• Moscow Flower Show

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  • It’s not every day you’re asked to plant up a garden in Moscow…

    So, when the opportunity does arise, you make sure you take it! Quite unsure as to what expect, a team of British horticulturists, designers and sound engineers embarked on a ten-day trip to the Russian capital.

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  • I worked with the indefatigable Jamie Butterworth on a garden I designed for the Moscow Flower Show. Having given him the vaguest of briefs and a couple of photographs of the mood I was after, he set off into the wilds of Russia to find plants. The end result was exactly what I had on my head: the boy is either very talented or possessed by demons.

    James Alexander Sinclair

  • We were proud to have been asked to work on a garden at the Moscow Flower Show for James Alexander Sinclair, a British Garden designer and horticultural wizard.

    I’ve had the pleasure of working with James on a few of his projects previously, but this was the first that he truly entrusted me to plant solo. What could possibly go wrong?

    The garden was not massive in size. Nevertheless, it was a brilliant example that an outside space doesn’t need to be huge to be magical. A garden designed to stop people in their tracks, inspire, and capture the imagination of Muscovites.

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  • A series of Corten steel troughs provided the framework to the garden.

    Each of varying heights and lengths, these were staggered throughout the space and then softened through prairie style planting, holding the structure together.

    Each trough was then lined, sealed and filled with water. This is the really exciting bit. The very clever folks at Elephonic installed sub woofers beneath the water. Through some ingenious engineering, they programmed the speakers to cause the water to move, bounce, dance and vibrate. Each different sound produced a unique movement in the water: a truly amazing spectacle.

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  • The planting was natural, a composition of grasses providing movement and texture with the occasional pop of colour from a carefully positioned perennial. Hummocks of pines were used to provide structure and hold the planting together. This is a very popular plant in Russia, thanks to its immense durability and ability to survive the most extreme weather.

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  • Having never worked in Russia before, we had to very quickly adapt to the range of plants available. We spent the first few days roaming the outskirts of Moscow in search of nurseries that grow the plants we were looking for. Not as easy as we first hoped as bright bedding and bold shrubs are very much the main staple of Russian design. So, to find grasses and perennials was more challenging. Only when I showed a floriferous road verge to our host, full of natural colour and texture, did she understand what we were looking for, exclaiming: “Ah… weeds!”

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  • Some of the plants we used include the following:

    Pinus sylvestris
    Verbascum olympicum
    Calamgrostsis ‘Karl Foester’
    Salvia nemerosa ‘Caraddona
    Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’
    Alchemilla mollis
    Phlomis russeliana
    Allium schoenoprasum
    Achillea ‘Terrocatta’
    Brizia media

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