The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 2: Roman Gardens (500BC-500AD)

Roman Flower Gardening

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II. Roman Gardening, considered as to the Culture of Flowers and Plants of Ornament 64. Flowers were rare in Roman gardens under the kings, and during the first ages of the republic. But as luxury began to be introduced, and finally prevailed to a great degree, the passion for flowers became so great, that it was found necessary to suppress it by sumptuary laws. Crowns of flowers were forbidden to such as had not received the right to use them, either by the eminence of their situation, or by the particular permission of the magistrates. Some acts of rigour towards offenders did not hinder these laws from being first eluded, and at last forgotten, till that which was originally a distinction became at last a general ornament. Men, the most elevated in dignity, did not hesitate to set up that elegance of dress and of ornament, which is repugnant to the idea of a warlike people; and Cicero, in his third harangue against Verres, reproaches this proconsul with having made the tour of Sicily in a litter, seated on roses, having a crown of flowers on his head, and a garland at his back.