Gardens of the past are reflected in the gardens of today.
These ancient gardens have provided many ideas for designs, plants to grow, watering practices and many other uses both practical and beautiful.
A look at the ancient gardens of Egype, Iraq, Greece and Rome give us some ideas for gardens today that are still carried out.
Gardening In Ancient Egypt
In the hot climate of Egypt, the rich liked to rest under trees for their shade. Gardens were created enclosed by walls with trees in rows. Sometimes they grew alternating trees.
They grew sycamores, date palms, fig trees, nut trees, pomegranate trees, and willows. Vineyards were grown to make wine that only the rich drank. The common people drank beer.
A large variety of flowers including roses, poppies, irises, daisies, and cornflowers were grown. Also, they liked to grow fragrant trees and shrubs. Their gardens had rectangular ponds sometimes stocked with fish.
The Egyptians believed the gods liked gardens. Gardens were usually around the Temples and there were different trees associated with different gods.
The gardens were beautiful so they were used for pleasure and produce. Gardens were used to produce fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and grapes for wine.
Gardening In Ancient Iraq
Beautiful gardens were created in ancient Iraq. The Assyrians came from Iraq and in the period 900 BC – 612 BC they ruled a great empire in the middle east.
The upper-class Assyrians enjoyed gardens which were irrigated by water canals. They planted trees such as palms and cypresses. Trees were planted in rows by alternating the species like the Egyptians. Ponds were also created and the Assyrians cultivated vines and some flowers.
The Assyrian Empire was destroyed in 612. A huge empire was created there by the city-state of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar is supposed to have built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world which is the hanging garden of Babylon. His wife missed her homeland so the King built a stepped terrace garden for her and man-powered pumps watered it.
The Greeks weren’t very good gardeners. They used trees to provide shade around the Temple and other public places and you rarely saw gardens just for pleasure. When flowers were grown they were put in pots. Gardens were grown for practical reasons and this included orchards, vineyards, and vegetable gardens.
Gardening was introduced to Egypt in 30 BC when they were conquered by the Romans. The rich Romans created gardens next to their palaces and villas.
They were masters of any of the topiary and the gardens had statues and sculptures. The Romans built homes around a countryard which had a colonnaded porch, a pool, and a fountain with flowerbeds in the courtyard.
These gardens were lined with hedges and vines. There were a lot of flowers such as acanthus, cornflower, crocus, cyclamen, hyacinth, iris and ivy, lavender, lilies, myrtle, narcissus, poppy, rosemary, and violet.
When Rome conquered Britain they introduced a number of new plants including roses, leeks, turnips, and plumbs. Once Rome fell gardening declined in western Europe. Churches made some gardens for growing herbs for medicine and altars were decorated with flowers.