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Holiday in Latvia


By AndrewR


I was away most of last week for a short break in Latvia. It is one of the three countries on the east side of the Baltic Sea that gained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The first two nights we stayed at a manor house in the country; we then came back into Riga for three more nights so it was a good opportunity to see both the capital city and the countryside of this interesting country.

This was part of a private garden we visited on the second day. It was interesting to see what will survive the long winters there but the owners also grew bedding to give a bright display in the warmer months.

The following morning we visited Janis Ruksans nursery. This is primarily a bulb nursery but he also sells hostas.

The bulb warehouse is very well organised. Although the selling season is officially over, he did allow a few purchases and I bought a corydalis I saw growing in Kazakhstan earlier in the year.

Near the Freedom Monument in Riga is a small park with bright planting.

We also visited Rundale Palace, about forty miles from Riga. The garden is laid out in the French style with paths radiating away from the house. It has also been planted up with many roses so there is colour over a long period.

If you are looking for somewhere for a long weekend break, I can thoroughly recommend Riga. It is only two and a half hours flying time (from Stanstead), very friendly people who speak good English and spotlessly clean streets.

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I wondered where you were, Andrew and now I know! Thanks for the blog - it sounds like an interesting place to visit. Welcome back!

2 Sep, 2008


welcome back Andrew, the photos are brilliant, thanks for sharing them

2 Sep, 2008


Welcome back, good photo's.

2 Sep, 2008


You say it was interesting to see what will survive the long winters. Which plant / plants surprised you in particular with their tenacity and hardiness?

Nice to have you back in GB.
You missed only one sunny day !

2 Sep, 2008


Nice blog Andrew. We were In Latvia in May, and the weather was just warming up and all the mosquitoes emerged at once. Riga is a nice city. They told us that they have two seasons in Latvia, "White winter" and "Green winter". Very funny.

3 Sep, 2008


Thanks Andrew for this Blog. The colour themes in the formal borders are unusual.It sounds like you had a good time.Welcome back.

3 Sep, 2008


Andrew ~ What incredible pictures. Is there any of the political turmoil there as in Georgia. Did you feel safe?

4 Sep, 2008


Harli - no political problems at all in Latvia. It is not a big country (unlike Georgia) and nowhere near it so no problems in that regard.
One of our group was buying presents there and was heard to say "What shall I buy Georgia?" (her niece).
My reply - "Two tanks!"

4 Sep, 2008


You'd better watch it, making remarks like that, Andrew! Don't want to hear about an Englishman in jail for being subversive....LOL

4 Sep, 2008


Wonderful blog and pics, Andrew! We often thought about Riga as a short break destination in our pre-parent days. This has brought it to the fore again. It looks like a wonderful place.

4 Sep, 2008


I think the biggest surprise was seeing actinidias growing at the Botanic Garden just outside Riga. Although they were against a wall, they were in the shade. Also saw echinacea, Japanese anemones and delphiniums (not sure whether the latter overwintered outside though). And gleditisia (locust tree) was also growing happily. Solidago (golden rod) was naturalising extensively and I also saw some campanulas growing wild.
Local breeders have been working on roses that will take the Latvian winters too although many of them were looking a bit tatty by the end of August

6 Sep, 2008


Thanks, Andrewr for answering my question.

Very interesting to know which plants seem to cope well in the harsh conditions.

7 Sep, 2008

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