St. Petersburg Botanical Garden
Perfect for a stroll on a sunny day, the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden houses a vast collection of plants and flowers, all tastefully presented in its landscape design and greenhouses. Go there to unwind and enjoy a relaxing stroll.
The garden started as Peter the Great’s Apothecary’s Garden in 1714. At first, plants were cultivated for medical purposes, but the garden began to be populated with an assortment of new and unique exotic plants. It grew into the second-biggest garden of its type in the world by the early 20th century, beaten only by Kew Gardens in London. However, it was ravaged by World War II and 90 percent of its collection was lost. Visit nowadays and admire how it has been returned to its former glory. Note how the plants that weathered the war even have medals to celebrate their survival.
Spanning 22 hectares (54.4 acres), this English landscape garden has plenty of space for all the species that call it home. Walk through the peaceful Alpine Hills area to see plants from the region, as well as plants from Russia’s Caucasus and Asia. Flora from even farther afield has also taken root, including orchids and bamboo.
Pay a visit to the one of the botanical gardens’ 26 greenhouses to see many strikingly beautiful plants and flowers from warmer climes. See the spectacular water lilies that can be as much as 6.6 feet (2 meters) wide in one humid hothouse. They can take up to 132 pounds (60 kilograms) in weight, but don’t be tempted to test that out.
Stop by the gardens in early summer for the chance to experience the Tsaritsa Nochi (Queen of the Night) event. This exotic plant blossoms for just one night every year. To mark this momentous occasion, the premises are open the entire night for a celebration with champagne. Although there is no way to calculate the flowering time with complete accuracy, it is normally in June.
The St. Petersburg Botanical Gardens can be accessed via the Petrogradskaya metro station. Walk to the entrance where Aptekarsky per and nab reki Karpovki streets meet. There is an entry fee to see the gardens. The greenhouses are open from Tuesday to Sunday year round, but the gardens are only open (again Tuesday to Sunday) from May to September.