The Garden Guide

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

King Solomon Garden

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19. King Solomon's garden is the principal one on record; though many others belong-ing both to Jewish princes and subjects are mentioned in the Bible. The area of this garden was quadrangular, and surrounded by a high wall; it contained a variety of plants curious as objects of natural history, as the hyssop (a moss, as Ilasselquist thinks, ) �which springeth out of the wall;� odoriferous and showy flowers, as the rose, and the lily of the valley, the calamus, camphire, spikenard, saffron, and cinnamon; timber trees, as the cedar, the pine, and the fir; and the richest fruits, as the fig, grape, apple, date, and pomegranate. (Curtii Sprengel Historia Rei Herbari�, lib. i. c. 1.) It contained water in wells and in living streams, and, agreeably to eastern practices, aviaries, and a seraglio. The situation of Solomon's garden was in all probability near the palace, as were those of Ahasuerus and Ahab. (Esther, vii. 8.) Solomon says, �I made me gardens and paradises, and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made me pools of water, to water with them the groves flourishing with trees.� (Eccles., ii. 5. 9.) According to Maundrell (Travels, p. 88.), the remains of the pools made by Solomon for the reception and preservation of the waters of a spring still exist. �As for Solomon's pools,� he says, �they are three in number, lying in a row above one another; being so disposed as that the waters of the uppermost may descend into the second, and those of the second into the third. Their figure is quadrangular; in their length there is some difference; the first being 126 paces, the second 200, and the third 220. The breadth of all of them is 90 paces. They are all lined with walling plastered, and they contain a great depth of water.�