Photo credits: Kjeld Slot
I´m an artist, graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark, but changed my career in 2005 to be a garden- and landscapemaker for private clients, after 25 years making ceramics. Since childhood, I have been working as a secret gardener in my parents and later on in my own private gardens, until the Danish Broadcast DR, in 2003 encouraged me to act as a host, making my own gardenprogramme on TV and take part as an expert in the radio, answering questions from the audience, about gardens and gardening.
I ended up my very short tv-career with a tv-portrait of the legendary Danish gardenartist Professor Carl Theodor Soerensen in 2005, because I wanted to make gardens my self, and me and my family started to plant the Ellipsegarden, and I opened my studio: Kjeld Slot – Haver & Landskaber for private clients the same year.
Since then, I have designed several gardens in different scale in Denmark; historic, residential, public, commercial spaces and contemporary smaller gardens. In 2019 I wanted to focus much more on other peoples gardens and moved from my beloved Ellipsegarden, that was honnored by the Landezine International Landscape Award 2020 in the category Private Gardens.
My gardens are based on the spirit of the place, plantings and the setting, and I try to make humble artistic solutions on every place I come to, where people wants to live, and of cource; in a collaboration with the owners. My gardens has to be both simple places, yet complex sites, and in our time; we have to work not only in aesthetic terms, but also as natureworkers.
The landscapearchitects I admire most:
- André le Notre
- William Kent
- Carl Theodor Soerensen
The garden that changed my life, is absolutely my own garden `The Ellipse Garden´. I learned how a garden should be linked to a specific theme, how to grow the right plants on the right place and how to maintain a bigger garden, and the importance of the gardens setting to its culture and its original historic place and invironments.
The 7000 square meter Ellipsehaverne, is one of the largest private garden projects in Denmark in recent years. It has been the private laboratory of visual artist Kjeld Slot ever since his beginning of a career as a professional landscape architect in 2004. Its design is a tribute to the classical form of the ellipse. Other inspirations for the garden were the long Danish gardening tradition and the works of modernist garden designers Gudmund Nyeland Brandt and Carl Theodor Sørensen.
The Ellipsehaverne were laid out in the winter of 2005 -2006 with 2500 Fagus sylvatica plants on a sloping field where cows used to graze, along a living wall of trees to the west. It has been an ongoing experiment with plants within a strong architectural frame. Over a decade it evolved by elements like elliptical rooms, hallways, holes, vistas, sights, topiary, axes and flowering beds in poly- and monochrome style until the garden was completed in 2018. Between 2008 and 2012 the garden has been open to the public.
Now it’s a green garden with a limited amount of plants, sandy soil, rocks and a lack of water, greatly depending on the gardeners skills. In 2018 most of the flowers had gone and the framework of walls, lines and punctuations has become the main feature of the garden. The 650 meter of beech hedge, ranging from 1,2 meter to 3 meter high, the walls, the ornamental hedges of 112 Taxus baccata and the contemporary parterre of 100 Buxus sempervirens form the skeleton of the garden.
In the future the garden can grow into a wild woodland, unbothered by scissors or saws. One day it might be cut back to the origin where its bones lies and new forms will become available. The strength of this garden is the contrast between the clipped green hedges and the shaggyness of the wild growing plants and less cared for areas, a juxtaposition all coming down to the gardener