Do you have a garden with plants and flowers? Or is your outdoor area paved and concreted?
Or maybe you live in a flat and don’t have a garden at all. Maybe you have a balcony garden, or only indoor plants, like I have.
One thing (of many!) I love about living in Russia is that there are some very old-fashioned traditions that are still sometimes observed. We looked at some old-style clothes drying techniques in this post.
Today I’m going to show you some of the rather delightful, old-school, and simply cute, gardens, garden beds and planters that I’ve seen while living here. And while a lot of the photos here show only snow or weeds in the garden, let me assure you that come spring, they are filled with colourful flowers!
Moscow is a very old city, although recently it’s been through a process of ‘modernisation’, especially in the centre. And, while that’s meant out with the old, in with the new for a lot of things, it seems that some old-fashioned planters are still standing.
Let’s look at some of them. They appear to be made of concrete. They’re usually painted every year to freshen them up, although sometimes this doesn’t happen and they end up looking quite neglected.
Every spring the workers get to work and plant flowering plants in them. And, despite the age of these planters and the bad paint job, I find them very colourful and quaint. Even when they are painted, the paint jobs aren’t the best and they’re still not quite as ‘perfect’ as they could be! But they do add some charm to the neighbourhood.
The following two planters aren’t in Moscow, they’re in a town called Nizhny Novgorod. They are really old and the design isn’t one that’s seen these days. However, as you can see, they’ve been neglected and now just have weeds growing in them.
Now let’s look at actual garden beds. We all live in flats here, so we have a lot of buildings with garden beds around them. Once again, every spring these garden beds are refreshed and planted with new life. Most of the plants from the previous year have been destroyed by living under the snow for several months.
And then, at the beginning of spring, the work begins. Someone, often a woman and usually not so young, starts cleaning the ground and plants an array of different flowers in the garden bed. She’s not paid for this, it’s not her job. She does it because she likes gardening, and also because she wants the exterior of her building to be attractive.
And, not only flowers and plants find their way to these gardens. We can see toys, plastic items (like jugs), artificial flowers (!), and, the very traditional garden decoration, car tyres.
Tyres in the garden
But they aren’t just old black car tyres. They’ve often been painted and decorated to resemble animals or characters. Here’s some we’ve seen around Moscow and other towns and cities in Russia.
The planter below is made from a tyre, turned inside out, and cut to create this very interesting outer edge.
And, how long has it been since you’ve seen an example of the classic ‘swan’ tyre garden decoration?
It’s always fun walking around Moscow, discovering new places, and new garden ideas! Some others have been even more unique and surprising to see, like these ones.
It’s hard to see, but the border of this garden bed below is made up of plastic bottles, painted white and put upside down to create a white edge to this garden.
The following garden is a bit of a mystery. Its shape and position doesn’t really make a lot of sense – maybe it’s some new abstract art garden?
The brick border
And finally, we have the traditional brick border. These are probably the most common kind of garden border here, but they still manage to create an arty touch with their choice of colours and designs.
I love these old fashioned gardens, they’re much more ‘fun’ than the sleek, modern planters and designers gardens that we can see around us these days.
And what about your garden? Is it a bit wild, is it traditional, decorated with objects, or is it a modern or minimalistic style garden? Tell me about your garden!