Life begins the day you start a garden

Welcome the the Aaviku Collection and Therapy Garden — a place that is simultaneously ancient and modern.

Its history began around fourteen thousand years ago when the receding mass of ice from the last Ice Age piled up hundreds of huge granite rocks and created a small hill near the coast. While it is not known when the first inhabitants arrived, the village itself was already mentioned in the 12th century. Archaeological excavations in the 1940s uncovered a family grave from the early 18th century, dated to the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia. At the time a major plague epidemic was sweeping the region, decimating around 80% of the population. The deceased were often buried near their homes, indicating that the place was inhabited more than three hundred years ago.

2015-46-copyThe earliest written records of the farmstead date back to 1879, when “Awiko” was registered as a unit in the land registry. Two years later on June 11, 1881, the property was sold to a fisherman called Jürri Lemming for three hundred silver roubles to be paid over twenty years. Jürri was my great-grandmother’s uncle. He had no children of his own, so after he passed away in the 1920s the place was inherited by my great-grandmother Pauline Rosalie Weltmann. Aaviku has therefore been in the hands of my family for more than one hundred and thirty years.

During the First World War the German army dug defensive trenches in the region, but fortunately the fighting never reached here. After the Second World War, when the Soviet occupation began, most of the land was confiscated and only 1400m2 remained with the family. The Soviet collective farms did not find the land attractive for farming and maintaining the woodland on your own was forbidden by law, so everything started to bush and wild.

My grandmother Valentine lived here until her death in 1995. In 1997 we began renovating and removing the bush surrounding the house. The whole garden was dark and wild, and the house in shambles. During the renovation of the house from 1997 to 2005 there was no garden at all, because the renovation took all our time and money. Not to mention that construction work and gardening do not fit together at all.

Finally, when the house was more or less finished, I had a look around and decided to plant a few roses and conifers. But at the time I was convinced that gardening was not my cup of tea, and I had no patience for weeding. Work and other hobbies were keeping me busy and left little time to take care of a garden.

2015-44-copyIn 2006 I was diagnosed with cancer, and between 2006 and 2009 I had several surgeries. During the long periods of recovery I had plenty of time to look around and I started feeling more and more strongly that I needed beauty around me. It is then when I started with my first flowerbeds. The process taught me that gardening can have a strong therapeutic effect. While therapy does not replace the medicine, but it can complement it.

It is a woodland garden founded for relaxation and therapy. The large rocks and old trees make it special and make it inviting also in the spring and autumn, when the hundreds of moss-covered stones create the vibe of a Japanese garden. Here we do not fret about every weed and do not care what the neighbors think about it. It is a place to walk, see, feel, smell and taste. The weeding and cutting of old flowers after a stressing day in the city is a way of soothing yourself. The garden is also in a constant state of flux, because creating something new makes me happy. And happy people are more healthy and live longer!

In the summer of 2012 I realized that the garden is not helping only me, but also the guests. People can relax in here for just ten minutes and feel the stress leaving their bodies. People who stay overnight often sleep for twelve hours, getting a thorough rest. It is this why I decided to open the garden for visits. If just half an hour in the garden can help somebody, it would be a crime not to let people experience it.2015-39-copy

For visitors:

  • A small shop offers local handicraft and plants. The plants are also available in the online store (www.aavikuemand.ee) and we ship them all over Europe.
  • We have small museum on the premises showing the life on the farmstead through the years.
  • 31-07-16-16-copyCoffee, tea and handmade cakes can be pre-ordered.
  • Children must be carefully looked after due to several highly poisonous plants in the garden and deep water.
  • Well-behaving dogs on leashes are welcome.
  • Please check the services page for prices.