A project by Claudia Zanfi (Director of aMAZElab / Laboratorio del Paesaggio)

On the occasion of the ninth edition of GREEN ISLAND, Claudia Zanfi invited botanists, designers and landscape artists to come up with the first design garden of wild plants in Milano - zona ISOLA - behind Garibaldi train station.

Here’s how a neglected green area can be transformed into a small and flourishing ‘garden’, complete with modular flowerbeds sown by designer-gardeners and entrusted to the care of the inhabitants and handicraft studios of the neighbourhood.

The adoption programme, the only one of its kind in Milano, has given rise to a real system of ‘community gardening’, thanks also to the original yet highly practical watering cans designed by Marti Giuxè, provided by the Museo Alessi, which has supported creative projects such as GREEN ISLAND for many years.

Along the fences of the building site and the glass/concrete towers of Garibaldi Station, which give the area its post-industrial feel, a sort of green library of botanical tables has been produced, to tell passers-by all about the various different herbs chosen for the nearby flowerbeds. Furthermore, along the edge of the flyover, the only cycle path in the ISOLA neighbourhood is now lined with three plant species chosen especially on the basis of their different shapes, colours and scents: Hawthorn, Pepperidge and Dog Rose, alternating to create a sort of ‘green barrier’ (although it actually also features pink and white flowers and bright red berries).

The modular flowerbeds containing the ‘Weeds Collection’ (Bishop’s Lace, Common Verbena, Reed Sweetgrass, etc.) selected together with the chairman of the Brera Botanical Garden, and the ‘Hedge Garden’ (Hawthorn, Pepperidge and Dog Rose) constitute the first public work dedicated to wild plants. It has been donated to the ISOLA neighbourhood, and will remain on a permanent basis thanks to the love and care of its inhabitants.