The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Gardening in the Ancient World

Gardening among Egyptians

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II. Gardening among the Egyptians. B.C. 2000 9. The art of cultivating the soil, according to Sir Isaac Newton, Stillingfleet, and others, was invented in Egypt; but though some fragments remain, from which may be derived some slight knowledge of Egyptian agriculture, there are very few data extant to enable us to form any idea of their gardening. According to Herodotus, the sacred groves or gardens were often of extraordinary beauty, thus designedly corresponding with that primeval garden which they all equally represented. Such was the grove of Ammon, or Osiris, in one of the oases of Africa (El Kargeh). These groves were watered by meandering streams, which flowed from numerous fountains, and produced a wonderful temperature of climate, resembling most of all the delightful season of spring, which prevailed through the whole year with an equal degree of salubrity. Every sacred grove was a copy of Elysium, and the prototype of Elysium itself was the paradise of Mount Ararat. The sycamore fig, or fig mulberry (Ficus Sycomorus L.), sometimes called Pharaoh's fig tree (St. John's Egypt, vol. i. p. 76.), was planted in avenues, and the date palm was indigenous every where.