The “Imperial Gardens of Russia” Fifth Annual International Festival
Venue: St. Petersburg, Mikhailovsky garden (the State Russian Museum territory)
The “Imperial Gardens of Russia” International Festival is a unique project of the State Russian Museum, started in 2008. The “EKATERINA” Cultural Foundation has become a general partner of the Russian Museum in this project since 2009.
The Festival is held under the patronage of the Governor of St. Petersburg and her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent.
The unique by its landscape and architecture Mikhailovsky garden is an annually unchangeable place for organizing the Festival. The garden presents a unitary ensemble with the Mikhailovsky palace (The main depository and exhibition hall for the art treasures of the State Russian Museum), it shows a unique combination of two different styles of landscape design on the same territory – the “French” and the “English” styles, and it has over 200 years of history.
The Festival, which combines the idea of a museum, the idea of a contest and that of organizing a cultural weekend for the citizens, enjoyed great success with the citizens and guests of St. Petersburg. About 70 thousand visitors come to see the Imperial Gardens of Mikhailovsky every year.
The main event of the Festival is the exhibition-contest of landscape design. In 2008 the garden saw a contest named “Entertainment and Decoration of the Imperial Gardens of 18th – 19th centuries”, which presented original compositions and ensembles, including garden figures made of blossoming flowers, bushes and turf.
In 2009 the contest was dedicated to the theme of labyrinth. Labyrinths alluding to the Greek myth about Minotaur and Theseus were favorite elements of landscape design in history. During the contest the designers revealed the highest flight of fantasy. The labyrinths were made not only of bushes cut in a special way. Some of them, made of different other materials were created directly on the surface of the Mikhailovsky garden’s lake.
In 2010 the “Imperial Gardens of Russia” Festival was officially included in the “Year of Russia and France, 2010” program that is why the exhibition-contest which was held that year was named “French Garden on the Banks of the Neva”. That year the Festival and the exhibition-contest were dedicated to French parks and the gardening art.
In 2011 the Festival was included in the “Year of Russia and Italy, 2011” program. The Forth International Festival as well as the exhibition-context named “Italian Midday” were dedicated to the history and traditions of Italian parks and the gardening art.
From June 8 to June 17, 2012 the Fifth International Festival was held in Saint-Petersburg. The main concept of the large-scale landscape design exhibition of 2012 year named “What Is the Beginning of Motherland” was connected with the celebrating of the anniversary of the origin of Russian statehood.
The Sixth Annual International Festival "The Imperial Gardens of Russia" and the exhibition-contest, organized in the frames of the Festival have got unusual name "Plantomania". "Plantomania" was the word used by Catherine the Great when speaking of her love of plants and gardening in general. According to Catherine the Great’s letters she used to dig in the garden with a small spade by herself, the Empress has also hand copied hundreds of pages from an English treatise on gardening. The participants of the exhibition-contest 2013 implemented the main ideas of the English Garden on the territory of Mikhailovsly Garden.