First Russian garden designer at Chelsea to tackle Fresh Garden

Russian garden designer Tatyana Goltsova will make her debut at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016, with The Imperial Garden: Revive, exploring the complex relationships between Russia, Ukraine and the UK.

Artist's impression of Imperial Garden: Revive. Image: Supplied
Artist's impression of Imperial Garden: Revive. Image: Supplied

Goltsova, who runs a successful garden design practice in Moscow, is the first Russian garden designer to exhibit in the 'Fresh Garden' category and only the second Russian designer to have created a garden at Chelsea.

The Imperial Garden: Revive, considers what could happen if politics was removed from the world and as humans we all took a step back and focused on what unites us. This is explored through the analogy of two contrasting areas in the garden which move from a natural wilderness area of wilderness through to a man-made, manicured and controlled space.

Central to the garden is the symbolic theme of lace, which has a long tradition in the Slavic States and is represented throughout the garden by over 600kg of crafted aluminium lace, which weaves its way through both sides of the garden.

The second focal point is an arching bronze figurative water feature "River of Time". Both have been created by Ukrainian sculptor Victoria Chichinadze.

The lace starts out as tree trunks, woven through the trunk of a large multi-stemmed yew tree. Within the tree canopy sits a clock which moves anti-clockwise. The lace then continues its passage through the garden to climb up and over the bronze sculpture, before meeting the water and cascading down into a pond below, eventually providing a swirling seating area.

Tightly clipped mounds of yew play the lead role in the planting, supported by pockets of herbaceous perennials including astrantia, alliums, thyme, ferns and the rush Equisetum hyemale. The plants are being sponsored by the Lorberg nursery in Germany.

Goltsova said, "For me exhibiting at RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been a dream, which I have planned for over five years. Chelsea provides a world stage to design a garden which is not just visually stunning, but which also enables me to express a deeper message about how we can revive peace and harmony in the world."

She added that the making of the garden is an example of achieving harmony between different nations.

"I am Russian, Victoria the sculptor is Ukrainian, our contractor is British and our trees and shrubs are from Germany. We have all worked well together, united in our desire to create this beautiful space."

Contractors Gardenlink will build the garden. Managing director Dan Flynn said: "We are delighted to be involved in this exciting international garden which stood out as having the potential to be a very special garden."

The garden's sponsor is Imperial Garden, the largest garden centre in Russia. Director-general Igor Efimkin said: "One of our key business goals has always been to help Russian landscapers reach the highest levels in horticulture. So we were delighted to be supporting Tatyana with this inspiring garden at what is undoubtedly the most prestigious flower show in the world."

Following Chelsea the garden will travel back to Russia where it will appear at the Moscow Flower Show.

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