History of gardening

From Academic Kids

This entry concerns the history of ornamental gardening considered as an amenity of civilized life, as a vehicle for style, for conspicuous show and even an expression of philosophy.

See also subsistence gardening, the art and craft of growing plants, considered as a circumscribed form of individual agriculture.

Though cultivation of plants for food long predates history, the earliest evidence for ornamental gardens is seen in Egyptian tomb paintings of the 1500s BC; they depict lotus ponds surrounded by rows of acacias and palms. The other ancient gardening tradition is of Persia: Darius the Great was said to have had a "paradise garden" and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were renowned as a Wonder of the World. Persian influences extended to post-Alexander's Greece: around 350 BC there were gardens at the Academy of Athens, and Theophrastus, who wrote on botany, was supposed to have inherited a garden from Aristotle. Epicurus also had a garden where he walked and taught, and bequeathed it to Hermarchus of Mytilene. Alciphron also mentions private gardens.

The most influential ancient gardens in the western world were the Ptolemy's gardens at Alexandria and the gardening tradition brought to Rome by Lucullus. Wall paintings in Pompeii attest to elaborate development later, and the wealthiest of Romans built enormous gardens, many of whose ruins are still to be seen, such as at Hadrian's Villa.

Byzantium and Moorish Spain kept garden traditions alive after the 4th century. By this time a separate gardening tradition had arisen in China, which was transmitted to Japan, where it developed into aristocratic miniature landscapes centered on ponds and separately into the severe Zen gardens of temples.

In Europe, gardening revived in Languedoc and the Ile-de-France in the 13th century, and in the Italian villa gardens of the early Renaissance. French parterres developed at the end of the 16th century and reached high development under Andre le Notre. English landscape gardens opened a new perspective in the 18th century. The 19th century saw a welter of historical revivals and Romantic cottage-inspired gardening.

20th century gardening expanded into city planning.

(this introductory capsule of world gardening needs improvement)


Contents

The historical development of garden styles

Ancient Near East

Assyrian hunting parks and Persian paradise gardens

Egyptian temple courts

  • Royalty, most likely that found in Egypt, was probably also very instrumental in the development of the garden, much as royalty and the privileged classes throughout the centuries have continued to influence the design and actualization of gardens.

Hellenistic and Roman gardens

  • Hellenistic gardens.
  • Roman gardens had many characteristics in common with contemporary gardens. The garden was a place of peace and tranquility, a refuge from urban life, and was invested with religious and symbolic meanings. Ornamental horticulture became highly developed during the development of Roman civilisation. The administrators of the Roman Empire (c.100 BC - AD 500) actively exchanged information on agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, hydraulics, and botany. Seeds and plants were widely shared. The Gardens of Lucullus (Horti Lucullani) on the Pincian Hill on the edge of Rome introduced the Persian garden to Europe, about 60 BC.

Islamic gardens

Chinese and Japanese gardens

  • 'Hill-and-Pond' gardens of China and Japan.
  • Zen garden of Japan.

Polish gardens

The leading European historian and designer of gardens, Gerard Ciołek (1909-1966), analysed and discussed several hundreds of notable parks and gardens of Poland (Ciołek 1954, 1978). These include:

  • Mediaeval gardens
    • Kartuzy, Mogiła and Oliwa
  • Renaissance gardens
    • Branice, Jędrzejów, Łobzów, Łowicz, Wawel Castle (Kraków), Wiśnicz, Wola Justowska, and Zamość.
  • Baroque (17th c.) gardens
    • Krasiczyn, Krzyżtopór, Nieborów, Royal Castle (Warszawa), Rzeszów, Tyniec, Wawel Castle (Kraków), Wilanów (Warszawa), Wiśniowiec, Wysock, and Zwierzyniec (Kraków).
  • Baroque (18th c.) gardens
    • Białystok, Brühl Park (Warszawa), Łancut, Nieborów, Saski Park (Warszawa) Oliwa, Otwock Wielki, Puławy, Radzyń Podlaski, Royal Castle (Warszawa), Sokółka, Wilanów (Warszawa), Ujazdów (Warszawa).
  • Landscape (18/19th c.) gardens
  • Romantic (19th c.) gardens
    • Jabłonna, Krasiczyn, Łancut, Modlnica, Natolin, Planty Park (Kraków), Puławy, Saski Park (Lublin), and Wilanów (Warszawa).

Renaissance gardens

  • Medieval enclosed garden of northern Europe Hortus inclusus.
  • The Italian Renaissance inspired a revolution in gardening. Renaissance gardens were full of scenes from ancient mythology and other learned allusions. Water during this time was especially symbolic: it was associated with fertility and the abundance of nature.

Italian gardens

Missing image
VillaPetraia.gif
The Medici Villa Petraia, near Florence, epitomizes the Italian garden of the early Renaissance, before the grander architectural schemes of the 16th century

French gardens

Anglo-Dutch gardens

Landscape gardens

Romantic gardens

Picturesque gardens

'Gardenesque' gardens

The 'Gardenesque' style of English garden design evolved during the 1820's from Humphrey Repton's Picturesque or 'Mixed' style, largely under the impetus of J. C. Loudon, who invented the term.

In a Gardenesque plan, all the trees, shrubs and other plants are positioned and managed in such a way that the character of each plant can be displayed to its full potential. With the spread of botany as a suitable avocation for the enlightened, the Gardenesque tended to emphasize botanical curiosities and a collector's approach. New plant material that would have seemed bizarre and alien in earlier gardening found settings: Pampas grass from Argentina and Monkey-puzzle trees. Winding paths linked scattered plantings. The Gardenesque approach involved the creation of small-scale landscapes, dotted with features and vignettes, to promote beauty of detail, variety and mystery, sometimes to the detriment of coherence. Artificial mounds helped to stage groupings of shrubs, and island beds became prominent features.

Pattern gardens: revived parterres

"Wild" gardens and herbaceous borders

The books of William Robinson describing his own "wild" gardening at Gravetye Manor, Sussex, and the sentimental picture of a rosy, idealized "cottage garden" of the kind pictured by Kate Greenaway, which had scarcely existed historically, both influenced the development of the mixed herbaceous borders that were advocated by Gertrude Jekyll from the 1890s. Her plantings, which mixed shrubs with perennial and annual plants and bulbs in deep beds within more formal structures of terraces and stairs designed by Edwin Lutyens, set the model for high-style, high-maintenance gardening until the Second World War. Vita Sackville-West's garden at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent is the most famous and influential garden of this last blossoming of romantic style, publicized by the gardener's own gardening column in The Observer. In the last quarter of the 20th century, less structured Wildlife gardening emphasized the ecological framework of similar gardens using native plants.

Modern gardens

Historic gardeners

The following names, roughly in historical order, made contributions that affected the history of gardens, whether as botanist explorers, designers, garden-makers, or writers. Further information on them will be found under their individual entries.

Notable historic gardens

References

  • J. S. Berrall. The Garden: An Illustrated History
  • Ciolek, Gerard. "Ogrody polskie" [Gardens of Poland]. Revised edition of the 1954 publication under the same title, updated and expanded by Janusz Bogdanowski. Warszawa: Arkady (1978).
  • Carroll, Maureen. "Earthly Paradises: Ancient Gardens in History and Archaeology" (London, British Museum Press 2003)
  • E. Hyams. A History of Gardens and Gardening (1971)
  • Tom Turner. "Garden history: philosophy and design 2000 BC to 2000 AD" (Spon, London, 2005)

See also

External links

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