A Magnificent Garden Created By A Landscape Construction Engineer

A Magnificent Garden Created By A Landscape Construction Engineer

Svetlana Zheliba is a chemist by education and a landscape engineer by profession. I am delighted to share with you the story of the beautiful family garden she has created in Pargolovo. Now, let’s hear from Svetlana herself.

The idea of living on the land belonged to my husband. Having grown up with his grandmother in a small house on a piece of their own land, he always believed that a person should have their own cherry tree, a named plum tree, and a large raspberry bush. As for me, my childhood was tainted by annual gatherings of josta berries at my parents’ country house, so the thought of living away from the city apartment seemed outrageous to me. But time works wonders…

We happened to buy a standard 6-acre plot in an old gardening community on the northern outskirts of St. Petersburg. We renovated the house and lived there for two years, spending winters in the city. Most of our time was dedicated to dismantling numerous utility structures and clearing the land of bulky debris, which was much needed for our household. We decided that our country house would be solely for relaxation, so there was no place for vegetable beds or greenhouses here. Much later, we discovered that even relaxation was challenging, but who could have known? It became clear that the groundwater was almost at the surface, so we needed to raise the plot and install drainage. Among our achievements during that time was a very decent lawn and, oh joy, an alpine hill! Looking at its photos now, we amuse ourselves.

We decisively demolished the old house and built a new one in its place over the course of two years. We raised the level of the plot by half a meter, managing to preserve most of the perennials inherited from the previous owners. The old hosta, two clematis plants, peonies, falaris, and numerous astilbes, which bravely endured multiple transplants, still bring us joy. I didn’t waste any time; I studied, read, drew plans, made mistakes, corrected them, and made mistakes again.

Giving in to my husband’s demands, I agreed to have a decorative vegetable garden and a couple of berry bushes. “I’ll take care of the weeding myself!” he solemnly promised. Dear ladies, don’t believe it!

The whole family participated in laying the lawn on the renovated plot: my husband, myself, and our two sons dug, leveled, seeded, and watered it. It turned out quite well. I must say that it was practically the only thing our children did in the garden. Remembering my own struggles, I don’t force them to help us, hoping that someday they will develop a natural interest on their own. For now, it’s fast asleep.

Seventeen years have passed. We gradually expanded with two additional plots, requiring a considerable amount of mental and physical effort to remove the old boundaries. Among the significant losses, we can remember a mature spruce tree, about ten meters tall, which apparently couldn’t withstand the changes in water conditions and perished. We had to plant a large-sized replacement in its place.

As for the acquisitions that consistently bring joy, I can mention the pond, around which life in all its forms constantly buzzes. It is located by the window of our kitchen-living room, and I took most of the photos without even stepping outside.

It’s particularly pleasant that the wild ducks have made the pond their home, and in spring, a funny couple wanders through our garden. We have witnessed Shakespearean dramas from our observation point!

Diving from the sky to attack their rivals, fierce battles, attempts at drowning each other, the shameful retreat of the feathered villains, and finally, love in all its manifestations.

And what about the attempts of neighboring cats to reach the coveted feast? We’ve unleashed countless sarcastic comments at them: “Don’t wet your paws, you’ll catch a cold!”… “You think you’ll slurp the pond dry?”… and so on. If you can’t amuse yourself, no one will amuse you.

Our now fully-grown garden no longer requires constant watering, endless fertilizing, or dancing around delicate plants. The lawn of fescue and clover is free from plantings, and the soil beneath the plant compositions is covered with ground cover plants or mulched with bark. The garden certainly needs care, but it is not overly burdensome.

Nhat Dang