This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Prof. Budd, of Iowa, now traveling in Russia, sends the following to the Iowa Homestead:
" Of the Imperial Garden I can only say at this time that under the able management of Dr. Regel, it has attained a proud position. The doctor is now sixty seven years of age, and has had charge of these gardens for twenty-six years. Before coming here he was director of a botanic garden in the mountain regions of Switzerland. He is probably the ablest botanist in Northern Europe. He is really a walking encyclopoedia striding over the grounds and talking of the 24,000 species of plants under his charge. We tried to keep up with him for six hours yesterday. We did not observe that he was tired, but we freely admitted that we were. Some idea of the magnitude of the place may be inferred from the fact that the large glass houses, if placed end to end, would extend two English miles. Without exception the plants are in good condition, and are arranged in scientific order. In many respects the facilities offered in the way of suitable buildings, and the classification, seemed better than at Kew. Thirty skilled gardeners are employed to take charge of the different divisions. The running expenses amount to 66,000 roubles per year. It is in no sense a school, and no plants or trees propagated for sale.
Dr. Kegel, in company with a business partner, has an extensive nursery about two miles distant from the gardens. This nursery is in one sense also a botanical garden. Plants are grown quite largely of little known species of Northern Europe and Asia for distribution to botanical gardens, private collections, etc., in all parts of the world. Fruit trees are not largely grown. Indeed the soil here is not favorable for growing of fruit or fruit trees; yet here are found very many varieties of the apple of the hardiest known varieties. The German varieties in stock, when the scions were sent to our Department of Agriculture in 1870, were long since discarded. The sorts now grown are true Russians, which can stand rough usage. In connection with this nursery I should say that Dr. Maximowiz, the able curator of the Imperial garden, has spent four years recently in the interesting sections of North-western China, Dahuria, the Amoor, etc; very many of the novelties he collected are here propagated for distribution. In like manner the eldest son of Dr. Regel is now collecting in Bo-kara and other portions of Central Asia under the special protection and auspices of the Russian government.
The ancient centres of civilization are proving rich in species and varieties, which have measurably escaped the attention of the economic botanists.
"Of course the Imperial gardens are enriched by these collections, but the propagation of novelties for distribution seems wholly done at the private nursery, on commercial principles.
"The people are an opened-faced, clear complexioned race, who talk Russian with decidedly musical accents. Officials and the landed proprietors usually talk French, and many of them speak English imperfectly. Dr. Regel and Dr. Maximowiz speak English freely, the latter indeed quite as well as a native Yankee".