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We are building St. Petersburg. Gardener

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The green islands of the big city. Parks and gardens, lawns and squares. And of course flowers of different colors. To make the city genuinely cozy, colorful and alive, it cannot be done without a woman's touch. Three years ago Anna Gorkushamoved from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and is now in charge of a lot of specialists taking care of the city. She is responsible for the heart of the northern capital - Central, Admiralteiskiy and Petrogradskiy districts.

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Yes, yes, yes. Finish this, put it in a vase, and then spread it among the districts. That’s it, thank you.

At first, I was absolutely against this city. I didn't really like it, was absolutely indifferent to it. But, having moved here, I understood that I made the right choice.

When will you clean it up? Now they are walking, intensively walking, but the whole sidewalk is covered with grass. You cannot leave it like this. When will you clean it? OK, I trust you.

The green islands of the big city. Parks and gardens, lawns and squares. And of course flowers of different colors. To make the city genuinely cozy, colorful and alive, it cannot be done without a woman's touch. Three years ago Anna Gorkushamoved from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and is now in charge of a lot of specialists taking care of the city. She is responsible for the heart of the northern capital - Central, Admiralteiskiy and Petrogradskiy districts.

Anna Garkusha, CEO “Sadovo-Parkovoe PrdepriyatieCentralnoe” LLC: “I feel like a woman running a household - I want to make things pretty and clean, that's why I tell people what and where they should do. I cannot call myself a strict manager and I'm not trying to be one. But there are moments when this is unavoidable. Nevertheless, I'm trying to talk to people adequately, urge them to communicate and understand each other, instead of being punitive”

Put it all in plastic bags and take it out. Yes, take it all with you. Which part did you cover today, tell me please?

Near the bridge

Sergey Lyakhovnenko, head of garden-park management at St. Petersburg’s Committee on landscaping: “Working here is very hard. Considering how segmented this territory is, with unusual recreational load, because residents aside there are a lot of tourists here. All this generally affects many of our objects in a negative way. Nevertheless, our garden-park company handles it all well. The Central District is always pretty, well taken care of and looks amazing”

Just as in construction, landscaping has its limitations. For instance, according to regulations, the height of the lawn in the city should not exceed 10 cm. When the grass grows higher than this, it is trimmed by a lawnmower. The location of the lawn impacts how often the trimming takes place.

Every object in St. Petersburg has its category. For instance, our Kronverkskaya embankment is category one - it means 6 to 10 times a season. Naturally, considering the weather conditions. This year we were both lucky and not, so to speak. Heat and rain, rain and heat. Good conditions for growing grass, but it has to be trimmed much more often.

Anna Garkusha, CEO “Sadovo-Parkovoe PrdepriyatieCentralnoe” LLC: “Certainly, while inspecting my districts I can see what's going on, if there is anything which has to betaken care of. Of course, I issue orders and deliver them to the management if I see any problems, so that they would be solved. Every day I'm getting an information bulletin - what's going on and where, what kind of works are being completed. I can also go to a place off schedule for an inspection.

This is Surfiniya - A hanging plant. It is usually planted at this location just before the city day, May 27, and it's one of the first of flowers to be planted. We mostly use Surfiniya in those boxes.

In 2016, there were 7,250,000 flowers planted in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. Another 500,000 tulips will be planted in the fall, so that by the time the spring comes these flowers would make the city beautiful.

Sergey Lyakhovnenko, head of garden-park management at St. Petersburg’s Committee on landscaping: “About a quarter of our city’s landmass has greenery on it. According to a poll conducted in November last year, 80.6% st. Petersburg's residents were happy with garden-park industry, the state of greenery in St. Petersburg. In my opinion, this is a very high statistic - you cannot underestimate it” 

What colors and type of flowers would appease the eyes of citizens in the next season is decided beforehand, six months prior to the first plantings. The natural decoration and flower compositions are worked out in the garden-park company, and then approved by the landscaping committee.

Maybe we should take inert material, and make arrows of small bits there?

If the background will be made off begonias, it will be seen. What if we make the background of cinerariae?

No, if the background is made completely of cinerariae, would be boring. Let's leave begonias. Imagine a carpet made of cinerariae? It would be rather bleak.

Anna Garkusha, CEO “Sadovo-Parkovoe PrdepriyatieCentralnoe” LLC: “We are now selecting the assortment for next year, making estimates of how much we would need. Naturally, we keep a database of locations where we traditionally work. We add some things, take some things out, change certain designs replacing them with the newer ones. By May 9th we are usually planting the first flowers-violas. By the city day we are decorating the city with Surfinias. And replace those ones the summer runs out. It may be in October or even September.

Today there are around 3000 greenery objects in St. Petersburg. Those are parks, gardens, boulevards, squares and street greenery. Also, the specific of work in historic parts of the city is that around 70% of objects are under the control of the committee on preservation of historical and cultural monuments.

Alexander Leontyev, deputy head of Committee: “Clearly, we are overseeing these objects, these gardens and parks, so when there are talks of restoration works or any other works on those territories, the committee or affiliate organizations come to us for permission. They also regulate blueprinting documentation, while we are performing the same function -observe, give tasks, evaluate projects, and sometimes argue for maximum preservation.

Anna Garkusha, CEO “Sadovo-Parkovoe PrdepriyatieCentralnoe” LLC: “Changing any blueprints or changing the assortment and even types of trees - we have no right, we have no right to do that, only upon their approval. Because every object has its own preservation obligations - where it's written in black-and-white - which types of trees should be here, which flowers, which plant collections and so forth.

Here we have lime trees, they were planted here historically. And those are decorated with tangetis. This is considered as beautiful decoration, it makes the city look prettier. But also it entails additional watering of the trees - simply because there are flowers planted around them.

The everyday work with these objects, it makes you fall in love with the city more and more-showing its other side every day. Every object here has history, it really is so, and working with that you are almost forced to learn it.

I like this park very much. It is very picturesque, very beautiful and has a rich history. Whenever I come here every time it's always new to me.

Ekateringof Park was Anna's first assignment in St. Petersburg. And despite that she's no longer managing this park, she comes here often for trainings at the horse arena. Horses are another big love in Anna's life.

This one is a very calm horse, very kind; it is given for trainings to amateurs. It's not scary at all-would not randomly start galloping, would not throw you off her back. We have had situations with her when I fell down, and not on one occasion, but this was more of my fault and lack of experience. But, in principle, she has a very good character. She's a good girl.

Lets go, Frosya!

Shoulders back! Well done! Look that way where the trees are, or where the stars are. Do not look on the ground.

In 1823 Ekateringof Park became the first public place in St. Petersburg for walks. By 1914 St. Petersburg had more than 70 parks and gardens of such type, with overall 153 hectares worth of territory. In the Soviet times, the tradition of cleaning parks every Saturday was firmly established. Citizens were armed with brooms and spades and took to the streets to make them cleaner. During spring time they planted trees and flowers, in the fall they cleaned the leaves off the streets. Those events are held nowadays too. Every single person can contribute to making St. Petersburg cleaner and prettier.

Sergey Lyakhovnenko, head of garden-park management at St. Petersburg’s Committee on landscaping: “Every year we are holding monthly events, in spring and fall. And we have a day of cleaning up. On this day many residents of St. Petersburg-youngsters, students, army men, pensioners - join the workers of the garden-park industry and those from theadministration and clean the city.

A lot of people come, and bring their children with them. Even if they work with only 2 m², it still means they takepart. They show to their children - for the future - that such things are possible. So to speak, this is the same clean sheet - The manual labor in it's pure form. And that is the right thing.

After festival events in the city, workers of garden-park companies begin their workday earlier than usual - to make the city cleaner by the time it's citizens are in the streets. But on other days they also have a lot of work. Every day they plan something, clean something, water, fix, mow the lawns and cut bushes. But there are always those whose personal interests are more important than someone else's labor.

Pay attention-this Rose has spikes. And it never ceases to amaze me how people dare to steal those, just pluck them out of the ground to give it to their loved ones. They break it, and take it to their country houses-there are different situations.

The city is first of all a society. There are hoodlums, there are decent people, there are people who want to help, and there are people who want to harm. But every day we encounter vandalism and thievery. This is very upsetting - and it's another responsibility we have on our shoulders.

Loving your city means taking care of it. Even the coldest house would become warm if it's taken care of. What our common home would be like tomorrow - it's up to us to decide. We are building our city together. Every single one of us is building St. Petersburg.

Anna Garkusha, CEO “Sadovo-Parkovoe PrdepriyatieCentralnoe” LLC: “St. Petersburg always has its nose slightly high. It never bows down, a very proud and self-loving city. And this is a very right thing - because it keeps a very high standard. And when foreigners come to Russia, why do you think most of them go to St. Petersburg? Moscow is the center, the capital, the Red Square. Yes, Moscow is a very old city, it has much more history than St. Petersburg, but having come here, to St. Petersburg, tourists are saying wow!

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