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.