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City Gardens Of Peter I
City Gardens Of Peter I

Video: City Gardens Of Peter I

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Video: NINJAGO CITY GARDENS #71741: BUILD & REVIEW 2023, February

Stories of new plant species for St. Petersburg and Russia

Studying the history of the appearance of gardens in St. Petersburg, Tsarskoe Selo, you involuntarily immerse yourself in the activities of Peter I, unfamiliar to most of us, as an organizer and creator, a zealous owner of the first gardens.

He carefully preserved the forests during the initial construction of the city. The most valuable of the broad-leaved species, oak, was almost never found. And those trees that we met were especially protected. In the first description of St. Petersburg 1710-1711. mentions of Peter's order to keep "in special honor" two ancient oaks that grew on the seaside of the island of Retusari (Kotlin). They were surrounded by a fence, in the shade they set up a gazebo overlooking the sea, in which the tsar liked to "sit with the shipbuilders." But in the descriptions of the city five years later, there is no longer any mention of these oaks.

Peter I's special predilection for oak was explained by the fact that it was the main tree species from which ship hulls were then built. One of the ships of the young fleet built in 1718 was even named "Old Oak". It was said that Peter the Great himself planted acorns along the Peterhof road, wishing that oak trees were planted everywhere. Noticing that one of the noble nobles smiled at his work, turned around and said in anger: "I understand, you think I will not live to see mature oaks. True, but you are a fool. I leave an example to others, so that, doing the same, descendants over time, they built ships from them. I do not work for myself, the benefit of the state in the future!"

autumn landscape
autumn landscape

Another valuable broad-leaved species, beech, was extremely rare in the forests of the time of Peter I. Perhaps its last specimens were found in the 50s of the last century at the Duderhof Heights.

Building up the city, Peter the Great preserved the mother forests as much as possible: a small fir grove was left on the banks of the Neva in front of the present Trinity Bridge; another spruce grove was preserved on the banks of the Moika, opposite the Particular Shipyard; The spruce forest was left on the island during the establishment of New Holland. The latter was declared by Peter to be a reserve, which marked the beginning of the history and the very protection of urban nature. The laws were strict: for the felling of reserved forests, as well as trees suitable for building ships, "the death penalty will be imposed without mercy, whoever may be" (decrees of Peter I of November 19, 1703, of January 19, 1705) … Judging by the fact that the decrees were repeated, the felling continued, there were punishments for them, but, as historians say, the matter did not come to the death penalty.

But the forests, of course, were doomed to be cut down, since the city was being built, and the main material in the beginning was wood. In addition, the owners of estates along the Fontanka were ordered to cut down dense forests in order to deprive the habitats of "dashing people" who "repaired attacks" on the townspeople.

Organization of the first gardens

Summer garden. Engraving by A. Zubov. 1717 g
Summer garden. Engraving by A. Zubov. 1717 g

The gardens at the beginning of the 18th century were arranged in the Dutch style, which Peter I loved so much. As a child, he grew up in such gardens in Moscow, which were strongly influenced by the Dutch Baroque. This love for beautiful gardens, trees, fragrant flowers and herbs remained with him for life. Passion for gardens was supported by considerable knowledge in botany and horticulture. Peter I, in fact, was the first and main gardener of St. Petersburg. He single-handedly decided which plants would grow here, and he was engaged in this with enthusiasm, as well as many other urgent matters. Where does such love and knowledge in gardening come from?

According to the historian I. Ye. Zabelin, "none of our ancient Tsars, in their home life, did not engage in agriculture with such passion as Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich" (Peter's father). "… due to the liveliness of his character, he devoted himself to every business with particular fervor" and, in addition, "he loved to bring every business … to full decency and dispensation." It is surprising that he went down in history under the name of the Quietest … The fruits of his labors were vast gardens in Izmailovo and Kolomenskoye, in which not only ordinary fruit trees and berry fields grew, but also rare, even exotic species for the Moscow region: walnuts, mulberry (mulberry), Siberian cedars, fir. The vineyard was also planted, but the Astrakhan vine did not grow well there.

(Interestingly, at the behest of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and with his participation, the first Russian ship "Eagle" was built on the Oka River. Historians find the profile of the ship on the spire of the Admiralty similar to that first ship. So the passion for building ships, apparently, is also not accidental in the life and works of Peter I).

Peter, in all likelihood, inherited from his father and taste for gardening. He planted the same gardens at the palace in Preobrazhensky, where he lived at the beginning of his reign, before leaving for St. Petersburg. Overseas curiosities were grown in the gardens of Peter: cypress, wintering under cover, many flowers from Western Europe. Tulips, daffodils, carnations, marigolds, marigolds (calendula), yellow lilies and other rarities bloomed here. The rosehip, which was then called the "svoborinny color", enjoyed the honor (a real rose was not grown in Russia at that time). Peter especially loved fragrant herbs, wrote out their seeds and ordered to plant them along the paths: rue, tansy, hyssop, "German mint", kalufer (or canufer, balsamic chamomile - a perennial from the Caucasus, Asia Minor, a spicy herb, added to snuff in the XVIII century).It was from the Moscow region and Moscow that Peter ordered to send plants for planting in St. Petersburg. In the spring of 1704, the first flowers and herbs were sent to equip the Summer Garden

It is known that the Summer Garden was "divorced in 1711 according to a plan drawn by the sovereign himself" (SN Shubinsky). Peter I took care of planting gardens not only in St. Petersburg, but also in Moscow, Taganrog, Riga, and Ukraine. He went into all the details of garden construction, gave orders, being abroad; subscribed to books on gardening, created projects for new gardens.

Judging by the Tsar's papers, he himself ordered tree seedlings from Holland through Revel, as well as from Moscow, Lvov, Siberian province, Ukraine. He especially loved lindens, which are accustomed to northern places, and chestnuts. The trees were taken out under the supervision of gardeners, with every precaution to preserve them. In 1712, 1,300 linden trees were ordered from Holland. In addition, elm, cedar, hornbeam, larch, poplar from Holland were imported into Russia. The oaks, which Peter valued so much, were imported from the surrounding Novgorodian places.

Back in 1707, foreign gardeners were invited, who were able to replant large, mature trees without damage, as was done at the French court. One such master was Martin Gender, a gardener from Potsdam. Peter's letters to Apraksin have survived: "… you can buy young trees of orange, lemon and others, which are a wonder here.

Plant in boxes to transport next spring. "For the wintering of thermophilic fig trees (figs), grapes," warm anbars "(greenhouses) were built. The more extensive economic ties with Europe became, the more diverse the range of plants that were planted in St. Petersburg and its surroundings.

Many documents have survived to prove this. TK Goryshina in his book "The Green World of Old St. Petersburg" provides interesting information about this. So, in 1719, the gardener Schultz was sent an order to Hamburg for "3000 pieces of Spanish syringes (lilacs), 100 pieces of roses, 20 pieces of terry clematis, cherries of low trees" (that is, bush-shaped), many apricot, peach, chestnut trees. The gardener Steffel was ordered to send an extensive set of seeds and bulbs of flowering plants, spicy and aromatic herbs, and another "2000 yards bukshbom". This was the name of boxwood - an evergreen shrub, which in the 18th century was grown in a shorn form to create continuous linear borders, while measured by arshins (1 arshin = 711.2 mm). Orders like this were sent to Amsterdam, Gdansk, Sweden. Even in the decree of Peter (dated January 3, 1717,Konon Zotov) regarding the sending of noble children to France for training in naval service, at the end there is an unexpected instruction: "Also look for laurel trees, which are placed in pots, so that from the ground to the crowns, the stems are no higher than 2 feet" (1 foot = 304, 8 mm).

For the heat-loving southern plants, greenhouses had to be built. Trees were brought from Moscow, Novgorodsky district, from areas north of St. Petersburg. Plants were brought from Sweden on ships specially sent there. Hundreds and even thousands of broadleaf trees were brought for the parks of St. Petersburg: lindens, maples, elms. It is known that in the spring of 1723, about eight thousand seedlings of linden, ash, elms and maples were brought to the Summer Garden. European gardens and parks were mainly created from these rocks. Thanks to the initiatives of Peter I, these species from exotic plantings have now become predominant in the green outfit of the city, its gardens and parks.

Peter's decisiveness, speed and onslaught were also reflected in the methods of landscaping the city. He had no time to wait for small seedlings to grow, he needed to plant large, mature trees. In a letter to Major Ushakov dated February 8, 1716, Peter orders to harvest lindens near Moscow in winter, chop off their tops and take them to Petersburg in the spring. Such transportation by carts on horseback took at least three weeks. We soon became convinced that this is not the best way to transplant. We started summer transplants with a clod of earth, which turned out to be much more effective. Even winter digging was practiced using a special machine, digging in trees until spring. In this way, it was possible to transplant even very capricious breeds. But the main thing, of course, was the meticulous care of every plant by highly professional gardeners.

It is curious to note that the requirements of imported plants for heat did not bother the customer too much, the "southerners" were simply placed in greenhouses. They were attentive to the soil conditions in which the plants grew at home. For example, when ordering a horse chestnut in Holland, Peter I ordered to take trees growing on different soils, while collecting and sending soil samples in "small bags" in order to select the most suitable land for planting here.

In the post-Petrine period, the composition of the foreign flora largely depended on the foreign gardeners who were then working, who brought their tastes and preferences to the look of city gardens and parks, in addition to colossal professional experience and knowledge. Naturally, the German gardeners ordered many plants from Germany, the Dutch from Holland. When arranging the Tauride Garden at the end of the 18th century, the work was carried out by the English gardener V. Gould, and most of the trees and flowering plants were brought from England. There were even garden incidents: in the middle of the 18th century, while working in Tsarskoye Selo park, the gardener Yakob Rechlin insisted on uprooting most of the main tree species - the linden, already growing in it, as "not very decent". She was replaced by sheared yew and laurel in tubs. (Need to mark,that in the past few years, the front part of the regular park and the square in front of the Catherine Palace were again decorated with laurel tub trees with spherical and pyramidal crown shapes).

History of Dutch gardens in Russia

Trying to rebuild Russian life, Peter began with the creation of gardens, sending his people abroad to learn Dutch gardening art. Peter's favorite gardener was the Dutchman Jan Rosen, who also created the Tsarskoye Selo Garden. At the request of the sovereign, a sculpture was added to the classic Dutch garden, which adorned the alleys and labyrinths of the garden. The ideological concept of this innovation was to introduce elements of a European, secular attitude towards the world and nature into the worldview of visitors. A new for them, common European emblem was being introduced into the minds of Russians. In this regard, in 1705 in Amsterdam, by order of Peter, the book "Symbols and Emblems" was published, which was later reprinted several times.

The book presented examples of the symbolic system of gardens, their decorations, triumphal arches, fireworks, sculptural decorations of buildings and gardens. In fact, it was a new, secular "primer" of the sign system instead of the previous church one.

In an effort to establish closer cultural ties with Europe as soon as possible, Peter I strove to make ancient mythology understandable and familiar to educated Russian people. Gardening art was the most accessible and at the same time highly effective. The Summer Garden, as the first city garden, became a kind of "academy" where Russian people passed the beginning of European cultural education. Labyrinths of sheared living plants were arranged there according to the models of Versailles, as well as stories from people's lives on the themes of "Aesopian parables". Peter valued Aesop's Proverbs so much as an important element of the new European education that they were translated by Ilya Kopievsky and published in Amsterdam in Russian and Latin among the first books. The same subjects were used in the construction of parks in Peterhof,Tsarskoe Selo.

Historians note Peter's special love for rare

autumn landscape
autumn landscape

flowers (their seeds and saplings were ordered from abroad), for "porcelain sets for decorating flower beds", and also a passion for garden crackers. Various firecracker fountains still attract the attention of numerous guests of the beautiful parks of Peterhof.

The Dutch garden was filled with fruit trees and shrubs, arranged in a regular style, and always a lot of flowers. The owner's house could be located on the side of the main axis of the garden, on both sides of which there were terraces and green "offices". (The summer garden is an example.) In Dutch gardening, it was customary to densely plant a house (or palace) with trees. In the same way, in the Old Garden of Tsarskoye Selo, trees used to closely adjoin the garden facade of the Catherine Palace.

These ancient lindens mostly survived the Great Patriotic War. In the 60s, the reconstruction of the Old Garden began in order to revive its regular "Versailles" look, in imitation of which it was created. Each reconstruction of historical objects, be it architectural monuments or parks, which are living objects that change over time, arouses discussions among specialists and society about the period for which a given object should be restored to its historical appearance. In the case of the Dutch Garden in the Catherine Park of Tsarskoe Selo, the choice was made in favor of the period of the greatest heyday of the park and the palace in the middle of the 18th century, during the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna. Most of the old trees that could no longer be cut according to the rules of a regular garden were cut down,to the great chagrin of many admirers of the Tsarskoye Selo gardens.

Later the term "Dutch garden" came to mean a small garden near a house with a lot of flowers. It began to have a similar meaning in the English language, called "Dutch Garden". "Dutch gardens" were classified as romantic gardens. Such were the gardens of Russian estates of the 19th century, being an integral and organic part of the transition from the architecture of the house, the mansion to the landscape part of the estate park. DS Likhachev in his book "Poetry of Gardens" describes in great detail and fascinatingly the history and various styles of gardens of different times and countries, including the romantic gardens of Tsarskoye Selo.

The history of new plant species for St. Petersburg

At the beginning of the XXI century, we got used to the abundance of ornamental plants growing in private gardens, parks, and just on the streets of cities. But this was not always the case, and the actual ornamental gardens are still very rare.


More often than not, our private gardens resemble in the composition of cultures those old Dutch gardens, from which they began to decorate the capital and its suburbs. And in them fruit trees, berry fields, garden vegetables and many flowers were certainly planted. How did the accumulation and enrichment of types of decorative and food crops, methods of caring for them take place? And again we have to return to the times of Peter the Great.

Thousands of people were employed in the construction of St. Petersburg. Working conditions in the local climate were monstrously harsh. In order to somehow maintain the health of workers and the army, by order of Peter in 1714, the Pharmaceutical Garden was founded on one of the islands in the delta of the Neva River. Various medicinal plants were grown there. But Peter's idea from the very beginning was much broader than this practical task.

Gardeners were obliged to breed rare "overseas" plants. Subsequently, the Pharmaceutical Garden grew into the Medico-Botanical Garden. On its basis, in 1823, the Imperial Botanical Garden was established, which by the beginning of the 20th century was becoming one of the largest botanical gardens in the world, a center of botanical science. His collections of living plants, herbarium, collection of botanical literature become known far beyond the borders of Russia.

The collection began with herbaceous plants, but by 1736 there were about 45 species of wood species. Through the efforts of botanists, the collections were continuously replenished after each expedition. In different years, the number of only arboreal species acclimatized in our conditions reached 1000 names, not to mention herbaceous garden and greenhouse plants. Further, the Botanical Garden became a source of introduction to the culture of St. Petersburg and its environs of new, adapted to local conditions, many hundreds of species of ornamental plants.

Special scientific institutions collected collections of crops, developing new technologies for their cultivation, creating new varieties and hybrids. The Institute of Plant Industry, its Experimental Stations located throughout the country became such an institution. Since 1938, the Control and Seed Experimental Station in the city of Pushkin was engaged in the study and implementation of ornamental crops in the production and planting of greenery in the city. In the best years of her work, there were more than 1300 species and varieties of ornamental plants in the collection and production, including flower crops of open and protected ground, flowering shrubs and a large arboretum. The history of many now familiar ornamental plants began in the past centuries.

It is interesting that the tree-like caragana (yellow acacia, as it is called in common parlance), which is now so common in landscaping, was "introduced" into planting by the scientist gardener G. Ekleben, who in 1758-1778 served as the chief master of the Imperial gardens. He was an ardent supporter of the cultivation of the "Siberian pea tree", as this breed was then called, and not only as an ornamental plant, but also as a food plant, using its fruits as food like peas and lentils. True, the food merits of the caragana were not recognized then. Getting acquainted with the history of decorative gardening in St. Petersburg, we learn about the fashionable plants at different times, ways of cultivating and preserving them in northern places. In the first half of the 18th century, roses and boxwood were considered the most fashionable. And now their usual shelter for the winter with spruce paws, felt,matting was invented by the Dutch gardener B. Fock.

Many ornamental plants in those days were bred as spices: levkoy, anemone, golden rod (solidago), gentian (gentian) and other species.

In St. Petersburg, there were attempts to acclimate foreign plants for practical use, and not only for decorative purposes. These experiments were carried out by the Free Economic Society, created in 1765. In 1801, Alexander I granted him the western half of Petrovsky Island. On a plot of land cleared from the forest, forage grasses (sainfoin, alfalfa, timothy), buckwheat, oilseeds, dyeing and aromatic herbs, as well as sesame and cotton were sown in the hope of proving that "all this can be born near St. Petersburg."

One of the historians of St. Petersburg was later very critical of new beginnings, but rightly noted the undoubted value of these experiments. This enriched the future cultural flora of our places, and also became one of the sources of urban weeds. In the course of these experiments, it was possible for the first time to grow from larch seeds, which so decorated the city and its parks. But in general, the daring experience did not bring the expected result, and in 1836 the land was taken away from the Free Economic Society, and it was allowed to build summer cottages on Petrovsky Island.

In general, the number of species of foreign plants in St. Petersburg was quite significant, although not all attempts at acclimatization were successful. This, together with the ensemble architecture, also made the capital different from the rest of the country. Many species ended up in greenhouses, while others were called "fugitives from culture" from botanists, because they really seeped through garden fences and scattered along streets, wastelands, lawns and other habitats. Already at the end of the 19th century (and now also), wild garden flowers came across the city: early American aster, Central European daisy, subtropical cosmos, Asian aquilegia, now - the ubiquitous North American Jerusalem artichoke. One of the wild medicinal chamomiles - fragrant - from the Aptekarsky Island spread not only in St. Petersburg, but also went further,deep into Russia and the Far East.

Elena Kuzmina

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