Guide to Global Gardening of Yesteryear

For centuries, gardening has become a universal hobby.

But before people began creating a landscape for visual enjoyment alone, let us go back to ancient times when gardens were made more out of necessity i.e. to harvest food and medicine, than anything else.

5 Global Gardening Facts of Yesteryear

Ages ago, people were cultivating gardens for practical reasons such as for food and medicine.

While affluent Egyptians grew acres of vineyards, ingenious Persians, on the other hand, developed underground aqueducts to prevent water from evaporating before reaching the plants.

To see more how gardens have provided our ancestors with their basic needs, our horticulture experts have compiled some global gardening trends through the ages—from Egyptian vineyards to Roman topiaries.

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1. Egyptian Wine


Ancient Egyptians planted trees, such as sycamores, date palms, fig trees and pomegranate trees, in rows to provide shade due to the blistering heat.

But the thing that garnered more attention in Egypt was the vineyards that can be often found in wealthy households, where wine was the choice of beverage.

Gardens were seen as a place of worship, and they built temples within them. Plants were symbolic and associated with the various deities.

2. Persian Aqueducts


What is now present-day Iraq once was known for its famous gardens, the most famous of which was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built by King Nebuchadnezzar for his beloved wife.

Trees such as Palms and Cypresses were a common sight and often placed on terraces.

Persians were innovators in gardening, the first to build underground aqueducts—used to run the water along the ground-level channel to the gardens.

3. Greek Pots


While Greece is the birthplace of democracy and the Olympics, Ancient Greeks didn’t take as easy gardening as they did to philosophy, art and science.

But they did use plants practically. Mostly to provide shade or food. Some of their gardening practices included orchards and vegetable gardens.

But their biggest contribution was the use of pots for plants, which is now all too common in many British gardens.

4. Roman Topiary


During the ancient Roman times, wealthy households began to create gardens. In which they place next to palaces and villas to display their wealth.

Romans were the masters of topiary, the art of clipping plants into intricate forms. This was used to complement the various statues and sculptures placed on their lawns.

Pools with fountains soon become commonplace in the palaces. While wide varieties of flowers such as poppy, rosemary and violet were grown.

Later then, Romans introduced roses, leeks and turnips to the nation after conquering Britain.

5. Medieval Europe


The late 13th century brought a new wave of gardening. Affluent households started to grow gardens for visual enjoyment as opposed to just for medicinal herbs and vegetables.

Walls were often put up surrounding the area as a protection against wild animals but also offered seclusion as gardens were a place for serenity and peace.

On the other hand, Monasteries had gardens dancing along with orchards and vineyards. However, they were not purely functional as monks were encouraged to relax and take in nature in the area.

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