The garden complex of Strelna was founded back in the times of Peter I. The wooden palace was surrounded by the gardens with farmyards and stables, fish ponds, fruit trees, berry and vegetable beds, greenhouses, orangeries and the apiary. In the XVIII century, the Strelna gardens were considered exemplary in Russia. The local gardeners, bred new varieties of apple trees and berry bushes considering local conditions. The first preserved garden inventory refers to 1733. Then, on the territory of Strelna estate, there were 3,100 apple trees, 50 pear trees, 125 cherry trees, 200 gooseberry bushes and 400 bushes of lilac, jasmine and roses. At the foot of the hill, there were orangeries, greenhouses and hothouses. Pineapples, melons, watermelons, early cucumbers and other vegetables were grown inside the hothouses. The vegetable garden was located in the valley, at the Karpiev pond. Its water was used for watering of the vegetables and fog on the spring nights, rising from the warmed in the day pond, would cover the garden, protecting it from the early frosts.
According to the legend, it was for the first time in Strelna, that "earth apples" brought by Peter the Great from his travels in Western Europe, were planted - this is how the potato was called at the time. Radishes , artichokes and lettuce were grown in the garden too. It is known that, Peter I brought with him or instructed his entourage, to buy rare varieties of trees, shrubs, plants in pots, seeds of flowers and vegetables, while abroad.
The assortment in the garden cultures is currently represented by the traditional Russian vegetables: cabbage, turnips, parsnips, carrots, beetroots, onions, garlic, sorrel, horseradish, dill, celery, as well as potatoes, lettuce, radishes, artichokes, brought by Peter I from Europe. In addition, zucchinis, squashes, pumpkins and tomatoes are growing here.
One of the features of the garden, created in Peter I's time, is the presence of spice and medicinal plants, grown on the same soil bed. This tradition comes from the Netherlands, and therefore, it received the name of "Garden to the Dutch taste", in Russia. Fragrant herbs are presented, mint, marjoram, lemon balm, lovage, cumin, thyme, basil, coriander, celery and parsley. The medicinal garden consists of valerian, Leonurus, St. John's wort, milfoil, plantain, bur-marigold and salvia.
Next to the garden, there is an apiary with straw, wooden and glass beehives. According to the legend, Peter I started an apiary in Strelna to prove that bees can live close to the sea. The first hives, were likely to have been brought by the tsar from Dorpat. Strelna peasants, after seeing them, created the Russian version of the bee house - the nest boxes. In winter, the bee houses were moved inside the log barns. The bees were kept in Strelna for more than a hundred years. Today on the territory of the fruit garden, there are lime-tree boards as a reminder of the former apiary, that once was here. During the summer, there are separate excursions held around the vegetable garden, and the visitors have an opportunity to feel the heady scents of aromatic herbs, to see on the soil beds the variety of colors and vegetable cultures. The fruit garden is particularly attractive at the time of the fruit trees blossoming, when snow-white petals on the branches look like fluffy snowflakes.
On the east and west of the palace of Peter I, there are flower beds, with their layout recreated from the drawings of the architect F.B. Rastrelli, in the 1740's. The trimmed barberry bushes, are planted along the perimeter of the flower beds. According to the historical tradition, the assortment of flowers is represented by bulbous plants, foremost, by tulips. In memory of the first owner of the wooden palace, one of the varieties of tulips that adorn the parterres, bears the name of Peter I. The changes of seasons each time bring some novelty to the design of the flower beds: spring - brightness of tulips and tenderness of crocuses, light aromas of narcissuses and verbena; summer - is time for begonias, perfection of lilies, the solemn beauty of irises; autumn - a scattering of colorful dahlias, chrysanthemums and asters. In summer, the huge ceramic vases are planted with thermophilic exotic plants. In autumn, they are replaced by the compositions of vegetables grown on the revived Strelna garden. The fashion for vegetable and fruit hills in Russia, was brought by Peter I, borrowing the idea from the French king. In our time, the beautiful tradition is revived in Peterhof - when the harvest of zucchinis, squashes and pumpkins ripens in the Peter's vegetable garden , they serve as decoration of the ceramic vases at the palace of Peter I, and in the Lower Park - in the Monplaisir garden, where they remain until the first frosts.