The Garden Guide

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

Roman horticulture

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83.The practical directions for garden culture given by the Roman authors are in general excellent; and the remark is still more applicable in agriculture than in horticulture. Cato gives minute directions for cultivating the asparagus; and Pliny and Columella treat at length on grafting and inoculating, on pruning the vine and olive, and on stirring the soil among fruit trees generally. Pliny informs us that the success of one cultivator, C. Furius Cresinus, was so great, that he was accused before the senate of practising magic, and was obliged to justify himself by the exhibition of his tools; exclaiming, as he displayed them, �these are the implements of magic which I use; but I cannot show you the cares, the toils, and the anxious thoughts that occupy me day and night.� (See Owen's Translation of Cato, and of Geoponica, or Agricultural Pursuits.)