Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Alexander Palace => The Alexander Palace => Topic started by: Louise on April 28, 2004, 09:46:38 AM

Title: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Louise on April 28, 2004, 09:46:38 AM
I'm an avid gardener, so I would like to know who was responsible for maintaining the lawns, and gardens. How many people would have been involved in the planting, pruning and upkeep of the vast landscape.

What is being done down to get it back to its original beauty if anything?

Louise
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Sarai on April 28, 2004, 10:39:29 AM
Good question, asking about the grounds surrounding the palace. I would also like to know what kinds of trees and flowers grew there in the family's time, just out of curiosity.

One more thing that I thought of - I imagine that the vegetable garden area cultivated by the family during their captivity is now overgrown with grass again, but is it possible that the dirt there was left bare for planting other things in that same spot?
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on April 28, 2004, 10:51:45 AM
After the revolution the gardens were not maintained properly and things rapidly became overgrown.  Parts of the gardens were purposefully vandalized and some revolutionary 'heroes' were buried right in the middle of the park.  After the palace was established as a museum they tried to get things back under control, but they weren't able to replant some of the things that had been lost.  So, from that point until World War II the Alexander Palace park was kept in fairly good order.  Kuchumov told me how the park and the field of grass and wildflowers extended from the palace all the way to the Feodorovsky Sobor and how beautiful it was.  He said it was one of the glories of Russia - like Versailles - like a little paradise with the river and the gorgeous Slavic style white buildings, gilded dome, etc...

After the war the park was a mess, dead trees, bombs, mines, toxic chemicals, human remains, fragments of things from the palaces strewn about. Although the Catherine Palace park was restored, little beyond cleaning up the Alexander Park and installing underground heating and water systems was done.

I really believe one day we will see it all be restored - with swans on the kitchen pond, Alix's balcony back with flowers planted beneath it and the green field of cut grass stretching to the Cathedral and the Gorodok....

Bob
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on April 28, 2004, 11:03:20 AM
I have gone to the place where the vegetable garden was both in summer and winter.  When I have seen it this area of the park was terribly overgrown and dangerous to try and walk through.  I thought the mounds they piled up were still to be seen in places but because the park was torn up so much in the war it's possible that the was cause of the mounds and pits there.

Antonio has been there more recently and I hope he will share what he saw with us.

Maybe there are others that have looked there, too.

Bob
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on April 28, 2004, 11:32:42 AM
Hello Bob!
I´ve tried many times to look for the exact place and think i found it. I studied the parts of the palace facade that could be seen in the old photographs of the kitchen garden. The area is now wooded and there´s no trace altogether of the big marble vases that used to be nearby. As far as i could see there was no trace of the kitchen garden...
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Louise on April 28, 2004, 11:58:10 AM
It would have been great to see the parks and gardens in all their glory. It's a shame that it was laid to waste after the revolution and the WWII. I'm glad some effort is being put into the restoration. ((Hmm, a summer job there sounds fantastic)

Are there any details, plans or drafts of how the gardens were laid out and what was planted?

Would the formal gardens have been maintained by the same people that maintained the private gardens?

Louise
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: nerdycool on April 28, 2004, 04:16:54 PM
Quote
It would have been great to see the parks and gardens in all their glory. It's a shame that it was laid to waste after the revolution and the WWII. I'm glad some effort is being put into the restoration. ((Hmm, a summer job there sounds fantastic)


I never really thought about it until you said something, but now I realize that yes, it would be a great summer job. Heck, I'd give my right arm just to volunteer! But, that wouldn't pay the bills, so I'll just hafta stay in the US for now.... :( )
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on April 29, 2004, 08:23:29 AM
The trees were planted to the side of the Feodorovsky Sobor, I believe all but one survived the war.  About ten years ago a bust of Nicholas II was erected there.  We donated around $3,000 to the bust, but they couldn't but our names on it anywhere because the bust was in the open and they thought Russians might get mad that foreigners had been involved.  It was okay because we knew what we had done.  I was there for the unveiling and took pictures - Kuchumov and Bishop Vassili (Rodzianko) were there....
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Forum Admin on April 29, 2004, 08:45:50 AM
Here is that bust of Nicholas. The photo is thanks to Antonio, from his recent visit
(http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/images/NIIbust.jpg)
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Louise on April 29, 2004, 10:14:57 AM
Thanks for the pic. I have been searching and found out what climate zone the palace is in and I have been eagle eyeing pictures, so I have been getting an idea of what was planted and what could be planted.

It would be neat to see original designs of how the formal gardens were laid out and what was planted in them. Also what trees, shrubs, bulbs, etc.

Louise
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 29, 2004, 05:20:20 PM
Restorations can happen, if there's enough time, money, interest, and energy.  

On a much smaller scale, a number of volunteers (myself among them), under the auspices of county rangers, have been gradually restoring the grounds of Arden, the former estate of Madame Helena Modjeska, located in the Southern California foothills.  Modjeska was one of the world's great actresses in the 1870s-1890s, second only to the more flamboyant Sarah Bernhardt. She came to the United States in part to escape the censorship being imposed in her native Poland, coincidentally by the governing Tsarist regime.  :-/

Although many trees have taken over the estate since Modjeska was in residence, we are working toward restoring her rose gardens--using the same rose varieties from 100+ years ago!--as well as restoring the grounds in various other ways. I admit that while working outside amongst the California oaks, I have thought often of the Romanovs and their gardening activities that spring and summer of 1917.
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 29, 2004, 05:48:40 PM
I saw a lovely programme on that estate a few years ago, on a PBS show: California Gold.  Although I lived in LA for 10 years, I had never heard of the estate or the actress herself.  They did concentrate on the house itself though I do recall some mention of restoring some of the gardens.
It certainly would be a much smaller project than the AP gardens!
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on April 29, 2004, 06:13:50 PM
One thing that interests me is the fact that the trees were much shorter in the 18th century and you could still look out from the top of the collonade and see the city.

I have a big catalog of seeds from an English company that listed the Dowager Empress as it's patron.  I don't know if these seeds we used in the gardens of the palace, but it shows the varieties that were common at the time.

I know some of the roses that grew at Pavlovsk, but I don't know what varieties were gropwn in the Dowager Empresses rose gareden at the AP.  This garden was on the opposite side towards the children's island.

There was a flower garden in front of the Empress's balcony and I think Nicholas I also planted here.  He like to plant his own flowers at the AP.

The front of the palace was planted with flowers and bushes.  The forsythia and lilac there quickly grew way out of control after 1917 when they were untended.  In appears the Empress allowed these to grow larger even before the revolution to shield the windows on this side of the palace, since some people thought the garden on this side looked overgrown.  Also, the fragrance would blow into the palace on days when the windows were open.

In some parts of the park the grass was only cut a few times a year.  I saw how this was done at the Cottage one year.  They let it grow like a meadow with flowers and then cut it flat like a carpet in July. It was amazing to see it one day wild and beautiful and then the next day it was clipped like a formal garden.

Alexandra comments on the workmen cutting the grass at the AP and how the cutting was 'late' that year.

Bob
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Louise on May 01, 2004, 04:28:51 PM
Glad to hear that the garden was restored at Palmse. I would volunteer my garden gloved hands, all my garden tools and my creaking knees, just to plant a few plants/flowers and have some time to garden at AP.

One day!

Louise
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: christine martin on May 08, 2004, 05:28:59 AM
Dear Bob
We spoke by telephone many years ago.   I have only just found your 'discussion forum'.   Your energy and optimism is an example to us all.   Without your determination and singlemindedness, the Alexander Palace would be in an even more perilous state.
I visit Tsarskoe Selo regularly.   Sadly, shortly after my last visit Alexander Kedrinsky died.   When I spoke with him, he was very concerned about the condition of the roof  over the parade halls.
Re the oaks at the Feodorovsky Sobor - four survived, two of which can be seen in the background of the photograph of the bust of Nicholas II which was taken recently by Antonio.    I was present when Bishop Rodzianko planted an oak there in 1999.
Christine
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on May 08, 2004, 09:05:02 AM
Oh my goodness - Christine - Kedrinsky is dead, how horrible... when, where - how did he die?  I don't have your phone number anymore - can you email me so we can reconnect?

Bob
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on May 08, 2004, 09:38:14 AM
I remember when I met Kedrinsky in the 80's.  When he met me I told him that I had written the Catherine Palace when I was a kid many times asking about the Alexander palace but never had a reply.  I mentioned some of the things I had written - he laughed and said "You were that crazy kid?  We always wondered if you were for real and now here you are, amazing!"  Then he hugged me.

Bob
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: christine martin on May 08, 2004, 10:11:08 AM
Dear Bob
I am so sorry to break the news of Kedrinskys death to you.   He died suddenly of a heart attack last September.   Father Markel looked after everything.   (Kedrinsky was of unsurpassable help with the drainage at the Feodorovsky Sobor - without his knowledge we would not have the restored cave church of St Serafim)   A memorial was held in his honour in the Silver Hall of the Catherine Palace.  It was packed - attended by all the staff and everyone who cares about Tsarskoe Selo.   His widow lives in Orangery Street.   My friend keeps and eye on her.   She does have family.
Please send me your personal e-mail and I will e-mail you my telephone number.   Alternatively you can contact me on - christinemartin@hotmail.com
I think we might have a lot to talk about!!!
Best wishes,  Christine.
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on May 08, 2004, 02:56:02 PM
My email is boba@pallasweb.com
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Cathy on May 09, 2004, 01:53:52 AM
Hi Christine and Bob
Sorry to interupt your sadness; I feel as if I'm evesdropping on two old friends but that I am welcome to do so.
Back to the A. Park - where did the debris go after the war - was it buried.  The grounds are lovely now but I wonder what is underneath the mounds!  And what happened to the mines that were laid during the war?  Were they detonated first?
I would love to see the grounds in the summer, in full bloom .
Thanks Cathy
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Sarai on June 27, 2004, 02:05:32 PM
Joanna,
I tried your link but it doesn't work :(
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Allison on June 27, 2004, 02:16:27 PM
Joanna,

Thanks for sharing!  ::)
Title: Re: АAlexander Palace Landscaping and Ga
Post by: Sarai on June 28, 2004, 02:24:20 PM
Quote
I cliqued on the link and it worked for me. I do not know why it is not for you. Did you try the link on Znamenskaya Church if you can get in? Or you can copy the link to the address field?


Joanna,
I got the link to work, thanks.
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Sunny on June 28, 2004, 05:44:54 PM
Joanna,

Brilliant photos...as ever, you "come bearing gifts"...
Thanks so much.

Sunny
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on November 02, 2004, 04:25:02 PM
Joanna - that is VERY interesting - I wonder if we could write someone there and find out more about the railings!  Perhaps we can ask one of our Russian friends - I will add this to a list of questions!
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Arleen on November 03, 2004, 02:35:15 PM
So Bob, does this mean that the railings of the Alexander Palace are CAST iron as opposed to WROUGHT iron?       ..Arleen
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on November 04, 2004, 12:53:52 PM
I meant cast in a mold rather than pounded or forged.  I didn't realize cast iron and wrought iron were different types of the metal:

Wrought Iron: n:  having a low carbon content that is tough and malleable and so can be forged and welded.

Cast iron (Metal.), an impure variety of iron, containing from three to six percent of carbon, part of which is united with a part of the iron, as a carbide, and the rest is uncombined, as graphite. It there is little free carbon, the product is white iron; if much of the carbon has separated as graphite, it is called gray iron.
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Arleen on November 04, 2004, 01:34:39 PM
Thanks Bob, I didn't know all that either.....I just knew CAST as in a mold and Wrought as made by hand.  The wrought being the most desirable where I am from, the most expensive.  I am "wild" about iron work, I wish these railings could be found.       Arleen
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on November 07, 2004, 02:34:51 PM
You guys find the best things!!!!!!

This pictures are great but so, so slow in loading - we are going to contact the photographer and see if they will put an english version of the page on our site....
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: BobAtchison on November 24, 2004, 04:48:58 PM
My descriptions of the construction of the balcony only say that it was designed by Danini in 1896 and was made by the St. Petersburg Metal Factory.  Other cast iron balconies around the palace were made of cast iron by Berd in 1846.
Title: Re: Alexander Palace Landscaping and Gardening...
Post by: Joanna on November 04, 2017, 10:09:17 AM
Imperial Court money problems and the vase – Alexander Palace Garden

http://winterpalaceresearch.blogspot.ca/2017/11/hermitages-marble-vase-in-alexander.html

Joanna