The Garden Guide

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

Orontes Gardens

Previous - Next

24.The grove of Orontes in Syria is mentioned by Strabo (lib. xvi.) as being in his time nine miles in circumference. It is described by Gibbon as �composed of laurels and cypress, which formed in the most sultry summers a cool and impenetrable shade. A thousand streams of the purest water issuing from every hill preserved the verdure of the earth, and the temperature of the air; the senses were gratified with harmonious sounds, and aromatic odours; and the peaceful grove was consecrated to health and joy, to luxury and love.� (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. xiii.) Figueroa, who was ambassador from the court of Spain to that of Persia in 1617, informs us that at Shiraz the royal garden was so large that it appeared like a forest, the trees consisting of cypresses, planes, and elms, which were planted in squares and avenues, intermixed with thickets of roses. The fruits were grapes, pears, pistachia nuts, and almonds. Amidst these plantations was a large and beautiful lake. (Arch�ologia, vol. vii. p. 114.)