Landscaper's 'epic style' wins restaurant awards

Hanging baskets on commercial premises have been superseded by more bespoke "crazy" designs, says landscaper Ben Emslie.

The Hertfordshire-based commercial building specialist's work at Sarastro restaurant in Covent Garden won Best Commercial Green Corner at London's Green Corners Awards recently.

Emslie said: "(The planting) definitely brings more customers in. It's an epic style. We convert a building to make it green and do something special. It's beyond hanging baskets. I just go crazy."

The landscaper works on 150 sites in London and grows many of his plants at his Hoddesdon base.

Sarastro also won categories in Westminster in Bloom and the London Garden Society for this year, and Emslie has claimed 30 other prizes for his work in 2008. Next he hopes to show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Sarastro after a gardening project in Vietnam.

Richard Niazi has owned Sarastro for 17 years and pays for several buildings in the Drury Lane area to be planted up. Sarastro marketing manager Chris Horton said: "The owner wants to inspire others to do similar things."

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