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Aristocrats of the floral world: “Dacha in the city” project kicks off in St. Petersburg

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Residents of St. Petersburg are choosing the floral symbol of the region. It will become an integral part of the Northern Capital’s image. They were offered a choice of 5 plants growing in our region – oak, maple, lime tree, lilac and tulip. The event is nationwide, the choice will have to be made before August 31st. Voting takes place at ruspriroda.ru website. Kseniya Eremenko found out how aristocrats of the floral world are being grown

This dacha is like a minefield – you have to be wary of every step you make. Lev Ivanovich is afraid to breathe at the barely visible seeds of Siberian cedar, and can’t help admiring the blue pine-tree.

Despite this strong affection, 20 years ago the Siberian кедр became the Military Academy colonel’s deed of a lifetime. This greenhouse, which used to be home to tomatoes long ago, is like a coniferous nursery. A small pine nut gets here after a year of tests – by cold and by heat.

Lev Voskanyan, horticulturist: “This tree is an aristocrat. Not a single tree demands so much patience as a cedar. It has to be taken care of while it’s small, but then it’s not afraid of anything. I’m not doing anything, but they’re growing”

He’s 86, but its quite a challenge to catch up with him walking through his pine plantations. The secret of longevity is simple: porridge with pine nuts every morning. But the main thing is the curing power of pine trees.

Not fearing city germs, this proprietor of a home-made vegetable garden goes to her balcony for harvest. There’s salad, rucola and basil – for a healthy dinner – and mint for tea. Although, this greenery – richly flavored by vehicles’ exhaust fumes – has to be washed several times.

Alexandra Chigintseva, amateur gardener: “Now we have a vegetable pita, we’ll put fresh greenery on it. I cant say it is healthier than in a store, I grow it outside. I think its more for fun”

The balcony is like one big vegetable patch, but it fits 20 types of plant. Seeds like that are available in stores. Things which cannot be found on the shelves could be traded from those who share the same interests. Green apartments, balconies and gardens by a residential house are becoming a trend in the Northern Capital.

Kseniya Eremenko, reporter: “For modern day gardeners, flowers are like books. You grow it, get to know it, admired it and on to the next one. Just like in a world of books, in several parts of the city one can trade any plant for another one. We came to “Park Pobedy” metro station with a фиалка, but can leave with a fichus, a daisy or even an avocado. Lets trade, shall we?”

Avocado is quickly owned, followed by orchids and cactuses. Experienced gardeners are sharing and getting valuable consultations by the market.

It’s the 10th European-style plant exchanging market, organized by future PR-specialists. They launched the “Dacha in the city” project to prove – you don’t have to work hard far away from home to get your own tomato. Together with students – mostly over 50 – they’re making balconies, inner yards and even rooftops green.

Viktoriya Mavrova, author of the “Dacha in the city” project: “For example, the plant exchange was created so that the residents would improve their apartments, someone create one’s own corner”

Olga Smerdova, author of the “Dacha in the city” project: “Because everything around us influences our strengths and willingness to live”

The idea is that everyone – or almost everyone – would have a “Dacha in the City”. Lev Ivanovich went even further – dreaming of turning the city into dacha. He’s writing a second letter to the agricultural ministry, suggesting growing the useful cedars in all of St. Petersburg’s streets – to improve the ecology. This time, he will send pine nuts in the envelope, so that officials would finally believe in the ever-green Siberian. 

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