Siberian artist ‘trapped’ in Wisbech during lockdown provides town with stunning thankyou gift

PUBLISHED: 13:31 08 June 2020

Natalya Shlyapina, an internationally-acclaimed flower arranger and horticulture expert with her workat St Peter's Gardens in Wisbech. Image: Submitted

Natalya Shlyapina, an internationally-acclaimed flower arranger and horticulture expert with her workat St Peter's Gardens in Wisbech. Image: Submitted

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An internationally-acclaimed flower arranger and horticulturalist from Siberia has created a stunning display in Wisbech after she was unable to return home due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Displays at St Peter's Gardens, Wisbech where Natalya Shlyapina, an internationally-acclaimed flower arranger and horticulture expert has been hard at work. Image: SubmittedDisplays at St Peter's Gardens, Wisbech where Natalya Shlyapina, an internationally-acclaimed flower arranger and horticulture expert has been hard at work. Image: Submitted

Natalya Shylapina is from Tyumen in Siberia and has made hand-woven wooden sculptures and planted arrangements of flowers in a section of St Peter’s Church gardens.

Alan Wheeldon, who helps coordinate Wisbech In Bloom, said: “The people of Wisbech absolutely love her garden and it has attracted a great deal of attention.”

In March, Natalya flew to the UK to visit her boyfriend Andrew Bottley who she met while he was teaching English in Russia.

She had intended to stay for three weeks, but the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures mean she hasn’t been able to get back home.

So she offered to put her artistic skills and talents to use and create the display for everyone to enjoy.

Alan said: “Andrew contacted me and asked if we had a spare piece of garden on which Natalya could create a sculptured garden.

“It’s not often you get a chance to see someone of her stature at work and so I jumped at the chance.”

He added: “I found a large quadrant of garden right outside St Peter’s Church.

“Natalya got to work straight away collecting the materials she needed for her project. She worked solidly through all sorts of weather and the result is fantastic.”

Every element of the display has been carefully thought through from the colour, type of wood and structure of the sculptures to the varieties and colours of plants used.

It has all been respectfully considered so the display coordinates with the rest of the gardens and sits well with the backdrop of the church.

“So by what can only be described as ‘by chance’ Wisbech now has a prestigious sculptured garden for all to enjoy,” Alan said. “We’re very fortunate indeed.”

While the Anglia in Bloom competition has been cancelled this year, Wisbech has been awarded prestigious ‘Gold’ medals for the last 14 years in a row.

In 2018, it gained national recognition by winning one of the top awards in the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual Britain in Bloom competition.


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