[Part 8 of 14. Solovki 2013]
In addition to the Canals and the Monastery complex, perhaps the most marvelous site on the islands was the Botanical Garden, about four kilometers from the main village.
Founded in 1822 by Archimandrite Makarii, The Gardens are located in a little ravine-valley that produces its own micro-climate (a micro-climate within the micro-climates that are Solovki). Here, the walls of the ravine block out the wind and the temperature during the year is warmer than other parts of the island.
And this micro-climate allowed the monks to be able to grow all sorts of plants and trees that were non-native to the region and generally would otherwise be unable to survive such a northern location. Here, both monks and others experimented with what sorts of plants and trees might grow there, and learned a great deal about the effects of temperature, latitude, wind, water, and other factors on the growth patterns of this flora.
The monks grew here all sorts of medicinal herbs and plants, which they could then also sell on the mainland.
They also planted trees from different parts of the Russian empire. Some trees that grew out of the protective shield of the valley had their tops knocked off again and again. (see Yertle the Tree below, showing wind damage and regrowth).
A lovely tree-lined pathway was planted, but the trees were planted too close together and their branches, as you can see from the photos below, primarily grow out on the outside of the alley.
Some photos of the gardens. Still very active. Very unuusal flowers for that far north!