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Puukoland's heritage plant garden

By Urvaste Seltsimaja

We are here, in wonderful Pokuland

which was created following the ideas of artist Edgar Valter.

Pokumaa is situated on the border of Kanepi and Antsla municipalities, so that Poku House with itsround roofs belongs to Kanepi and these sedge tufts here between grass and willows are in Antslamunicipality. People reach Pokuland along a spectacular forest lane – actually there are forestlanes all over the twenty-hectare territory, where kindergarten and school groups in spring andmainly families in summer explore the nature, art and boost their creativity the same way as EdgarValter did. 

There are nature education boards alongside the farm road. If you are not lucky to meet fairy-tale
animals in Pokuland in real life, then you at least have a chance to see them in pictures, drawn by
another local artist, Epp Margna.

There are quite many wooden sculptures and stone maze in Pokuland. 

Pokuland is a source of inspiration for quite many artists.

Edgar Valter himself did not make chainsaw statues.

He found a tree branch in the woods, adjusted it a

little and another fantasy creature was ready.

Puuko’s farm is called Padasoomäe

There was a farm here in olden times too, but the buildings for museum were brought from other places of the region. There is a storehouse on the right, Puuko’s house on the left, and you can see the roof of the smoke sauna further in the background.
But we are going behind Puuko’s house where he keeps animals and has a little garden patch.

Well, we cannot go on without greeting Pokus again. And here is Pokus’ friend Puuko, smoking a
pipe. Puuko is the man who sedge-turf Pokus went to, when their habitat in the bog near the
woods became too dry and their toes started itching. Then they needed to find a new place to live
and they liked Puuko’s farm a lot.

We have reached Puuko’s backyard. There are some sheep, really big ones. And some chicken
must be hiding somewhere under the trees. And right here is Puuko’s garden where we have
gathered varieties of vegetables from local farms and also from some farmers who grow old

Let's have a look on Puuko's garden

Right now flowers and vegetables are a bit mixed up.

Here are:

  •  flowers from olden farmyards and also;

  •  the local common bean, which has grown in Maimu Kõller’s garden for about 60 years;

  •  next to it is a broad bean ‘Helbi’, which was named after the village in Setomaa where it was grown (Now it is grown more and more around Estonia);

  •  Maimu’s broad bean, which has grown in her garden for many years.

  • We have also chosen to grow garden cosmos and cabbage ‘Jõgeva’. We couldn’t find a very old cabbage variety, but ‘Jõgeva’ is also much older than us. Well, there are certainly people who are older than cabbage ‘Jõgeva’.

  • Potatoes ‘Jõgeva Yellow’ is one of the best-loved old varieties.

  • Odenwald’ has been one of our grandmothers’ favourite potatoes and thanks to the enthusiasts it is found in many gardens, but the seeds are not so easy to get.

  • Here is a shallot onion from Maimu Kõller’s garden which is cultivated from smaller onions every year. As you can see, Pokuland’s fertile soil has kept it green even during the draught.

  • our oldest and tiniest potato ‘Väike verev’, ‘Little Red’ in English.

  • Somewhere among potatoes is tobacco, a common plant in olden farm gardens, which was used in pipes, but also as a pesticide. 

Now let’s take a look at the furthest row. And here are:

  • the ‘Muromi’ cucumber from our grandmothers’ gardens, which is even rarer in our gardens than ‘Libelle’, also an old variety.

  • Then there is a marvellous Peipsiveere poppy, which we got from Madli Uuemäe, who in turn once bought it from a woman at the market. Really beautiful – a single delicate-violet flower.

  • One old dill comes from Tiia Morfin’s seed bank. I think that Tiia has the largest collection of seeds collected from villages in Võrumaa and all over Estonia, which she has further reproduced.

  • Look at that parsley. In the olden times they did not grow curly leaf parsley and this is why we have planted flat leaf parsley.

  • Right next to it is Tiia Morfin’s most famous vegetable – ‘Granny’s Pea’, which is now an officially recognised variety. I believe that it was already grown by Tiia’s great-grandmother, but certainly by her grandmother.


Here, further away we can see plants that were actually not grown in gardens. Here is a patch of flax and this one with white flowers is buckwheat, which once was grown a lot, as it does not require very fertile land. This gorgeous red-flowered plant is scarlet monarda. I almost forgot to mention the sunroot, which is also quite common in our gardens. Part of it is outside the garden and has grown here for a long time. Some stems are here, inside the garden, too.

But now I see that we haven’t been very careful in everything and I have to make sure if these
cabbages can survive because caterpillars have done ‘a great job’ during the last days.

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