29 March 2023
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On April 22, 1827, his Impe­r­i­al Majesty Nicholas I approved for exe­cu­tion a note by the Min­is­ter of Finance  Lieu­tenant-Gen­er­al count E. F. Kankrin on the foun­da­tion of the For­est park at the dacha of  St. Peters­burg For­est Institute.

At that time the For­est Insti­tute had 277 acres of land, part­ly forest­ed, part­ly cov­ered with marsh­es and bare sands. Since 1827, the lands belong­ing to the Insti­tute start­ed to be grad­u­al­ly turned into a for­est park, which, after drain­ing the swamps, was to serve as a dec­o­ra­tion of the area and pro­vide the stu­dents of the For­est Insti­tute with the oppor­tu­ni­ty of prac­ti­cal train­ing in sow­ing and plant­i­ng forests.

The same year “for for­est plan­ta­tions pro­duc­tion ” Iensh — a spe­cial­ist in for­est cul­ti­vat­ing was invit­ed to the Insti­tute. For these pur­pos­es a lump sum of 30 thou­sand RUB was allo­cat­ed and then 3300 RUB annu­al­ly. It was allowed to get trees need­ed for plant­i­ng and their seeds from state-owned forests or to buy them. In 1827 — 1828. roads were laid out and the loca­tion for build­ings, gar­dens, Eng­lish gar­dens, etc. was deter­mined. Small-scale plant­i­ngs – one of pines and one of firs – were made in the park.

In 1833, a den­dro­log­i­cal gar­den was laid, and a year lat­er — a green­house was built with a room for a gar­den­er. By 1837 the total cost of the park and Botan­i­cal gar­den cre­ation; trees plant­i­ng and sow­ing; green­hous­es, roads, fences con­struc­tion; dry­ing of marsh­es and land cul­ti­va­tion for mead­ows, fields and veg­etable gar­dens orga­niz­ing totalled more than 85 thou­sand roubles.

The court gar­den­er Joseph Bush (1760 – 1838) was invit­ed for the cre­ation of the For­est Insti­tute park. In 1830–1831 he made esti­mates for earth­work and the plan of  a road con­struc­tion to the Insti­tute. For his suc­cess­ful work he was award­ed a gift — 1200 rou­bles from the Office of His Majesty.

Since 1837, the devel­op­ment of the Park was car­ried out on the account of the total sums allo­cat­ed for the main­te­nance of For­est and Bound­ary Insti­tute. Care about the Park and the sur­round­ing area improv­ing did not stop. At the request of the Direc­tor of the Insti­tute the gar­den­er Peter Biuk, well known for the cre­ation of the best Botan­i­cal gar­den of St. Peters­burg on Ela­gin island, elab­o­rat­ed a sketch plan and an approx­i­mate esti­mate of the gar­den cre­ation. Each year stu­dents plant­ed sev­er­al thou­sand seedlings and not only of the basic tree species of our area, but also oth­ers which were near­ly not believed to grow in the Park of the Institute.

Seedlings of Wey­mouth pine, white spruce, red oak, locust, Tulip tree, etc. were ordered from Paris. Seedlings of pedun­cu­late oak aged 3 to 20 years were deliv­ered from Lisin­skaya dacha and the province of Novgorod.

In 1841 the nurs­ery of woody plants was cre­at­ed. Dur­ing 4 years of the nurs­ery exis­tence, from 1885 to 1888, about 8000 trees and bush­es were trans­plant­ed from it into the Park. The results of these works sur­vived up to the present day in the form of old-growth stands near the Uni­ver­si­ty build­ing. The for­est nurs­ery exist­ed till the great Patri­ot­ic war and played an impor­tant role not only in the improve­ment of the Park — it also became a research lab­o­ra­to­ry, the results of which were includ­ed in the Fund of Russ­ian for­est science.

From 1850 to 1862 R. I. Schroed­er worked as a gar­den­er in the Park of the Insti­tute. Dur­ing this peri­od, the Park for its good main­te­nance and artis­tic qual­i­ties gained well-deserved fame in St. Peters­burg, which was stressed in the appli­ca­tion for award­ing Schroed­er with a medal.

In the ear­ly 80‑s the Park was man­aged by the gar­den­er Urvein, and after his death from 1886 to 1931 the head gar­den­er was E. L. Wolf (1860–1931). E. L. Wolf, did a great job on the improve­ment of the Park and the expan­sion of the den­dro­log­i­cal gar­den, made its descrip­tion, paid great atten­tion to flori­cul­ture: flower gar­den annu­al­ly arranged in front of the main build­ing of the For­est Insti­tute was unsur­passed in the city. In the late XIX cen­tu­ry the nurs­ery of park trees and shrubs for sale was expand­ed up to 7.5 acres. He wrote more than 200 works and arti­cles of sci­en­tif­ic and applied nature on den­drol­o­gy and park gar­den­ing in Russ­ian, Ger­man, French and English.

After the death of E. L. Wolff  from 1931 to 1936 the park and den­drolig­i­cal gar­den were head­ed by P. A. Aki­mov, and from 1938 to 1942 by pro­fes­sors V. N. Sukachev and N. M. Andronov.

Since 1942, gar­den and park were man­aged by A.A. Grabovskaya. Her task was very hard – she had to pre­serve the objects dur­ing this dif­fi­cult peri­od and to super­vise the restora­tion of the park after the war.

The great Patri­ot­ic war and the siege of Leningrad caused great dam­age to the gar­den. The Upper den­dro­log­i­cal gar­den suf­fered the worst : in 1935–1936 there were list­ed more than 1,200 species and forms of woody plants rep­re­sent­ed by 3850 spec­i­mens, while after the war there remained only 800 species and forms  rep­re­sent­ed by approx­i­mate­ly 2155 specimens.

The restora­tion of the park of the For­est Tech­ni­cal Acad­e­my began in 1946. The land­scape gar­den­ing staff under the guid­ance of A. A. Grabows­ka and her Deputy V.V. Hov­an­skaya not only put the park ter­ri­to­ry in order and elim­i­nat­ed the con­se­quences of the war, but also cre­at­ed a num­ber of inter­est­ing plant­i­ngs in the park. In 1952 land­scape gar­den­ing econ­o­my was del­e­gat­ed to aca­d­e­m­ic stud­ies office.

Cat­e­go­ry “Botan­i­cal” was assigned to the gar­den in 1970 by the order № 402 of 13 July 1970 of the Min­istry of High­er and Spe­cial­ized Sec­ondary Edu­ca­tion of Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion.  ” … in order to pre­serve, study and enrich the exist­ing unique world col­lec­tion of woody plants, as well as tak­ing into account the sci­en­tif­ic sig­nif­i­cance of the work car­ried out on the intro­duc­tion and acclima­ti­za­tion of tree species in the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment of the North-West­ern zone of the USSR.”

The Botan­i­cal gar­den was orga­nized on the basis of land­scape gar­den­ing Acad­e­my (arbore­ta, nurs­eries, parks, orchards and flower plan­ta­tions) with a total area of 43.7 ha. V. I. Drozhzhin was appoint­ed  the Act­ing Direc­tor of the Botan­i­cal gar­den and asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor F. A. Chep­ik was appoint­ed the sci­en­tif­ic supervisor.

Lat­er the fol­low­ing spe­cial­ists worked at the posi­tion of the Botan­i­cal gar­den direc­tors: V. G. Ivanov from 1972 to 1976, E. V. Smetan­nikov from 1976 to 1980, V. M. Polezhay from 1980 to 1984., G. A. Vereten­niko­va from 1984 to 1989., H. P. Zakharo­va from 1989 to 1992, doc­tor of Bio­log­i­cal Sci­ences, pro­fes­sor A. F. Chmyr from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to the present this posi­tion is occu­pied by PhD of  Bio­log­i­cal sci­ences’. N. P. Adonina.

Many gen­er­a­tions of the For­est Insti­tute grad­u­ates, pro­fes­sors and teach­ers took part in the devel­op­ment of the Botan­i­cal garden.

Foresters wide­ly known in our coun­try and abroad– pro­fes­sor F. K. Arnold, A. F. Rudzsky, G. F. Moro­zov, V. D. Ogievsky, aca­d­e­mi­cian I. P. Borodin and oth­ers — con­tributed great­ly to the devel­op­ment and replen­ish­ment of the gar­den col­lec­tions. They car­ried out their inves­ti­ga­tions in the gar­den and involved their stu­dents in this work.

Great atten­tion to its plan­ta­tion was paid by pro­fes­sors M. N. Rim­sky-Kor­sakov, S. I. Vanin, N. P. Kobra­nov, A. D. Dubah, G. G. Dop­pel­mair, L. A. Ivanov, M. M. Orlov, aca­d­e­mi­cian I. V. Tyurin et al.

Great con­cern for the Park, the arbore­tum and the Botan­i­cal gar­dens was showed by aca­d­e­mi­cian V.N.  Sukachev. It was he who pro­mot­ed the expan­sion of the col­lec­tion, in par­tic­u­lar the acqui­si­tion of the most valu­able species from Transbaikalia.

It was cli­mate sci­en­tists’ work that made the Botan­i­cal gar­den  a famous sci­en­tif­ic cen­ter. Among them were pro­fes­sors D. A. Lachi­nov, V. N. Obolen­sky, soil sci­en­tists – pro­fes­sor P. A. Kosty­chev, aca­d­e­mi­cian K. K. Gedroyc,  phe­nol­o­gist pro­fes­sor D. N. Kaig­orodov, zool­o­gist and ento­mol­o­gist pro­fes­sor N.A. Kholod­kovsky, ornithol­o­gist pro­fes­sor A. A. Silan­tyev, geol­o­gists — pro­fes­sors P. Pere­ly­gin, S. A. Yakovlev, etc.

Accord­ing to the most mod­est esti­mates, more than 300 sci­en­tif­ic works have been per­formed at the gar­den objects.