The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 2: The Influence of Climates on Gardens

Ideal climate for fruit gardening

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957. The finest climate for fruits, according to Sir William Temple, is that of Assyria, Media, and Persia. ' Those noble fruits, the citron, the orange, and the lemon, are the native product of those noble regions ; and though they have been from thence transplanted and propagated in many parts of Europe, yet they have not arrived at such perfection, in beauty, taste, or virtue, as in their native soil and climate.' ' The reason of it can be no other than that of an excellent and proper soil being there extended under the best climate for the production of all sorts of the best fruits ; which seems to be from about twenty-five to about thirty-five degrees of latitude. Now, the regions under this climate in the present Persian empire (which comprehends most of the other two, called anciently Assyria and Media) are composed of many provinces, full of great and fertile plains, bounded by high mountains, especially to the north, watered naturally with many rivers; and those, by art and labour, divided into many more and smaller streams; which all conspire to form a country, in all circumstances, the most proper and agreeable for the production of the best and noblest fruits. Whereas, if we survey the regions of the western world, lying in the same latitude, between twenty-five and thirty-five degrees, we shall find them extend either over the Mediterranean Sea, the ocean, or the sandy barren countries of Africa, and that no part of the continent of Europe lies so southward as thirty-five degrees; which may serve to discover the true reason why the fruits of the East have been always observed and agreed to transcend those of the West.' ' Persia,' Chardin observes, ' is the first country of the world for beautiful and superb flowers, properly so called.' The same observation will apply to the whole of India; but it is to be observed, that the flowers of these and other hot and dry countries are less odoriferous than in such as are temperate, and have a comparatively moist atmosphere. Moisture is favourable for conveying all odours ; or, at least, for strengthening their impression on the olfactory nerves.