can look forward to. I have a feeling that you were very good at your job.

  4. Piet Oudolf’s work is wonderful, like painting with plants. Thanks for featuring him, Marjorie, and also all the others. I know Monty Don was also creative as a jewellery designer, and like many of the most interesting well-known gardeners is self-taught or, as some like to sniff, ‘amateur’!

    I was interested in what you said about inconjuncts –

    “Trying to trace similarities in gardeners’ charts there are several with inconjuncts – and three in particular Susana Walton, Beth Chatto and Vita Sackville West had Uranus inconjunct Neptune.”

    I looked up my Mum’s favourite, Margery Fish, 5 August 1892. She was also a journalist and author of a number of books, an independent soul who must have been quite tough and determined at the time – a woman working in what was still very much a man’s world. Anyway, she has a yod with Mercury in Virgo, Venus in Cancer, and Mars in Aquarius. She also has Saturn in Virgo inconjunct Jupiter in Aries. Sun opposes Mars, aspecting her Neptune/Pluto conjunction in Gemini. Yes, the North Node is in Taurus, making a t-square with that Sun/Mars opposition. Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Uranus in Scorpio, somehow appropriate for a creative person who wanted to upend some of the favoured horticultual formality of the time.

    Margery Fish’s designs were all about a wild kind of cottage garden style writ large, a garden that didn’t require permanent gardeners to be employed (as at Sissinghurst, for instance). She seems to have had a challenging marriage to an older man, and the abundance of her Lambrook Manor gardens may have offered an outlet. The couple disagreed on her choices, but she was able to fully express herself once she was a widow.

    In our current troubled times, gardening and even just looking at gardens, is certainly a respite as you say – and a joy too.

    • I think you are onto something with the inconjuncts and gardening. It’s both interesting and inspiring to see a range of inconjunct aspects working out through the practical art of gardening. Possibly cooking or other practical arts and crafts might offer something similar?

      I checked Christopher Lloyd, 2 March 1921 – author, and well-known gardener who loved using exuberant swathes of colour, and was influenced by Gertrude Jekyll. His Pisces Sun was inconjunct Leo Neptune. Aries Mars inconjunct Jupiter in Virgo. Aries Venus inconjunct Saturn in Virgo, Mercury in Pisces inconjunct Neptune too – amongst other interesting tensions in his chart. Only the Moon’s Nodes are in air, in Libra.

      “Never let your gardening become stereotyped and never take a plant or group of plants in your garden for granted. Even shrubs should be put through the hoop at regular intervals, and with annuals it a crime to grow the same kinds in the same place year after year … ”
      ( Christopher Lloyd – The Well-Tempered Garden) This quote might express his Mars in Aries conjunct Chiron, trine Neptune in Leo but also square Pluto in Cancer!

      • Thanks Jane. It prodded me into exploring it further – and the 12th harmonic does make sense of it. Have added above.

        • Thanks for adding the harmonics Marjorie. I like the healing meaning, something powerful there I feel. Yods and inconjuncts aren’t easy (as I know from my own chart!) but do seem to offer energy and inspiration too. The old ‘it’s the grit in the oyster that makes the pearl’ saying might describe them? Or the struggles of a butterfly fighting to emerge from a chrysalis? I’ve met two people born on my own birthday and year, both professional gardeners. I am very much an amateur, but have loved it all since childhood.
          I’m now wondering about the transiting yods and inconjuncts. We have discussed them a bit on here, and I begin to think they have more significance than I used to imagine.

          • Transiting and mixed Solar Arc yods are not something I would have paid much attention to as far too obscure until I got a Progressed yod recently and it has certainly fitted the paradigm. I’m still waiting for the AHA moment but nearly there.

          • Good luck with the Aha! moment, Marjorie. I began to notice the transiting yod thing fairly recently, having more or less ignored the idea. However, it made such sense once I realised and backed up something else in the SA. I often fail to look at my own astrology in any depth.

  5. Piet and Susanna share the Cancer North Node – from Astro-Seek:

    “North Node in Cancer brings the conflict between family and profession, home and public, proximity and distance, inner experience and external obligations.

    These people need to find happiness in their family and in their spiritual life. They need to be interested in their family, roots, nation and homeland. They also need to turn to their own feelings and emotional needs, to their inner world and mental images.

    Watch out for exaggerated ambition and external recognition instead of developing inner peace.”

    • Perhaps Piet and Susanna have found a way to harmonize that Cancer North Node ‘conflict’ by being creative in an art form that is so public and accessible.
      Is that not why we value great Art like Piet’s gardens, or JS Bach or Mozart or Renoir, so highly, because they manage to do something extraordinary, they make the impossible possible.

    • Hm I would not necessarily agree with this interpretation, at least put as narrowly as this. A Cancer North Node to me is about becoming the feeding hands for others, nurturing perhaps through career or outer activities – and yes coming to terms with family as well.

      • Marjorie, not sure if you are responding to El Aznar or me, if not me then do you think that what I have suggested about them creating something “nurturing” for the public makes any kind of sense, if Art can be said to nurture us ?

        • Sorry yes it was a comment about the Astro-seek interpretation. Absolutely art has a nurturing and healing role since it speaks to part of us that gets too little attention, away from the hustle and bustle, nuts and bolts of everyday living.
          When I was down I used to wander round the Tate and look at Turner’s skyscapes which were very soothing.

          Art therapy isn’t just about patients healing psychological problems by painting – artists do it for society. Look at Brancusi and the war memorials after First War which were healing for those left behind.

          • JW Turner had two inconjuncts – Mars to Pluto and Sun to Saturn – and a notable 12th harmonic. So a healing energy.

          • That’s interesting, thank you.
            I like Turner too, and I would say there’s some similarity with Piet Oudolf’s soft focus, sweeping forms.

          • Marjorie et all I do so agree that art, music and drama can have such an uplifting benefit. I am at present watching a tv series, This Town, about the lives of young people growing up in sink states in the 70s and have found it unbearably moving in the way their lives take shape in the most negative circumstances, something that one can connect at a human level.

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