Early gardens in the forests or wooded glades became essential once tribes settled … we can then see the enormous change up to the house-lands of Egypt, where thousands of slaves tended the gardens at Thebes and Luxor, or the parks of the first Emperors of China were landscaped with steps, terraces and walkways.
We learnt of influences from Persian gardening – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; the Greeks had gardens; the most influential ancient gardens in the western world were the Ptolemy gardens at Alexandria …
|Hand Coloured Engraving .... of the Hanging Gardens|
The Romans built extensive villa gardens with water features, topiary, and cultivated roses with shaded arcades … archaeological evidence survives at some sites … Tivoli and at Pompeii. Byzantium and Moorish Spain developed their own styles ….
Finally in Europe gardening came to the fore as a necessary part of civilised life … we needed to feed ourselves and the wealthy needed to show us what could be done with plants.
With exploration came more plants … the world opened up …
|Reconstruction of the House of Vettii in|
But going back to those early roots - the Roman vegetable garden was an essential … an array of plants used for food, medicines, dyes, perfumes and for religious shrines and ceremonies were appropriately planted.
|Plane trees in London - providing shade|
Probably the first cultivated plants were from the Allium family – the leeks, onions and garlics … one of the oldest recipes found on a 4,000 year old Babylonian tablet was for a leek and lamb stew … passed down to the Greeks, the Arabs and the Romans.
|Palace de Generalife, Granada,|
Early remedies were written down, some dating back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who created lists of plants. This trend continued with the herbalists, botanists, simplers … who noted, tried and tested what we could eat or what would help us.
Some plants had more than one use and these were noted … we owe a lot to those early ‘tasters’ and plantsmen … who forayed into the wonderful world of plants recording for posterity their ideas and thoughts.
|Garden Fresco from Tomb of Nebamun,|
Thebes - showing pond in the garden
We are so fortunate today … that the scientists and herbalists keep experimenting and trying new ideas to enhance our nutrition, and improve our health …
|Sumerian Tablet recording allocations|
of beer - about 3000 BC
In many ways gardening is a metaphor for life – we need patience and faith … unless we put the work in, the garden won’t have a chance of flourishing, fresh food will improve our bodies … while working the soil will make sure we exercise and get that fresh air for our lungs …
|After all that gardening - we'll need a drink|
An extra note ... Linda "From Roses to Rainbow" has just written a post about the Greeks, Romans and Beer ... a good mix to add to this post ...
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