Gardening History

Gardening history as well as the history of horticulture goes back many thousand of years to the first efforts of our ancestors to switch from gathering to growing their own crops. The history of what we today consider gardens can be easily traced back to the Persian gardens, many of which still exist in what is now Iran and Iraq.
The Romans adopted the practice and from there it spread to Europe and Great Britain.

Many of the early gardeners were physicians and scientists who kept collections of plants to study them for their medicinal uses. There were many so-called "plant hunters" that traveled abroad and collected exotic plants for study.

Gardening history in the form of Egyptian tomb paintings dating from 1500 BC show formal gardens. The legendary “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” were supposedly built around 600 BC, but there is little evidence that they actually existed. The idea of formal decorative gardens developed further in Europe during the Renaissance and continues to this day. Vegetable gardening where the gardener raised various crops for the family consumption often were tended by the woman of the house as “kitchen gardens.” Many of the estates of the day also had kitchen gardens, although on a larger scale, naturally. Larger commercial “market gardens” evolved in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Almost 90 years ago, the government published War Vegetable Gardening and the Home Storage of Vegetables as a way for the average American to help with the war effort. This book offers an interesting snap shot of gardening techniques in the early 20th century. It was recently digitized by Google . Search on gardening and you will find a large selection of historical gardening books that have been scanned and converted to PDF files for downloading or viewing online.

It is from these gardening history roots (no pun intended) that our modern gardening practices have evolved.

Formal Gardens

As mentioned previously, formal gardens have evolved from those created in ancient Egypt and Persia. Today there are many famous gardens in cities large and small around the world. These botanical gardens have collections of plants that are both native to their locale and exotic as well. Many of them have glass houses that they use to recreate various climatic zones from tropical rain forests to desert areas. They all do an excellent job of educating the public as well as providing areas of great beauty for their communities. A few of the more famous are-

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Richmond, UK

The United States Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.

The New York Botanical Garden, New York, N.Y.

The Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colorado

The Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Cleveland, Ohio

The San Francisco Botanic Garden, San Francisco, California

The Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

The Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati, Ohio

Click here to see photos of our recent visit to the Krohn Conservatory

And many more.

Flower Shows

Most major cities host flower shows. Coming at the end of winter or early spring, they add a welcome splash of color and fragrance for the winter weary citizens wherever they’re held. Some are held out of doors in April and May. The Philadelphia Flower Show staged by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in early March bills itself as the world’s largest indoor show. The famous Chelsea Flower Show put on by the Royal Horticultural Society is held in May. Most Garden shows have competitions in various areas and also exhibit’s by vendors and landscape contractors. They are a great place to get ideas to try out in your own garden.

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