Archive for Czerwiec, 2010

… and the gardeners like animals!

Czerwiec 22, 2010 00:35
posted by Marta

The plants do not go to a hairdresser, however, sometimes a hairdresser comes to them. The art of trimming trees and shrubs to achieve certain, sometimes really elaborate shapes has been known since the times of Ancient Rome. Plants shaped like that are called  „opus topiarum” – topiary. This art was hugely popular in the Renaissance, started to decline though with the growing popularity of landscape gardens in XVIII century. It was also fashionable in China and Japan, albeit in a slightly different form. It came back to Europe in a reign of  glory in the XIX century and is still visible here and there today. The trimmed plants are often placed in places designed for children. Here animals’ shapes are often used – and that’s what I would like to write about today!

I noticed that the fashion for animal shaped plant sculptures is doing well – especially in the UK, but definitely not only there.

While browsing the web today I found a wonderful whale from a sleepy seaside town in Kent. The impressive animal was made by a lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, Nicki Leggatt. One can argue about tastefulness of such objects, but one cannot deny the time and patience needed to achieve such a spectacular effect. The owner started to prune it from an overgrown privet hedge in 2003. now she’s growing its tail. I, personally, find it endearing!

You can find the full article here:

Animals appear also in English parks, for example the lion and the peacock from the castle park in Colchester, Essex.

A Dangerous Lion

A Proud Peacock

It’s worth noting that where the lion is traditionally sculpted from a box shrub, the peacock has its tail made of flowers. Definitely such objects enrich the park for the visitors and attract the children.

Finally, I found some sculptures in the zoo – where they seem to fit really well. The squirrel and the dog (or IS IT a dog?) welcome the visitors to the Budapest Zoo, that I visited  a few weeks ago. The decorations add to the attractiveness of the garden, especially for the children. They are not as impressive as the whale from Kent, but still nicely introducing the aim of the park to the visitors.

A squirrel among the flowers

I suppose it’s a dog…

And finally,  opus topiarum for the XXth century – the moss sculptures. You can see them here:

Have a nice sculpting!

The animals enjoy greenery as well!

Czerwiec 7, 2010 19:36
posted by Marta

However overworked, I finally found some time to update my blog and write a few words about the 10th Anniversary Conference of EAZA Zoohorticultural Group in Budapest, Hungary.

For those of you who are not familiar with the subject, I  will start with a short explanation. In short, all good zoos in Europe belong to the EAZA, which stands for European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. This organisation groups the zoological gardens together ; helping them with mutual cooperation, dealing with breeding programmes, keeping issues and all the other important and complicated subjects. Those of you who are interested should visit .

Why am I writing about it? 10 years ago some people working in the zoos, but dealing with plants and exhibitions design decided that their role is important and they should organise their own, separate conference. Since than the group meets every year in May, talking, sharing new projects and experiences and trying to mark their presence  and the importance of plants in zoological gardens.

This year the conference was held in Budapest in the last week of May. Apart from presentations, speeches and discussions, all very wise and educational, the guests were welcome with truly Hungarian spirit – given palinka and Tokay, fed plenty of goulash and finally forced to learn some traditional Hungarian dances (although after palinka no one had to be truly forced to dance anymore).

The presentations included, among many others, the new masterplan for the Paris zoo and a very entertaining presentation of the new Arctica exhibit in Rotterdam zoo. The author of this blog shyly presented her design of the greenery for the new elephant house in Poznan New Zoo (you can find it in portfolio section).

The development of landscape architecture in zoos is of huge importance for our gardens, which are now more and more seen as tourist attractions, and therefore given more funds for development. We can observe it as the elephant house in Poznań, investments in Wrocław or even revitalisation of  Toruń Zoo. I must add that I had my part in this latest development. The drawing will be available in portfolio after the tender is finished.

For now, please enjoy a few pictures from Budapest  – they show a ring-tailed lemur sculpture and its living counterpart and the new and very green gorilla exhibit in Budapest Zoo.

Please support your local zoological gardens!

P.S. In few days time there will be more drawings of current designs available in the portfolio section.

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Jadorna Green Area Design Marta Ratajszczak
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