A Guide To Starting Your New Spring Garden
Leading Horticulturalist from Garden Society, Lyndall Keating, lays down the law – and soil – when it comes to planting this spring. The first thing you need to consider is what you want from your garden. Will those fancy floral plans work for your place? Do you need a more kid-friendly open lawn area? Always get into perspective what you want from your garden, namely the areas you want for growth and those you want for living! You may even want to consider dividing up any outdoor area for these different needs now as this can be costly and time-consuming to change once growth has started.
Wealthy ancient Egyptians used gardens for providing shade. Egyptians associated trees and gardens with gods as they believed that their deities were pleased by gardens. Gardens in ancient Egypt were often surrounded by walls with trees planted in rows. Among the most popular species planted were date palms, sycamores, fir trees, nut trees, and willows. These gardens were a sign of higher socioeconomic status. In addition, wealthy ancient Egyptians grew vineyards, as wine was a sign of the higher social classes. Roses, poppies, daisies and irises could all also be found in the gardens of the Egyptians.
Assyria was also renowned for its beautiful gardens. These tended to be wide and large, some of them used for hunting game—rather like a game reserve today—and others as leisure gardens. Cypresses and palms were some of the most frequently planted types of trees. Ancient Roman gardens were laid out with hedges and vines and contained a wide variety of flowers—acanthus, cornflowers, crocus, cyclamen, hyacinth, iris, ivy, lavender, lilies, myrtle, narcissus, poppy, rosemary and violets—as well as statues and sculptures. Flower beds were popular in the courtyards of rich Romans.
The Middle Age represented a period of decline in gardens for aesthetic purposes, with regard to gardening. After the fall of Rome, gardening was done for the purpose of growing medicinal herbs and/or decorating church altars. Monasteries carried on a tradition of garden design and intense horticultural techniques during the medieval period in Europe. Generally, monastic garden types consisted of kitchen gardens, infirmary gardens, cemetery orchards, cloister garths and vineyards. Individual monasteries might also have had a “green court”, a plot of grass and trees where horses could graze, as well as a cellarer’s garden or private gardens for obedientiaries, monks who held specific posts within the monastery.
Islamic gardens were built after the model of Persian gardens and they were usually enclosed by walls and divided in 4 by watercourses. Commonly, the center of the garden would have a pool or pavilion. Specific to the Islamic gardens are the mosaics and glazed tiles used to decorate the rills and fountains that were built in these gardens.