Once a small parallel exhibition in Basel, Giardina has now developed into Europe’s biggest indoor garden event and is a must for all lovers of individual garden worlds. A look back to the early years, to a royal visit and to premieres in the history of Swiss exhibitions. And, naturally, the highlights of the anniversary edition at Messe Zürich.
1997: The founding year
When Giardina is held in Basel for the first time in 1997, in parallel to Muba, Swiss gardens are frequently characterised by lawns, beds of roses, vegetable patches and sitting areas. Individually designed outdoor spaces are more of an exception, and living space and the garden are still clearly separated from each other. At the Muba fair, visitors are able to marvel at the première of Switzerland’s garden show in the former Hall 5. Also there is Enzo Enea, a pioneer when it comes to “live your garden”. He is presenting a collection of terracotta pots.
1999: Giardina as a source of inspiration
Enzo Enea causes a sensation at Giardina 1999: for the first time in the history of Swiss trade fairs, he builds a garden on a scale of 1:1 in the exhibition halls. The garden as a space for relaxation, encounters and enthusiasm for design is then also taken up as a topic by the public at large, and Giardina develops into a key source of inspiration for garden dreams. By the way, to create his “English-Mediterranean” garden, Enzo Enea needed three weeks and 18 articulated lorry loads of material from all over the globe, including 8-metre tall cypresses.
2001: The first independent Giardina
A new awareness of life develops in Switzerland: anyone with a garden or terrace now wants to spend as much time as possible outdoors. “Live your garden”, with fluid transitions between indoors and outdoors, develops into a lifestyle trend. As a pioneer of this development, Giardina is staged as an independent fair, independently of Muba for the first time, with long queues building up at the ticket offices in Basel as soon as the fair opens.
2001 is also the year the “GiardinaAWARD” comes into being, which still bore the title of “The most attractive exhibition stand” back then. The familiar exhibitors at Giardina 2001 include Enzo Enea and also Pius Notter, the first non-Japanese Bonsai world champion with a Japanese Garden, and Werner Feustle, Switzerland’s orchid guru, with a delightful display of colourful orchids in a special show.
2002: Giardina in Zurich for the first time
In order to offer the inhabitants of Zurich, with their high spending power, a special garden and lifestyle show too, Giardina is staged in the exhibition halls in Oerlikon in 2002 for the first time. The plan is to hold GiardinaBASEL in the odd-numbered years and GiardinaZÜRICH in the even-numbered years. In view of the huge success of the first GiardinaZÜRICH and the exhibitors’ wish to only have the garden show staged at one location in future, those in charge of the exhibition decide to hold GiardinaBASEL for the last time in 2003. Since then, the show has only unfolded its splendour in Zurich, proving more successful each time around.
2006: A royal Giardina
Giardina 2006 is particularly honoured by a royal visit from Sheika Sabika bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, the queen of Bahrain. She opens the fair, together with a broad array of eminent Swiss personalities, and is enthralled by the perfectly showcased sample gardens which constitute the true hallmark of Giardina. The innovations and special shows at Giardina 2006 include the first example of vertical vegetation and facade greening from Hydroplant and Balihome, Enzo Enea’s special show “Private Gardens” and the floristry workshop run by Rosa Braun.
2018: the garden worlds celebrate their anniversary
What started out as a small parallel fair in 1997 is now one of the most successful consumer shows and economic drivers, playing a decisive role in the development of garden culture in Switzerland. The anniversary edition is taking up a topical issue: the configuration of residential and living space at a time of high land prices, increasing urbanisation and high-density building. Switzerland’s best garden designers show how big gardens are created in small spaces through the efficient use of space, innovative garden design and thought-out concepts. A total of 30,000 square metres of flowering inspiration by 280 exhibitors. And one of them, of course, is Enzo Enea.