A Paradise-Styled Garden: The Exquisite Garden of Olga Sazonova

A Paradise-Styled Garden: The Exquisite Garden of Olga Sazonova

We live in this place all year round, and I wanted the garden to be pleasant to look at even in winter when colors are scarce. The first thing we did when we moved here in 2011 was to paint the gazebo in a blue-green color and ordered two pergolas and an entrance arch, which we also painted in the same color. We attached ornate brown wooden grilles to the gray profiled sheet metal fence.

You will agree that this intricate color resembles the sky, and the evergreen plants break the snowy whiteness with vibrant spots, making it less gloomy to look out the window. We were fortunate to buy a house with a pre-planned plot, where paths were already laid out, thuja trees were planted along the perimeter, and there was a white gazebo with maiden grapes.

For about three years, I didn’t plant anything on the plot except for purchased petunias along the paths. We regularly mowed and fertilized the lawn during the season, added compost and mineral fertilizers under the thuja trees every spring, hoping they would grow quickly and shield us from the neighboring windows. The thuja trees have grown; they are now level with the roof of the neighboring house, but as you can see, they were planted too far apart (oh, if only we had known in 2011), and they didn’t form a solid wall. We couldn’t hide from the neighboring house, and it occasionally appears in the frame.

But if you can’t hide something, find new focal points. I tried my best. But let’s start from the beginning. In 2014, it so happened that I quit my job, and one day I went to the plot…

From that moment, I believe, our garden was born. There was plenty of space! My first thought was, “What will I fill it with?” Now the thought is completely different: “Where will I plant all of you?” It started with a dreadful phase, you could call it a “gold rush.” I planted many plants without considering their needs and their hardiness—it pains me to remember how many I lost. Later on, I surrounded myself with gardening magazines and books and ended up enrolling in the School of Gardeners at Moscow State University.

As for the area of the garden below the retaining wall, it underwent a significant reconstruction this year. I won’t publish photos; I respect your feelings. Three years ago, I became obsessed with columnar apple trees, neglecting all other plants (I didn’t even order anything from nurseries in winter!). I dealt with 24 seedlings, but in the end, ants, fruit flies, and moniliasis emerged victorious, and in autumn, I gave the apple trees to a good person.

As you can see in the photos, below the retaining wall, I planted flowerbeds with peonies, continuing the tiered principle. I try to make the flower beds as decorative as possible throughout the season. It doesn’t work everywhere: if you plant large clusters of plants, then before and after flowering, these clusters need to be “dissolved” in the flower bed, so I try to find other focal points. Multilevel planting comes in handy in this regard.

There is a corner in the garden “to contemplate.” My husband calls it the “contemplation spot.” I mourn while looking at how he built a vegetable bed there with herbs. And he, apparently, contemplates the swaying inflorescences of dill and, breathing in the smell of coriander, reminisces about his distant southern homeland…

We also have a “grapevine gazebo,” which my husband expertly trims and shapes. Although it’s no longer entirely covered in grapevines, it is also entwined with hydrangeas and honeysuckle. On the left, there is cut-leaved viburnum growing, whose ornate leaves remain decorative throughout the season.

And we even have our own private beach! Not near a pond, but on a spare parking space that we beautified by covering the metal gate with wooden screens, and I placed an umbrella and sunbeds there. We lie on them in August, gazing at the falling stars and making wishes. But where is the sea? Why the “beach”? Well, if there are sunbeds, there must be a sea somewhere… A sea of flowers, a sea of positivity, a sea of relaxation.

And now we are approaching the exit from the garden. Oh, right! Where is the “Central Russian beauty”? My whole little garden is full of allegories – a pond, a beach. And as for the Central Russian beauty… of course, birch trees.



Nhat Dang