Artek’s Gardening School will help to preserve its legacy – the Nicolai von Hartwiss parks

Artek’s Gardening School will help to preserve its legacy – the Nicolai von Hartwiss parks

On December 9, 2017, ICC Artek held the certification of the center’s gardeners who completed the special program developed by the Lomonosov Moscow State University’s biology faculty. This year, in the framework of Artek’s partnership with Lomonosov Moscow State University, employees of the children’s center have completed an advanced training program and will now continue working with natural ecosystems and historical parks using the knowledge acquired during their training at the university’s biology faculty.
 
Artek’s Gardening School has continued the traditions of the 19th-20th centuries: from 1824 to 1923, Nikitsky Botanical Garden in Yalta trained gardeners for Russia’s southern regions. Another name closely associated with Artek is Nicolai von Hartwiss, a famous Russian botanist and plant-breeder, whose 225th birth anniversary will be marked in 2018. His estate was located on the territory of Artek. There, on an area of about 40 hectares, Nicolai, director of the Imperial Botanical Garden, established several parks, where he planted experimental collections of plants brought from all over the world. Today the Hartwiss Park has a botanical collection of the oldest introduced plants in Crimea, which were planted back in the 1830s and 1840s. This collection includes taxodium (swamp cypress), the Syrian juniper, 11 species of pine and other unique plants as well. The oldest olive grove in Crimea, which Hartwiss planted back in the 1830s, can be found on the territory of Camp Morskoi. Maintaining this legacy requires a high level of academic training, which is why Artek employees have recently completed in-service courses in plant physiology, morphology and taxonomy, geobotanics, landscape design, dendrology and soil science. During this year of training, they also took internship courses at the Apothecary Garden in Moscow, one of the oldest botanical gardens in Russia.

Vladimir Chub, director of Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Botanical Garden, Doctor of Biological Sciences, said that maintaining this rich legacy is Artek’s historical mission. “We cannot just create everything brand new; we have to build on history and make use of the accumulated experience,” he said. “There are plenty of landscape design schools out there that teach people how to arrange plants in a beautiful way. But then the plants overgrow and ruin the patterns. The Gardening School gives real knowledge of not just how to grow plants, but how to take care of them, maintain them. It is the first such program for the biology faculty, and I believe that it will benefit both parties.”
 
Galina Belyakova, the School’s academic adviser, suggested creating a Hartwiss Park museum and laboratory in Artek, where children could study biology, ecology and the history of Crimea’s southern coast. “Children are very sensitive to their environment. There aren’t so many 19th century buildings left in Crimea, but the Hartwiss estate is in great condition, and it could become the camp’s important educational venue in genuine historical surroundings. Some of Hartwiss’ plants grow even better in Artek than in Nikitsky Garden… Of course, it is impossible to recreate the whole park, but we could bring it closer to its original shape.”
 
Andrei Soshnikov, Deputy Director of ICC Artek, noted that such missions are essential for the camp’s development. “Everyone is learning here in Artek – the children, camp counselors and other employees. There are five 19th century historical parks with the total area of 102 hectares located on the territory of the camp. We have a lot to do, and we look forward to continuing our cooperation.”
 
On May 21-24, 2018, Artek will host the Hartwiss-225 Big Science Fest, dedicated to the legacy of the great scientist. The event’s program was also developed by the Moscow State University’s biology faculty.