The Imperial Gardens of Russia, the international festival of garden and park art, is an annual large-scale event held by the Russian Museum that takes place on its grounds, in the Mikhailovsky Garden.
The initiator and creator of the Imperial Gardens of Russia Festival is Vladimir Gusev, the Director of the Russian Museum.
The first Imperial Gardens of Russia International Festival was held from 30 May to 3 June 2008 in the Mikhailovsky Garden in celebration of the 110th anniversary of the Russian Museum. The main organizer was the Russian Museum with the support of the Prince Michael of Kent Foundation and the Union of Horticulturists of Russia. Since then, the festival has become an annual celebration for city residents and visitors, and it is also now one of St. Petersburg’s signature cultural events.
The central event of the festival is the landscaping exhibition and competition. In plots specially designated for the exhibition in the Mikhailovsky Garden, competition participants create landscaping compositions on a given topic. Each year, a working group comprised of Russian Museum staff develops a new theme and tasks for participants in the exhibition competition, as well as formulates the general plan of the entire festival, which also includes entertainment and educational activities.
The festival is designed for a wide audience. First and foremost, this audience is city residents and visitors, and it is also comprised of specialists in the sphere of landscaping and garden and park art. Along with the landscaping exhibition competition, the festival program includes a large-scale entertainment and educational program: concerts, master classes, lectures, excursions, fashion shows, and special programs for children of different ages and for adults and children with disabilities.
The choice of the Mikhailovsky Garden for the festival was no accident. The Mikhailovsky Garden is a part of the unique architectural and artistic complex of the Russian Museum and is an outstanding monument of landscaping art located in the historical center of St. Petersburg.
The Imperial Gardens of Russia Festival does not take place on a fixed date every year, but traditionally it takes place during the White Nights in the first half of June and lasts ten days.
The Imperial Gardens of Russia Festival is the first landscaping festival in Russia and is currently the only one in Northwest Russia. It stands among a number of famous landscaping festivals around the world such as: the Chelsea Flower Show, London; the Hampton Court Flower Show, England; and the International Garden Festival in Chaumont-sur-Loire, France, and others.
The festival is not a commercial project; it primarily plays a socially significant and educational role, and is supported by sponsors.
The development of the landscaping festival is extremely important for tourism, the improvement of the ecological situation in the megapolis, the creation of a school for garden and park art and landscape design, and for the sustainability of the urban environment. Together, this all creates serious potential for both cultural development and the development of the city as a whole. Its enormous popularity and positive response in the media speaks to the fact that this festival project by the museum is necessary for development, both for tourism and for ecological consciousness among city residents and visitors. Cultural events that create a higher level of aesthetics in our environment and bear educational ideas cannot happen without support from socially responsible businesses. Over the years that the festival has been held, it has acquired regular partners and sponsors that support the festival even in difficult years.
The Imperial Gardens of Russia Festival is a part of the yearly calendar of events of the St. Petersburg Committee for Culture.
In 2013, the festival was awarded the Highest Russian Award from the Russian National Prize for Landscape Architecture in the category “EVENT OF THE YEAR”.
In 2014, it took first place in the final of the National Prize in the Sphere of Cultural Tourism, the Russian Event Awards, in the category “BEST PROJECT IN THE CULTURAL SPHERE”.
For the Russian Museum, as the holder of the largest collection of Russian visual art in the world, the festival has a special significance in the addressing of such cultural and educational tasks like fostering interest in historical spaces and reinvigorating Russian garden and park art. With the opening of a new “exhibition hall” under the open sky, the Russian Museum has an additional opportunity to realize its artistic potential.
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