The Garden Guide

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

Persian Garden Plans

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25.In Persian gardens of a more limited description, according to Pliny and other Roman authors, the trees were arranged in straight lines and regular figures; and the margins of the walks covered with tufts of roses, violets, and other odoriferous flowering plants. In these plantations, the resinous sorts, the oriental plane, and, what may appear to us remarkable, the narrow-leaved elm, (now called English, but originally, as Dr. Walker and others consider, from the Holy Land, ) held conspicuous places. Buildings for repose and banqueting, fountains for cooling the air, aviaries for choice birds, and towers for the sake of distant prospect, were introduced in the best examples. (G. L. Meason.) It is interesting to find, from Sir Robert Ker Porter, that the same style still prevails. �The prevailing plan of Persian gardens is that of long parallel walks, shaded by even rows of tall umbrageous planes, interspersed with a variety of fruit trees, and every kind of flowering shrub. Canals flow down the avenues in the same undeviating lines, and generally terminate in some large marble basins of square or octagon shapes, containing sparkling fountains. Formal as this may seem, and, therefore, the reverse of picturesque, the effect was amazingly grand. The number of avenues and canals formed so extended a sylvan scene, that, when viewed from any point, it appeared a vast wood, with thousands of brilliant rills gliding amongst thickets.� �It should be observed,� adds Meason, �that the Persians are not content with one fountain, but often have many small low jets, to keep the whole surface of the water in agitation, and to heighten the sparkling effects through the foliage.�