VIII. Of the Rise, Progress, and present State of Gardening in Russia
448. The history of gardening in Russia is very different from that of the art in any of those countries which have yet come under review. Peter the Great sought, by one gigantic stride, to raise the character of his nation to a level with that of other countries; and. by extraordinary efforts, introduced excessive refinement amid excessive barbarism. He assembled magnificent piles of architecture in a marsh; and created the most sumptuous palaces and extensive parks and gardens, in the bleak pine and birch forests which surrounded it. Nothing can be more extraordinary, in the way of gardening, than the well-known facts, that a century ago there was scarcely such a thing, in any part of Russia, as a garden; and, for the last fifty years, there have been more pine-apples grown in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburgh than round any other town on the Continent.