The Garden Guide

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

Roman Gardening Authors

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84.There in no Roman author exclusively on gardening, but the subject is treated of, more or less, by Cato, Varro, Virgil, Pliny, and Columella. Cato and Varro died, the former B.C. 150, and the latter B.C. 28; both wrote treatises on rural affairs (De Re Rustica); but, except what relates to the vine, the olive, the fig, and the asparagus, these works have little on the subject of gardens. Virgil's Georgia appeared about the end of the century preceding the commencement of our era. Virgil was born in Mantua about B.C. 70; but lived much at Rome and Naples. He appears to have taken most of his ideas on gardening from Cato and Varro. Pliny's Natural History was written in the first century of our era. Pliny was born at Verona, A.D. 20, but lived much at court. The twelfth to the twenty-sixth books inclusive are chiefly on husbandry, gardens, trees, and medical plants. Pliny's work abounds with what are now known to be absurdities, but which, no doubt, passed for truths in his age. He died A.D. 76. The Rural �conomy of Columella is in twelve books, of which the eleventh, on Gardening, is in verse. He was born at Gades, now Cadiz, in Spain, and flourished under the emperor Claudius, A.D. 42, passing most of his time in Italy.