One of the first decrees signed by young Peter I (then still reigning jointly with his brother Ivan Alekseevich) has a very interesting title: "On the occasion of malfunctions in the Pharmaceutical Chamber." Alas, by the end of the 17th century, the situation with medicines in Russia was exactly "faulty": the sovereign's doctors only cared about the royal family and the army, and the rest of the population (including, note, noble people) was often treated with anything. So one of the first reforms of Peter after the final accession was precisely the pharmacy: by a decree of November 22, 1701, the "green rows" in Moscow were closed, in which anyone could sell medicines, and new pharmacies were established, permissions to open which were issued only to professionals.
During the Northern War with Sweden, there was a catastrophic shortage of medicines, and in 1706, by decree of Peter I, on the outskirts of Moscow, behind the Sukharev Tower (in those days it was considered the outskirts), a garden was laid for growing medicinal plants. It is from this moment that the history of the Aptekarsky Ogorod, the oldest botanical garden in Russia, begins.
By that time, new military pharmacies had already been established - in the troops, in the hospitals created under them, with the fleet under construction. More and more medicines were needed, including those plants for which it was impossible to find "berry picking" in the wild - and in 1706 Tsar Peter ordered the opening of a new pharmacy garden in Moscow, behind the Sukharev Tower. Moreover, from the very beginning, plantings were supposed not only "industrial", but also scientific and educational: medicinal and other herbs, shrubs, trees were grown in the Moscow Apothecary Garden - "to instruct citizens in their difference." In fact, it was the first botanical garden in Russia. Almost a century later, in 1805, the Pharmaceutical Garden, abandoned by that time, became the Botanical Garden of Moscow University, and since 1950, after the laying of a new garden on Sparrow Hills, it became its branch.
With the transfer of the capital to the newly built St. Petersburg, there also appeared its Apothecary garden. Actually, the first plantings of medicinal plants for the needs of a military hospital arose there almost before the city - under the walls of the Nyenschantz (Kantsy) fortress recaptured from the Swedes on Bolshaya Okhta. And in 1714, for the needs of pharmacists, by royal decree, a whole island on the Neva was allocated - then called Berezov because of the dense forest growing in the swamps, and then called Aptekarsky. A large Summer Garden was laid out there, greenhouses were built for heat-loving plants, and some herbs, especially aromatic ones - "which smell" - were brought from Moscow apothecary plantings in Izmailovo.