About Latvia

About Latvia

The Baltic is the Soviet name for the three Baltic republics, "Soviet abroad": Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. It seemed that with the collapse of the USSR, the home name Baltics would give way to the more correct “Baltic States”, but this did not happen.

Indeed, if we talk about the Baltic States, the Baltic countries, then it is necessary to somehow separate the other Baltic Sea countries - Poland, Sweden, because no one would think of calling Sweden, Finland and Germany the Baltic countries!

Castle in Kuresaare (Estonia)

Over time, in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia themselves, they came to the conclusion that teaching former fellow citizens to distinguish one country from another, not to confuse capitals and cities, is a rather troublesome business, but to take advantage of the established brand of “the Baltic countries »It is profitable to attract tourists. Moreover, the Baltika brand has a much greater attractive power than its English-speaking counterpart Baltic states, which, moreover, the Europeans are trying to confuse with the Balkans.

In recent years, the concept of the Russian Baltic has appeared, this is how the Kaliningrad region of Russia is called, which is similar in climatic conditions, landscape, location on the seashore with the Baltic countries, but which is administratively the territory of Russia.

Tours to the Baltics

Tour operators in the Baltics in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities and countries usually offer weekend tours, sightseeing tours, spa resorts, sanatoriums, beach vacations, as well as combined tours in all three Baltic countries. Some tour operators specialize in children's, school tours, as well as bus tours.

Rest in the Baltics - rest by the sea

Despite the fact that recreation in the Baltics has lost the aura of elitism since Soviet times, it is quite popular, and in recent years, the Baltics have come back into fashion. What attracts tourists? First of all, it is the sea. Although for the most part it is quite cool, but the sea and pine trees stretching along the sandy beaches create a unique microclimate here, favorable for calm rest, relaxation and recovery. The sea, air, pine trees and other components of the Baltic climate are used by the Baltic resorts and sanatoriums and SPA centers that are opening like mushrooms after rain.

The Baltic Sea is convenient for families with children, you can stand, sit in it and not be afraid of great depth

Secondly, the capitals of the Baltic countries - Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius, and other Baltic cities are quite different from the cities of the former USSR in terms of architecture, historical heritage and their way of life. They have a medieval part - the Old Town, and in the central parts of cities you rarely find standard Soviet buildings, which is why the cities themselves look different, "like in real Europe."

The Baltics are considered a good place for families with children. An increasing number of Russians rent dachas in Jurmala on the seashore for the whole summer, and take their families there. Abandoned ones are being revived, there were pioneer camps, once famous for the whole Union of Albatross and others. In general, the Baltic Sea is convenient for children, because it is not deep, you can go quite far. There are fewer people, no crowds, comfortable paths and ramps for wheelchair rides, cars make way for pedestrians, good air and natural food.

The Go Blonde Parade, which is held every year in May, has become the new brand of Riga

By the nature of my work, I often have to visit private gardens, not only ours, but also foreign ones. Several years ago I visited 30 Lithuanian gardens.

These gardens were not chosen by chance - they were the winners of the best garden contests of different years, held by the Lithuanian Florists' Union. By the way, about this public organization: it is already 45 years old, and once it "spun off" from the more powerful Union of Gardeners. Lithuanian flower growers are very active: they conduct various competitions, lectures, seminars, exhibitions and fairs and expeditions to distant regions of the country. They also actively cooperate with their botanical gardens and participate in international flower forums. Amateur gardening is flourishing in the country: Lithuanians are extremely proud of their estates and willingly show them off to neighbors and guests. Private garden competitions are held annually, when authoritative commissions visit the applicant sites and evaluate them to the fullest extent of the laws of garden design.

The best award-winning gardens that I was lucky enough to visit were all very different (in size, layout, design), but gradually I developed a kind of collective image of Lithuanian beauty. The first thing that immediately caught my eye was the lack of fanaticism in relation to fences. Often, in small villages of Europeanized Lithuania, there are no private property fences on the side of the road at all. The owners of former horticultural associations with plots of 6 acres usually fence their possessions with fences up to one and a half meters high, and most often generally prefer low, rare fences. By the way, this is a typical European approach to the design of the entrance area, when it is made completely open to the eyes of passers-by. Some gardeners plant hedges of thujas, spruces, barberries, spirits along the borders of the plots, or simply gently stretch a low plastic or metal mesh between the posts, which is decorated with climbing plants. By the way, this technique also helps to "blur" the real boundaries of the sites.

Plant decoration

The abundance of conifers in gardens is another distinctive feature of Lithuanian gardens. Due to a more humid and less severe climate than in central Russia, they all look luxurious. Many gardeners plant not only conifers purchased from nurseries, but also love to graft, cut and form their own unique specimens themselves. In the gardens there were many conifers in the form of balls, ottomans, pyramids, cones, spirals and garden bonsai.

Lithuanians are more relaxed about colors. I very rarely met peonies and phlox there. But in each estate grew hosts, astilbe, daylilies, ferns, heuchera, stonecrop, thyme and rejuvenated. Of the vines, clematis, climbing roses, kirkazon, lemongrass and maiden grapes are held in high esteem, petunias, geraniums, begonias are among the summer ones. But in gardens near Moscow, advanced florists usually have a richer assortment of perennials.

In addition to ornamental plants, Lithuanians grow fruit trees (mainly on dwarf rootstocks) and are very fond of making flat crowns themselves. Berry bushes are used to plant strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and gooseberries. But garden fans are rare. Only in a few gardens have I seen glazed greenhouses that looked more like small graceful greenhouses. Many owners prefer to buy vegetables from the market. In any Lithuanian garden, green and spicy herbs are grown, but without the tips of the hostesses, I would never have found their secret gardens.

It is impossible not to mention the quality of Lithuanian lawns. Some of the lawns were no worse than the English ones, and at times it felt like treading on expensive, resilient carpets. In response to my praise for the impeccable lawn, the owner of the garden, Genute Naaitienė, revealed her secret to me: she specially collected seeds of local cereals in the surrounding fields and added them to the purchased lawn mixture. Due to this, the grass in her garden never fell out and grew very quickly after the snow melted. And, of course, only with the constant care of the lawn, the hostess was able to achieve such excellent results. On the borders of lawns, flower growers usually break amazingly beautiful mixborders, the curved lines of which only emphasize their dynamic forms.

Water Fun

Lithuania is rich in rivers and lakes, so many of the estates that are located in the southern part of the country and which I visited were located near the water. But despite this, Lithuanians love to equip ponds and streams in their private gardens. I noticed that this people has some kind of reverent attitude towards water. I remember how I once admired for a long time a huge plantation of varietal nymphs in a village pond by the road. It turned out that the locals had landed them at their own expense.

Wilgemina and Paul Didonius found a place for two reservoirs at once on a small 6-acre plot near Kaunas: a rectangular one with a graceful bridge adjoining a gazebo for a barbecue, and a pond on the lawn along the fence. In one reservoir, the owner kept ornamental fish - koi carp, and in another, his wife raised water lilies. Standing on a small bridge, it is very convenient to watch the lazily wiggling tails of beautiful fish and admire the reflection of spectacular plants planted by the water.

Traditional materials

The use of stone, wood and ceramics can also be attributed to the national characteristics inherent in Lithuanian estates. This is especially true for such small architectural forms as gazebos, benches, wells, sculptures. And here measure and taste were felt in everything. Nothing argued with each other, did not shout or attract undue attention to itself. Everything coexisted peacefully and obeyed one single goal - to create a beautiful and cozy garden for relaxation.

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