Pe­tra’s gar­dens

ELLE Decor (Italy) - - English Text - by Pao­la Ca­ri­ma­ti — pho­tos by Ca­mil­la Fer­ra­ri wi­th the col­la­bo­ra­tion of Fran­ce­sca Be­ne­det­to

A hun­dred thou­sand squa­re me­tres of pu­re emo­tion in Mi­lan. The Li­bra­ry of Trees by land­sca­pe de­si­gner Pe­tra Blais­se: a sur­pri­sing bo­ta­ni­cal park open to the pu­blic even at night. Whe­re trees act as the na­tu­ral bac­k­drop in de­si­gning the spa­ce The Li­bra­ry of Trees is the pu­blic gar­den co­ve­ring around a hun­dred thou­sand squa­re me­tres crea­ted in Mi­lan by the Dut­ch land­sca­pe de­si­gner Pe­tra Blais­se. This is the fir­st bo­ta­ni­cal park in the Lom­bard ca­pi­tal: a sur­pri­sing in­ter­ven­tion sup­por­ted by the Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty and by Coi­ma and The Ric­car­do Ca­tel­la Foun­da­tion. The pro­ta­go­ni­st of a far- sighted ur­ban re­de­ve­lo­p­ment, whi­ch boasts con­tem­po­ra­ry text­book ar­chi­tec­tu­re, the Ca­tel­la fa­mi­ly will al­so ta­ke ca­re of main­te­nan­ce and sa­fe­ty. Around € 3 mil­lion is in­ve­sted eve­ry year to pre­vent ac­ts of van­da­li­sm and gua­ran­tee rou­ti­ne and spe­cial main­te­nan­ce. This is dic­ta­ted by the va­rie­ty of the eco­sy­stem, cho­sen to en­su­re the co­lours of the land­sca­pe chan­ge on a mon­thly ba­sis. The­re is mu­ch to be pre­ser­ved in this na­tu­ral ar­chi­ve, whi­ch is al­so ac­ces­si­ble at night: over 100 bo­ta­ni­cal spe­cies, 500 trees for­ming 22 cir­cu­lar fo­rests and 135,000 aro­ma­tic, aqua­tic and her­ba­ceous plan­ts, hed­ges, sh­rubs, bulbs and vi­nes. The li­nea­ri­ty of the ave­nues crea­tes a land­sca­pe wi­th an ir­re­gu­lar geo­me­try: na­tu­ral set­tings that are ho­me to 9 dif­fe­rent ty­pes of so­wing tech­ni­ques, in­clu­ding wild ef­fec­ts thanks to the in­ter­ven­tions of the fa­mous gar­den de­si­gner Piet Ou­dolf. “His sty­le is ly­ri­cal and ri­ch,” ex­plains Pe­tra, “pe­ren­nials and or­na­men­tal gras­ses crea­te wild at­mo­sphe­res that are al­ways fa­sci­na­ting,” Blais­se seems to whi­sper. De­scri­bing the cir­cu­lar fo­rests, wi­th trees li­ke walls that de­fi­ne vo­lu­mes that wel­co­me and dif­fe­rent func­tions, she says: “The­re are wee­ping wil­lo­ws for the play­ground, red ma­ples for the con­ver­sa­tion area, bir­ches for the rea­ding sec­tion. The aim is to en­su­re that tho­se who stop off in or sim­ply pass th­rou­gh the Li­bra­ry im­mer­se them­sel­ves in sounds and fra­gran­ces, sha­do­ws and co­lours, ex­pe­ri­men­ting wi­th the com­ple­xi­ty of the bio­ty­pes that ha­ve found their na­tu­ral ha­bi­tat he­re.”

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