A piece of the country in a city courtyard

Saint Petersburg’s courtyards, surrounded by walls, are often known as “stone boxes”. But New St. Isaac’s landscape designer, Elena Bomash asserts “We’ll have our garden, our meadow, our little corner of living, breathing nature! We’ll have our little ecosystem at the scale of flowerbeds or, as it’s more fashionably know, our ‘mix border’.” A garden by the designer Piet Oudolf in London’s Serpentine Gallery served as inspiration for Elena.

It was decided to no longer use “one-summer” seeds but rather to opt for a diverse range of perennial plants, as is the case in nature. These include: echinacea, sage, stevia, geraniums, catnip, stonecrop, cereals etc. The plants will be left to grow wildly as they would in nature. They will flourish in line with the natural laws of self-regulation, gradually taking up the space allocated to them, whilst displacing weeds and keeping their moisture. And we will watch them steadily grow with the years, becoming more and more beautiful by the season, driven by natural strength.

Elena Bomash: “We dream that as you rush to work in the spring, you will notice sprouts peeking through the soil and on a hot summer’s day you’ll suddenly catch the scent of herbs like rosemary and sage warmed in the sun. And that in autumn you’ll note the wilting of the final stems with a hint of sadness. The meadow doesn’t know that it’s in a ‘stone box’, and just maybe we’ll also forget where we are.