Moscow Flower Festival in full bloom

Hundreds of flower lovers have gathered at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre in Moscow for the Second International Flower Festival.

Flower power has come to Moscow, as both local and international landscape designers show off their talent. The exhibition will be a permanent fixture until mid-September and organisers hope tourists and locals alike will have a blooming good time.

The designs are based on themes ranging from childhood to space travel, with prizes awarded for the best and most original designs.

The International Flower Festival opened in style in All-Russia Exhibition Centre in Moscow. Although it is only in its second year, the organisers hope it will one day be as famous as Britain's Chelsea Flower Show.

“Professional designers have come here to bring joy to people. And as part of the competition we want to find the best professionals in this sphere,” says Irina Rabor, Government Representative.

And it's going down well with the Russian punters, who have a love-affair with flowers. Russians attach much importance to the giving of flowers, with millions sold each year. There are hundreds of flower shops and stalls in Moscow alone. Shop owners say the most popular flower is the rose. 

There is an established etiquette relating to flower-giving in Russia. Thus, a man dating a Russian woman would soon find himself out of favour if he didn't turn up with flowers. Odd numbers of flowers are given for romantic and festive occasions, while even numbers are reserved only for funerals.