The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section I. Historical Sketches.

Greek and Persian gardens

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The Athenians borrowed their taste in gardens from Persia. The lime tree and the box lined their walks, and bore patiently the shears of symmetry; and a passion for fragrant flowers seems to have been greatly indulged by them. Their most celebrated philosophers made the sylvan, or landscape gardens of their time, their favorite schools. And the gardens of Epicurus and Plato appear to have been symmetrical groves of the olive, plane, and elm, enriched by elegant statues, monuments, and temples, the beauty of which, for their peculiar purpose, has never been surpassed by any example of more modern times. Among the Romans, ornamental gardening seems to have been not a little studied. The villas of the Emperors Nero and Adrian were enriched with everything magnificent and pleasing in their grounds; and the classically famous villas of Cicero at Arpinum, and of Pliny at Tusculum, with C�sar's "Private arbors, and new planted orchards, On this side Tiber," are among the most celebrated specimens of the taste, among the ancients. Pliny's garden, of which a pretty minute account remains,�filled with cypresses and bay trees, planted to form a coursing place or hippodrome, adorned with vis-a-vis figures of animals cut in box trees, and decorated with fountains and marble alcoves, shaded by vines�seems, indeed, to have been the true classical type of all the later efforts of modern continental nations in their geometric gardens.