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Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov - Botanist, Agronomist, Soil Scientist And Forester
Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov - Botanist, Agronomist, Soil Scientist And Forester

Video: Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov - Botanist, Agronomist, Soil Scientist And Forester

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To the 275th anniversary of the birth of A.T. Bolotov

Multifaceted talent

Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov
Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov

A prominent theoretical and practical scientist, botanist, pomologist, agronomist, breeder, soil scientist, forester, moral philosopher, writer, publicist, artist, architect, landscape designer … Nowadays it is difficult to believe that all these talents can fit into one person. And yet it is a fact - the hero of our today's article, Andrei Timofeevich Bolotov, was endowed with all these talents.

The future scientist was born on October 7 (old style, 18) October 1738 in the ancestral village of Dvoryaninovo, Aleksinsky district, Tula province (now Zaoksky district of Tula region) in the family of a small-scale nobleman, Colonel Timofei Petrovich Bolotov. According to the tradition widespread in those days, the boy received a good education at home. Since his father was a military man, the Bolotov family in fact led a nomadic lifestyle and moved from place to place several times. After the death of his father in the fall of 1750, his mother, Mavra Stepanovna, and her son returned to their permanent place of residence in the village of Dvoryaninovo, where Andrei read a lot, doing self-education.

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Like all children of the nobility, he began his career with military service with the rank of sergeant, and ended it in 1762 with the rank of captain. The order of Peter III on the freedom of the nobility, which freed all nobles from the obligatory 25-year military and civil service, allowed Andrei Timofeevich to leave the service that burdened him.

At the age of 23, he moved to his "dear" Dvoryaninovo to devote his life to science. Here in July 1764 he married Alexandra Mikhailovna Kaverina. In marriage, he had 9 children, but of them only 5 survived to adulthood, and only two survived their father: son Pavel and daughter Catherine. Subsequently, thanks to his son Pavel, he had several grandchildren through the male line. Descendants of A.T. Bolotovs live in our time.

In the family estate, he was engaged in agriculture and other sciences, set up experiments, wrote down his observations, worked on solving a number of pedagogical and ethical issues. Having familiarized himself with the first volume of the works of the Free Economic Society, acquired by a lucky chance in the spring of 1766 in Moscow, Andrei Timofeevich realized that this publication could satisfy his need for communication with like-minded people, for the dissemination of the knowledge and experience he had acquired. His first publication appeared in the second volume of his works, published in the same year. Then the works of the young scientist were published in almost every volume.

In 1768 Bolotov thought about building a new manor house. He made all the necessary plans and drawings himself. As a result, a new house was built and the family moved into it. In the estate, in addition to fruit orchards, he set up entertainment (this was the name then decorative gardens).

He was engaged in hybridization and selection in his garden. However, a large breeder, like I.V. Michurin, did not. According to the biographer A.P. Berdyshev because "the breadth of his creative interests did not allow one of his hobbies to grow to such an extent as to oust other favorite things from his sphere of activity."

Andrey Timofeevich was also engaged in inventions to facilitate the physical work of people. For example, he invented and made a simply arranged astrolabe, necessary for conducting geodetic works and, first of all, for land surveying. In addition to this device, he himself invented and made a wooden combination lock with wheels and letters printed on them (Tula craftsmen later began to make similar locks, but this time from metal), devices for pruning high-lying branches, devices for picking fruits, ergonomic stretchers, universal a hoe, a scoop for replanting plants with a clod of earth, a budding device, a soft brush for cleaning the bark on fruit trees, devices for compacting the soil around seedlings, a horse rake for collecting ears remaining after the main harvest, and much more.All the devices he invented were easy to use, did not harm plants, were made from available materials and were easy to manufacture, and therefore inexpensive.

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Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov
Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov

In 1776, Andrei Timofeevich was appointed governor of the Bogoroditskaya volost of the Tula province, which belonged to Empress Catherine II. He lived there until 1797. In Bogoroditsk, according to his project and with his active participation, the first landscape park in Russia was created, which together with the palace erected by the famous architect I.E. Starova, Bogoroditsky palace and park ensemble. It was here that Andrei Timofeevich fully realized his talent in the field of landscape design.

Bolotov paid much attention to the theory and practice of creating flower beds, because, in his opinion, it was in the structure of flowers that nature manifested its generosity and imagination as much as possible. During his life, he collected a rich collection of ornamental plants (roses, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, pansies, lilies of the valley, asters, mallow, dahlias, gladioli, begonias, phloxes, primroses, cannes, irises, salvias, willow tea, or fireweed, hops, rose hips, honeysuckle, bird cherry, viburnum, lilac and many others). All his acquaintances brought for him seeds or planting material of new plants from long trips, Andrei Timofeevich himself turned some of the wild representatives of the flora into decorative garden ones.

He learned to skillfully combine the representatives of the flora in size, shape, color, texture, aroma of flowers, inflorescences, leaves and the plants themselves in general. His published work "General remarks on flowers", which became, in fact, the first domestic guide to floriculture, which describes about 60 botanical genera, has not lost its relevance today. The recommendations developed by Bolotov for the successful summer transplantation of mature trees (now we call them large trees) have also not lost their relevance.

When creating landscape parks, Bolotov believed, it is necessary to take into account the natural beauty of the place (the size of the site, its diversity, aesthetic properties, novelty and surprise); particular details of the area (plains, hills, depressions, forests, reservoirs, etc.); artistic additions to the natural landscape (architectural buildings, busts, statues, decorative vases, sundials, obelisks, gazebos, bridges, sod benches, grottoes, artificially created ruins, etc.); varieties of parks (in accordance with the nature of the prevailing garden scenes: funny, romantic, melancholic, solemn, majestic, etc.; according to the season: spring, summer, autumn, winter; according to the times of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, night, etc. etc.). At the same time, gardens and parks should affect not only vision, but also other senses - the sense of smell,hearing, touch …

Andrei Timofeevich warned that the creation and maintenance of parks in the English style is cheaper than the French ones, but at the same time an indispensable condition for their creator should be the availability of artistic talent, relevant knowledge and skills. When creating landscape parks, it is necessary to have a more or less significant area, the use of existing natural beauties (relief elements, individual trees, shrubs and their groups), the predominant use of representatives of the local flora, a harmonious combination of open and closed spaces, a well-thought-out road and path network.

After the death of Catherine II, her own volosts were granted to the illegitimate son from Grigory Orlov - Count A.G. Bobrinsky. And then Bolotov decided to move back to his own estate in order to fully devote the rest of his life to science, agriculture and literary work.

Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov
Andrey Timofeevich Bolotov

In Dvoryaninovo, he lived almost without a break from 1796. It was during this period of his life that he systematized his knowledge on the distinctive characteristics of apple and pear varieties. Therefore, Andrei Timofeevich is considered the father of pomology. At that time, among the existing rather diverse assortment of apple and pear trees, complete chaos reigned: the same varieties in different areas had different names, in some cases different varieties appeared under the same name.

In total, over his pomological system, A.T. Bolotov worked for 8 years - from 1793 to 1801. As a result, he prepared 6 volumes describing 661 varieties of apple and pear, and the description was accompanied by water color images of fruits in full size and in color, made by Andrei Timofeevich himself. Bolotov himself is the author of three apple varieties (Andreevka, Bolotovka (aka Dvoryaninovka, or Renet) and Romodanovka), which were quite worthy for their time and were grown in gardens for a long time after their author was gone. Unfortunately, by now all these varieties have been lost.

What did Andrei Timofeevich not do at different times. In addition to the previously mentioned, he researched various issues of forestry, was the first in Russia to develop the basics of biological weed control and successfully put it into practice; for the first time in our country he developed the foundations of scientific fish farming (breeding, artificial keeping and catching of freshwater fish), studied the issues of mineral nutrition of plants (for example, in his treatise "On the fertilization of lands", he criticized the water theory of nutrition that was widespread throughout Europe at that time, according to which plants receive only moisture from the soil), developed the basic methods of fertilizing fields and the principles of crop rotation, methods for improving soils and classifying soils according to various characteristics, studied the theory and practice of winter hardiness of plants, as well as studying the local flora, compiling herbariums,introduction, investigated the most diverse aspects of agricultural technology.

Bolotov is the founder of scientific seed production, he penned the first Russian-language printed manual on the morphology and Linnaean taxonomy of plants, which laid the foundations of domestic botanical terminology, he carried out extensive work on hybridization of plants (apple, currant, tulips, lilies, carnations, potatoes and other crops), while investigating the phenomena of heredity and variability, discovered and studied the effect of the depth of planting seeds on the growth and development of plants, dealt with issues of accelerating the entry of trees into the fruiting period, the culture of dwarf fruit trees, issues of long-term storage of fruits, developed various economic issues in agriculture, studied meteorology and mineralogy.

Andrei Timofeevich was one of the first supporters of the ecological trend in agriculture (“to use nature without destroying or injuring it,” he urged).

One of Bolotov's favorite occupations was gardening. He was the first in Russia who began to plant fruit trees in regular rows with a different width from the row spacing between trees in a row (6-7 by 9 yards). Before him, trees were planted either in regular squares, or generally chaotically. When propagating fruit plants, he gave preference to summer peephole grafting (budding) rather than early spring grafting by cutting (copulation). For budding, he developed a number of recommendations for harvesting, storing cuttings with eyes and the grafting process itself, which remain relevant today.

Andrei Timofeevich paid much attention to the introduction of new plants into the culture (not only decorative, but also food, medicinal, forage, technical). It is largely thanks to him that we owe the presence of tomatoes, potatoes and sunflowers in our garden plots: he developed the biological basis for reproduction, growing and practical use of these crops (in particular, he came up with a recipe for natural potato chips, which he called "potato chips", studied the possibilities production of potato starch on an industrial scale).

In the garden of his estate, two and a half centuries ago, rutabagas, asparagus, artichokes, kohlrabi, arugula, watercress, lettuce, watermelons, melons and other crops (73 items in total) were grown, many of which are still rarely found on our plots. Pineapples, walnuts, grapes ripened in the greenhouses of the Bolotov estate; more than 200 varieties of apple and pear trees grew in the gardens.

Andrei Timofeevich devoted almost 70 years to the service of biological and agricultural sciences. According to his biographer A.P. Berdyshev “it is difficult to find a section of agricultural science in which A.T. Bolotov did not contribute to the discoverer. " In old age, Andrei Timofeevich lost his sight, and then his hearing. But this did not break him, and he continued to work actively to the best of his ability. He died quietly in his working room on October 3 (15 according to the old style), 1833 and was buried on October 7 (on his 95th birthday) next to his mother's grave in the cemetery near the parish church in the village of Rusyatino, located a couple of kilometers from Dvoryaninovo.

Now there are only two monuments to A.T. Bolotov, and both of them are located in the memorial estates of Dvoryaninovo (bust) and Bogoroditsk (full-length). In Dvoryaninovo, in the restored building of the estate, the A.T. Bolotova

Alexey Antsiferov

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