A small tour of the Latvian nature

ireena_7October 5, 2012

So that Dax interested in my big project, I send pictures of my newly inherited land. Perhaps others will be interested to see it:) I have now 3ha of meadow and 4ha of very old forest. There are growing old spruces, pines, birches, elms. And much much tall grass:)). It is 70 km from my house, in rural area.

I have a little river too.... There will be water for watering. But I'm going to plant here in a very durable and large trees, that on our climate does not require regular irrigation.. Generally, I want to build a large park here - in the future.

Please - a little tour:)


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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)


I appreciate the tour.

Your newly inherited land... family owned for years?

Lucky you. It couldn't have a better owner.

The untouched small stream is especially beautiful. Well as a matter of fact the whole place is.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Hi Ireena,

nice pics from a beautiful rural landscape. A bit similar like some parts here in Germany. The little river is wonderful.
And wow what a big project to build a park there!

Good luck


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Simply splendid! Beautiful northern forest. Is that Picea abies I see in there?

Also, is the tall grass by any chance reed canary grass-Phalaris arundinacea? That is a tough competitor for young trees. Quite likely, to get anything growing in that stuff-if that's what it is-some kind of management plan will be needed.

If this were my land, and it does look similar to the property I own, I'd be strongly in favor of enabling the existing forest tree species to colonize more land. Oh I might plant a few thousand of something else too ;^), but I'd surely be working with those perfectly well-adapted native trees and ground layer plants too.

Thanks so much for this. I think I need to visit Latvia some day.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Yes it is Pieca abies and Pinus sylvestris - our native species.

My idea is to use species that are characteristic for the northern hemisphere, and the variety that is added to the traditional landscape. But no exotic! Picea abies various forms, Picea omorika, obovata, mariana, Pinus sylvestris, mugo, peuce, ponderosa, cembra, Larix, Juniperus ..... et cetera...

I started with the fact that the neighboring farmers arranged 2x over the summer mowing the meadow.

The next step - a symbolic fence around my property - at least in the outer part of the meadow.

And then in the spring will be created the first bed - approximately 15m2. I plan excavated top part of lawn, as it have very thick grass roots. It will compost in the future and suitable for ground improvement. Then will wait a few weeks to germinate weeds and destroy them with herbicide. Then going to mix in turf to make the soil more drained. And then I wil planting 2-3 new trees that are already waiting in my garden. For ich tree I will made separately hole with rich soil - for beginning of growth. And then there will be a layer of mulch - 5-10 cm (pine bark). I have already Picea abies Cupressina, Acrocona, Pendula Major and some Juniperus for lower stage...

Grass there really is very aggressive and I want to make a broad, strictly separated beds with conifer groups. Of course, I should be thinking about planting composition. What is rather slow and difficult process:)))

I will start slowly. Better to make less, but thoroughly.

I hope that my planting plan can not be too wrong. Open to all professional advice.

+oM, forest has managed to colonize much of my meadow. Once they were much wider. I'm not going to cut the forest, but only slightly spaced birch and alder coppices.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:20PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Wow, Ireena,you do have a nice piece of land and that stream is amazing, something I wish to have in my own Pinetum as well some day.
It's very important to have future plans to fulfill your dreams :0)
I wish you good luck with your plans to create a wonderful Arboretum.
You know how to find me if you need some help in finding nice conifers :0)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Thanks for your invitation, Edwin. I have already started to plan my next summer trip. It could be Austria, Southern Germany and the Netherlands are up nearby :) I've read that your country has beautiful parks and arboretum to look at. For example Trompenburg Arboretum in Rotterdam .... Maybe you could recommend me another one in Germany or the Netherlands?


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:14PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

No problem, I can organize a whole tour for you here in The Netherlands.
The same was done for a big bunch of ACS members who were here in my country recently...
You know how you can reach me for more info :0)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:18PM
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Sounds real good Ireena. You know what you're doing. I might even suggest letting weed seeds germinate two times, each cycle followed by the herbicide. That's how we do it when time permits. All the troublesome weeds are what are known here as "ag weeds", junk that came here along with farming. You might have similar stuff there.

Anyway, love what you've got going.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Jon 6a SE MA


Many years ago I worked with a young co-op student from Northeastern University that was a passionate ex-patriot of Latvia and an advocate for its independence from the Soviet Union. I am ashamed to tell you that before we became friends I had no idea where Latvia was.

It is good to see the freedom and prosperity you enjoy in your lovely country.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Hi, Jon.

Yes, to get the land back was possible only after independence came. There was once a home and a large farm. Everything was destroyed, when they came across the Soviet army at the end of the war. This land was taken away. Soviet there have ever grown cereals. Many rich farms were in Latvia before us occupied Russia. It's all been destroyed, and lands taken away their hosts.

Thank God, it's all in the past :) Now is the time to restore the former beauty!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Dittos to all of the above. Surely there must be at least one broom hiding somewhere in that paradise.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:42AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Lovely Ireena. What we see at your forest is what +oM is doing here in America. He plants Picea abies to his land which is forest dominated with Thuja occidentalis. Also he plants Thuja occidentalis. I will let him tell more such as the hybrid Larix among etc-.

You have been gifted simply amazing peaceful place. I have 2.4 hectares of which I plant seriously what Dad calls "a park like setting." No too close plantings... all methodically planted so trees and shrubs grow to very serious large potential. I am now done with all tree planting and have room for shrubs, but not too many. My land is becoming mostly full. Neighboring property behind me has stream of water just like your's so animals and birds visit here often. I may suggest you consider planting beautiful trees with berries and nuts for your new friends: Rhamnus, Sorbus, Viburnum, Carya, Quercus, Cornus, Prunus, Malus, Aesculus: you will need at least one of each :)

Your place is beautiful. Thanks for your tour.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 7:26AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Beautiful spruces in the fourth pic. Are those native Norway spruces?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Yeah Beng, Ireena id'd those, upthread somewhere. Good-looking forest if ya ask me. It's particularly interesting for me to see equivalents from across the world-things like Ireena's Betula pendula to my Betula papyrifera for example. Same theme, slightly different players. And as Dax points out, there's just so much satisfaction in developing your own bit of paradise. I really don't know what could be more engaging over a longish timeframe.

Now if you'll all permit me a bit of off-topic news, this weekend, we are going up to that land with heavy hearts, to bury our deceased 16 yr. old golden retriever. The spot is selected. One time several years ago when we'd not yet found a good route into the woods, we stopped at a deer trail through thick cedar trees. Before we entered the woods, my buddy Butte started that hilarious snuffling that golden retrievers do when they've found an especially interesting aroma. He dug down through 3 ft. of snow until just his hind legs were showing. We then heard the sound of rattling bones. When he climbed back up, he had a deer skull in his mouth! That's the kind of dog he was. Pretty tough to deal with right now.......sorry.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 10:47AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Tough times +oM. Nobody should have to lose a dog. And it's not fair they don't live as long as we do.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:47PM
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You are correct Dax.

Now before I completely destroy the mood here, couldn't help but note that for Ireena, peat is the most readily available mulch material! We should all be so unfortunate!

Alright, I know that bagged peat, as sold here in the US, is NOT a good mulch material, but I suspect Ireena's got a good technique down for its use.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 4:31PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Sorry about your loss, +oM. Losing a pet is definitely hard. Dogs especially - After 15 years, they just seem like they've always been there.

Very nice, Ireena! Looks quite a bit like central Wisconsin - Lots of paper birch, jack pine, and a number of other evergreens you can't identify driving at 70 MPH along the highway.

I've always loved to see plants that you previously knew only in the landscape in their natural habitats. Those Picea abies are beautiful! Also love the stream. Thanks for the tour! (By the way, that birch makes EXCELLENT firewood!)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:54AM
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Thank you all for your good words. Sorry for the late reply - but I have not been near my computer on weekends. Outside in the garden was a lot of work before winter.

But I want everyone to answer:)

At first I would like to express my deep condolences to the loss of +oM friend. I have 9 years old irish setter, which are very similar like golden retrivers - similar in appearance, character.... This is my fifth dog - in my life. And every time this loss is unforgettable. A dog is not just a friend - it's a family member...

Dax - your adwice is right - about leaf trees with berries and nuts. I have already planted 3 Quercus rubra (my acorns seedlings), 1 Acer saccharinum species and 1 'Wieri', 8 Acer platanoides along my borders (from my forest), Salix, Sambucus nigra. It is difficult with separate planted trees - the grass is very dense and aggressive.
Cutting down and spacing shrubs, I left a very beautiful Corylus avellana - our native trees (shrubs?). Got a light they will be able to develop normally. But it's all going very slowly because we do it alone with my âÂÂâÂÂhusband. And all by hand, with a chainsaw. Now we have decided not to fight more with nature and leave the shrubs as they are, just try to limit them. Not within our power, and it is not necessary to extend the meadow.

+oM, I use peat like mulch only in my small garden, where are very dense planting and I need frequently replant my plants. At large meadow is the only way - coarse pine bark mulch. I add peat in planting hole only and thine layer under mulch.

At first we wanted to clean the river banks too, but then I understood that it would lose its beauty. Natural beauty :)

Reality dictates its own rules. And they are not so bad :) I do not change the nature of the remains, but to supplement it.

If you liked and it was interesting, I insert a few more pictures of the same subject.:)

It's our famous Pinus sylvestris var. rigensis, which grows only in Latvian (later I will include at this forum the litle review of this magnificent tree:)

A typical Latvian landscape - around my land -

Picea abies cones

My irish setter in the large grass

Meadow in summer. The grass is growing like crazy! No wonder, when in June it rains every other day. Farmers can not gather the hay. The grass will not dry out.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Great stuff Ireena. Thanks for the condolences. BTW, our golden retriever was of the reddish phase, which if I've understood correctly does actually have some Irish setter in its background. Almost worse than plant taxonomy, the understanding of where different dog breeds arose!

I've often wondered what it is that causes Pinus sylvestris to grow so much taller in Eurasia as compared to N. America. We've got some nice ones, but I've seen many pictures from Russia, N. Europe, and now Latvia, that show a greater height.

Love the meadow. And what I really like about such meadows is the way the surrounding forest can usually be seen to be "invading" them. I find this one of the most beautiful sites in nature.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:55PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Ireena, beautiful landscape. The Norway spruces & Scots pines (blue-green pine in 3rd pic) are most impressive. Birches too.

Your little stream is similar to my border stream, which is full of rainbow trout and bluegills (crappies). With alittle "training", I can get them to jump up & snatch a piece of fatty chicken-skin held above the water.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:54AM
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What's the difference between Pinus sylvestris var. rigensis and the scots pine that grows in scandinavia? It looks quite the same :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:36PM
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"What's the difference between Pinus sylvestris var. rigensis and the scots pine that grows in scandinavia? It looks quite the same :)"

Genetically, none ("var. rigensis" isn't accepted as a distinct taxon). It's down to growing conditions - climate, soils, etc. - and forest management techniques that select for straight stems.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:32PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Surely a paradise! Now you'll never run out of room.

Although I like it just the way it is.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:30PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)


Your land you inherited looks like a very beautiful place. I particularly like the natural stream you have running through your property.

Your irish setter is beautiful.

Thank you for the tour.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:42PM
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