The History of Gardening

If you have been gardening for years, you may be tired of hearing about the latest trends. However, the history of gardening can provide a wealth of knowledge. From ancient civilizations to modern-day styles, you’ll be able to discover how these practices evolved over time. Learn more about the Medieval style, the Byzantine style, Moorish Spain, and French Classical styles. Once you’ve mastered these styles, you’ll have a much deeper appreciation for all things gardening.

Medieval gardens

While most of us think of contemporary gardening, we have never considered the medieval garden, but this period is rich in garden art. The medieval period was also a time when flowers were valued highly. Many of the flowers we associate with medieval gardens have survived. These plants included the daffodil, lily of the valley, foxglove, and cowslip. The most interesting features of a medieval garden are the statues and flowerbeds, as well as the fountains.

Plants were also farmed. Many early medieval gardens contained turnip cabbage, hemp, flax, amaranth, lentil, celery, chickpea, carrot, fennel, mustard, coriander, dill, and parsley. The medieval gardener also used herbs, such as henbane, dyer’s chamomile, spurge, horse bean, fennel, and parsley, for their culinary needs.

The style of gardens in the medieval period varied, but there are a few common themes that we can follow. Many gardens were intended to provide food and medicine to monks, and were therefore governed by a religious purpose. Monastic gardens, for example, were physic, or vegetable gardens that consisted of neat, rectangular beds. Monastic gardens were often associated with the Virgin Mary, while royal palace gardens were devoted to earthly pleasures. In addition to herbs, medieval gardens featured wattle fences, arbors, and other structures. In addition to horticulture, gardens were largely shaped after the cloister design of the day.


In the first half of the seventeenth century, Byzantium was one of the most fertile regions in the Mediterranean, and monastic horticulture was especially flourishing. The history of gardening in Byzantium is largely based on archaeological findings, but other sources including foundation documents, biographies of saints, and other documents also provide insights into how monastic gardens were maintained. Aside from maintaining the gardens within the walls of the monastery, monastics also maintained vineyards and tended broadleaf crops and fruit trees. In many cases, the role of the gardener was assumed by the monks themselves, who worked in tandem with the gardeners to ensure the success of the endeavors.

Byzantine gardening is reflected in the creation of the Geoponika, a comprehensive agricultural and horticultural encyclopedia. This important text aimed to present pagan lore and agricultural practices for modern use. The Geoponika survived in fifty-five manuscripts and is considered the most significant Greek agricultural text. It dates back to Hesiod and flourished throughout the Hellenistic period.

Moorish Spain

The gardens of medieval Moorish Spain were both places of pleasure and utility. Fruit trees, aromatic herbs, and pools vied for attention with pavilions and gardens. In the 1100s, a book called Kitab al-filaha was written, describing over 600 plants that were grown in Spain. Many of these plants are now popular crops, such as sugar cane and pistachios.

The gardens of Alhambra were repaired by Valencian gardeners after 1492. The Alhambra had orchards next to the baths, and 140 orange trees were purchased from Palma del Rio in 1494. The gardens of the Generalife and Alhambra also had orchards, and pruned myrtles were transformed into chairs. In 1565, Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius, also known as Charles de l’Ecluse, recorded the same cultivar of myrtle.

The gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos are more recent, but they still retain a Moorish flair. The gardens of the Christian monarchs are nearby, and they incorporate vertical accents to create a picture in shadows. These gardens have been copied with little success, but they offer a fascinating glimpse into Moorish culture. If you’re ever in the area, you shouldn’t miss the gardens of this magnificent palace.

French Classical style

When it comes to French gardening, you’ve probably heard of parterres. These low planting areas are very popular, but what’s so unique about them? They have a symmetry that is unmistakably French. They also represent order, which was an important part of French society at the time. The French loved order, and their parterres reflected that. But how did they get so organized?

During the early Renaissance, the practice of gardening was closely tied with agriculture. While larger gardens focused on ornamentation, the kitchen garden was often the first priority. And in the 18th century, the English landscape garden gained prominence, as did the Italian Renaissance garden. But by the 19th century, the formal garden in French Classical style was no longer so prevalent in European gardens, and the English and French landscape garden began to take over.

The color scheme of the French garden is also distinctly cool. The color palette focuses on greens and whites, with occasional touches of purple or blue. Plants and trees were limited in variety and had to be in geometric shapes. Other elements used to add color and interest to a garden are iron benches, pergolas, and trellis. Throughout the French garden, you can see the use of a center fountain.

Victory gardens

During World War II, the United States government encouraged American families to start Victory Gardens. Growing food at home made it easier to supply soldiers overseas and kept supplies stocked in the home. The gardens also gave Americans fresh produce, pride, and a way to relax. By 1944, the gardens provided forty percent of the nation’s food supply. But where did the gardens come from and what can you do today? This article will explore the history of the Victory garden program and its importance in gardening.

The first victory garden was planted on the front lawn of the White House by Eleanor Roosevelt, with millions of others planted throughout the country. Gardening for victory was popularized through instructional manuals and staged photographs showing women cultivating their crops. Even the most amateur gardener could grow a garden full of vegetables and harvest them for a bounty. Although the gardens were not necessarily designed for vegetable production, they were planted among flower bulbs and perennials.

The Victory Garden was an experiment in gardening. During World War II, the government promoted the use of Victory Gardens to supplement the food supply. The garden was used to grow carrots, peas, lettuce, beets, lima beans, and green beans. Eventually, it also provided vegetables for the lunch tables of children in school. And it was a success, and Victory Gardens were eventually planted nationwide.

Mixed herbaceous borders

Herbaceous borders are not always long and narrow. Herbaceous plantings often come in a variety of colours and styles, and can be combined with climbing plants and shrubs. They are a great way to add interest to your landscape, and are easy to maintain. Here are some helpful tips for planting your herbaceous borders. A sheltered position and a sunny spot are the key to a successful garden.

Herbaceous planting began around the end of the Victorian era. They were primarily features of large country houses and gardens, and required an army of gardeners to maintain them. In the early nineteenth century, gardeners became more interested in formal and informal plant groupings. As gardening taste changed, herbaceous planting became less popular. Despite being a classic style, herbaceous plantings do require a great deal of plant knowledge, good planting skills, and a good eye for design.

A history of gardening with mixed herbaceous borders goes back much further. A garden with this type of planting is often thought of as the pinnacle of gardening. Many gardens have immaculate lawn walkways and dual borders. But the truth is, this type of garden is extremely difficult to maintain. So it is important to learn as much as possible about how to keep it looking its best. Then, you can create the perfect herbaceous garden that is both beautiful and functional.

Women gardeners

Women have played a key role in the history of gardening. In the nineteenth century, women were often ignored, but a determined campaign by Fanny Rollo Wilkinson led to a change. She began laying out 75 public gardens in London without being paid until later. In the 1920s, the first women to attend a horticultural college were Annie Gulvin and Alice Hutchins. In 1929, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) inaugurated the Victoria Medal, which honors the achievements of women in gardening.

Despite the fact that women were historically underrepresented in the history of gardening, feminist historians have begun to write about their experiences. In “Virgins, Weeders, Queens: Women Gardeners in the History of Gardening,” author Catherine Horwood celebrates the collective legacy of the Great British gardeners. Her research highlights the achievements and contributions of women across all social strata, including those who helped shape the history of gardening.

At the turn of the twentieth century, horticultural schools began to cater for women. The first women were admitted to Swanley Horticultural College in Kent in 1891. By the end of the century, the school became an all-female institution, and women consistently topped the RHS examination boards. In 1896, three graduates from the school went on to become the first female gardeners at Kew Gardens.

“The History of Gardening: How Cultures, Events, and People Made Gardening What It Is Today”