The Orticola Flower Show was created for Milan in 1996. Ever since it began, Orticola has continued to be the most important Italian show for national and international specialised nurseries
Not only this, it has also dedicated its proceeds to greening the city for the last 25 years. In this light Orticola will be involved in the improvement and maintenance of the Perego Garden, the Royal Palace Garden, the Palazzo della Triennale Garden and the extension of Flowering Allotments at Citylife, and continues with the new four-year cycle of “study days” started in 2017.
2021 | XXV Orticola Flower Show
The 2021 Milan Flower Show is scheduled on
7, 8, 9 May 2021 from 09:30 a.m. till 07:30 p.m. at the Indro Montanelli’s Garden.
2019 | XXIV Orticola Flower Show
The 2019 Milan Flower Show was scheduled on
17, 18, 19 May 2019 at the Indro Montanelli’s Garden.
This year the chosen THEME was “Companion planting: good botanical associations”, that is combinations of plants with similar needs.
Italy offers a multitude of climates, environments and flora due to its hydrogeology and position, where plants grow together and intermingle according to their needs and behaviour. These characteristics must be respected for successful gardening, favouring juxtapositions, not just based on shape, colour and flowering times, but above all on plant requirements and how they coexist.
This means good associations, in which different species grow in optimum conditions, sharing space with plants with similar water, temperature and soil requirements … choosing them to obtain the best aesthetic combinations too.
In any situation a correct combination of plants, favouring greater eco-sustainibility, will result in more self-sufficient compositions, with less need for maintenance, giving better and more durable results both biologically and aesthetically.
The 2019 Symbol
It is no coincidence that the XXIVth edition of the flower show is symbolised by two flowers which live happily together, a paeony and a tulip. This year’s illustration is signed by Sofia Paravicini with a simple bunch of flowers in mind, including several insects vital to the whole eco-system. The palette recalls the delicacy and softness of flower petals.
Novelties, Start-ups, and the Young
As always Orticola’s true protagonists are nurserymen and each year there are more, including the young and start-ups, as well as interesting historic family traditions.
Oasi Tropicale in Valcuvia is the dream of a young pharmaceutical trainer, Luca Chiesa, from Cuveglio in the Varese province, whose passion, arising from his exotic trips and the wish to experiment, are unusual tropical, citrus and medicinal plants such as the tamarind, Tamarindus indica, a powerful anti-oxidant, the guava, Psidium guajava, rich in Vitamin C, or cocoa, Theobroma cacao, rich in beneficial substances and useful for inducing good moods and relaxation, all reproduced from seeds collected all over the place, germinated with particular propagation and acclimatising techniques.Valerio Guidolin, in charge of Diflora, a carnivorous plant nursery, is another young nurseryman from Galliera Veneta in Padua province, a start-up which has developed a propagation laboratory in vitro based on innovation, using a new bio-reactor, as yet unpatented, designed by the Diflora Team, alongside the standard methods of micro-propagation. At present they have a particularly rich collection of hygrophilous plants, including about 62 varieties of Dionaea muscipula, the flycatcher with a peculiar bear trap mechanism, 105 species and different forms of Drosera, a plant used to calm different types of cough, 60 species and hybrids of the Sarracenia genus, with nectar laden borders to tempt insects to slide inside, and 25 of the Nepenthes genus, where the trapped insects are dissolved to absorb their elements.
Roberto Bonetalli’s Everflor from Busnago in Monza Brianza province, is present for the first time, dedicated to the world of indoor and outdoor bonsai since 1996, including several Italian tree species. He also offers pre-bonsai plants of species cultivated in the ground for several years, such as Japanese acers: an excellent solution for growing at low cost.
Another novelty for 2019 is Davide Contis’ Cactis from Bologna, a nursery opened in 2007 to design and maintain gardens. Davide’s passion are the Opuntia, Agave and Yucca genera, which he began to experiment in his garden and now reproduces from seed along with many other species of cacti and succulents. He will be showing a collection of more than 200 species of Opuntia, prickly pears which can be cultivated in the open and resist temperatures well below zero.
Paolo Barillà from Ort Antigh, Colorno, in Parma province is not yet forty but has a great desire to research and recover rare, unusual and old varieties of plant. His adventure began when he started to cultivate a vegetable garden having found himself out of work. He will present a collection of old, rare strawberry varieties, and will explain how to create new varieties on his stand.
Arte Antica Toscana are not nurserymen, but will also be at Orticola for the first time. They weave recycled wire, an ancient craft probably originating in northern Slovakia in the 17th century. It was initially used to repair broken china, then to construct objects for everyday use, soon spreading to Europe and America before disappearing almost completely with the advent of plastic. They have resurrected this tradition and given rise to a small production of artefacts, with the idea of drawing attention and interest to this craft in risk of extinction.
Certain nurseries which have been handing down passion and knowledge for generations will be present again this year, including the Società Agricola Eredi di Carlo Consonni, which began with the grandfather of the present owner, Beatrice Consonni, who worked in Padua in the famous Sgaravatti nursery. Then her father Carlo with uncle Paolo joined forces to establish another firm in Erba, on grandfather’s land. Subsequently Beatrice set up a smaller company, while the historic “vivai Nord” is run by her brother Vittorio and her cousin. They will present a collection of rare and hardy hawthorns, this year. Crataegus
Also Anna Peyron’s nursery, founded in 1981 on three hectares of land 450 metres above sea level where this white-haired, forceful lady has concentrated her plant research. Now her younger daughter, Saskia Pellion di Persano, with Titian red curls, is at the helm. Her name derives from Rembrandt’s wife, painted as Flora, and the stylised image of Flora-Saskia is the emblem of the nursery.
Vivai delle Commande will also be present again. Officially opened in 1994, its true origins date back to several years earlier and the Salvi Del Pero family’s passion for paeonies. The first nucleus of American tree and herbaceous paeonies was imported from the States in 1980 and the Salvi family decided to open a nursery after 14 years of cultivation and acquired experience, recently extending their selection to include hostas, other beautiful and versatile shade plants. The younger generation now work in the nursery too.
“Unusual” plants in Orticola ‘19
Interesting curiosities, sometimes unique, are presented every year by nurserymen participating in the show, such as Baradel’s Epipactis, called helleborine, a genus of different species of wild Italian orchids
or Central Park’s Fargesia collection, a non-invasive bamboo genus.
A shrub Malvaceae from South Africa, Grewia occidentalis, is particularly interesting and suitable for Italian gardens, presented by Donna di Piante.
The Castilleja coccinea from Plantula is very appropriate to the theme of the flower show, a hemiparasite attached to plant roots for nutrition, rather like mistletoe.Scorzonera hispanica, also known as Spanish black salsify, presented at Orticola by Floricultura Geel is widespread from Southern Europe to Siberia and is famed for its presumed efficiency against snakebite.
Gardenia jasminoides “Kleim’s Hardy”, presented by Pollici Rosa, is particularly interesting for its hardiness, surviving temperatures to – 17°C. It is a compact gardenia variety with beautiful shiny dark leaves.
“Mirabilia” (Marvels) appears for the first time, exclusively for the Orticola public, in a tent within the show, to introduce visitors to special, rare plants with strange origins, mostly unknown, from distant lands, or relatively unexplored by plant hunters such as Ethiopia, plants with exceptional size and shapes, collected and preserved by nurserymen. Dino Pellizzaro presents the Acanthus sennii, a shrub rarely found in cultivation with unusual red flowers and pointed leaves.
Cascina Bollate displays the Cynodon aethiopicus, a herbaceous species which spreads easily and is photoautotrophic, using light as its vital source of energy; or Salvia aethiopis from the Vivaio Ciancavaré, a small, aromatic perennial from Africa with delicate labiate flowers as well as other particular species presented by the Città Studi Botanical Garden in Milan and the beautiful historic Palermo Botanical Garden, with whom Orticola has evolved a special North South Prize for nurserymen, to demonstrate the enormous climatic and botanical differences in this country.
The two juries will set to work in the afternoon of Thursday May 16th. The Botanical Jury, composed of seven experts will choose the winner of the Orticola 2019 Prize for the best botanical collections and most significant plants regarding rarity and beauty. The Style Jury will select the best display regarding creativity and originality as well as profession.
Over the last few years it has become a tradition for the Botanical Jury to invite a guest of honour: this year the jurors will include Giuseppe Barbera, Arboriculture Professor from Palermo University, author of many publications and expert on Mediterranean cultivation and culture, member of the Palermo University Botanical Garden Scientific Committee.
The 2019 Style Jury welcomes a new member: Christine Foglia who has been cultivating her passion for nature and gardens since childhood, for their order, balance and infinite colour stimulation. For her all plants constitute a profound inspiration for the senses, particularly herbaceous plants and delphiniums.
Fascinating, emotive places
The four places which quintessentially attract the visitors’ fascination and emotion are the fountain and the three entrances to the show.
This year the fountain design has been entrusted to Piante Faro, who will create a fascinating set-up from plants suitable for the Mediterranean climate, with an interpretation of a productive garden, the theme of the Radicepura festival which they organise in Sicily.
The Palazzo Dugnani entrance, designed by Antonio Perazzi with Piante Faro entitled “Bosco e Giardino” (Wood and Garden) is particularly evocative with a wood of young trees, 2 to 3 and a half metres tall, as an invitation to visitors to buy healthy young trees to help regenerate the Italian landscape after the tragic consequences of the storm which felled millions of trees in different parts of the country last autumn.
Following tradition, the other entrances will also be creatively decorated: Gheo Clavarino, together with Luini 12, has designed the piazza Cavour entrance with Piergiorgio Minari’s nursery, Vivaio Minari, welcoming visitors in a “green circle”, whilst the via Palestro entrance has been entrusted to the Fratelli Ingegnoli Nursery who have chosen to combine vines and box.
Orticola for Milan
This year too some of the profits from the Show will go to the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens to update and supply new maps of the Gardens, for display on the notice boards donated by the Association twenty years ago and restored with funds from the 2018 Show.
New plantations and the integration of the main flower bed will continue, as will the commitment in via dei Giardini, as well as the small historic and romantic Perego Garden, with a plan to develop the ‘Stroll through the historic garden’ initiative in 2019, a garden visit accompanied by historians, experts and nurserymen, to explain the garden and Orticola’s commitment to maintenance and supply of plants.
The Orti Fioriti (Flowering Allotments) at CityLife in viale Eginardo are still active, created by the Lombard Horticultural Society over approximately 3000 square metres, as part of the urban improvement project of the Milan Fair district by CityLife.
Maintenance in the Giardino di Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace Garden) will also continue, now an oasis for a pleasant pause in the heart of the city.
The objective of all these activities on behalf of the Lombard Horticultural Society is to give the Milanese population correct information on cultivation linked to aesthetics, supplying open spaces for recreation and relaxation.
Orticola is very proud of its gifts to the city!
Learning at Orticola
Free meeting places for adults and children have always been considered as one of Orticola’s “premiums”. These consist of over 100 laboratories, courses, demonstrations, presentations of books, parks and gardens, both for recreation and education, in the three educational areas within the show (Dugnani 1, Dugnani 2 and Magnolia), as well as exhibitors’ stands and the CityLife space.
Orticola continues in its mission to promote the knowledge and preservation of plants in every form. The latest edition of the magazine “Il Giardino Fiorito”, explains good botanical associations under many different aspects, including the combination of hardy tropical plants, those suitable to the Mediterranean climate to those adapted to survival at 2000 metres.
On Friday morning the laboratories are dedicated to Milanese schools.
Museum Conventions with the Orticola 2019 ticket
Orticola in the Museum returns, uniting history, art and botany, involving the main city museums in a series of tailored initiatives:
the 900 Museum (Twentieth Century), the Mudec, the Diocesano Carlo Maria Martini Museum, GAM – Modern Art Gallery of Milan, Gallerie d’Italia – Piazza Scala, the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, the Brera Botanical Garden, the Brera Pinacoteca, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, the Royal Palace Museum, the Triennale Design Museum, the Aurelia Josz Botanical Museum, the MuBa Museum of Childhood, and the Sforzesco Castle.
In May, with Fuori Orticola (Orticola Fringe), the Orticola al Museo (Orticola in the Museum) programmes will offer free or discounted entrances, special openings, guided tours and workshops.
More events and exhibitions | The flowered Windows
Orticola Fringe continues with a free cultural offer involving nine dedicated events: information following the link below. Last but not least, Orticola Fringe is the flowered windows in the city as well, where Florists, flower designers and decorators will exhibit dressing shop windows and nearby spaces with plants and flowers, inside and out, recalling the name of the street and the flower show at the same time.
Discover the extended Fringe Orticola programmes and The flowered Windows involving about 20 streets and 40 shops in the city.
2018 | Milan Flower Show photo gallery
Photo gallery XXIV Orticola Flower Show
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