The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Botany in Greek Gardens

Previous - Next

542. Of the botany and gardening of the Morea some account is given by Dr. Pouqueville. (Travels in 1798.) 'This country, formerly a part of Greece, is rich in vegetable productions, but at present proportionably poor in cultivation. There is no great variety cultivated in the gardens; the ground in general is ill prepared; the Greeks are unacquainted with the spade, and only use a mattock for turning it. Spinach and artichokes, which will even grow naturally without cultivation, are among the best culinary vegetables. Cabbages and cauliflowers grow to a prodigious size; they have also very good carrots. Broad and kidney beans are produced in such abundance, that they might become an object of exportation; but the seeds of both are much smaller than those in France. The lettuces are small; and the celery never will be good while, as at present, they do not earth it up. The tomatoes are very fine, as is the fruit yielded by the egg plant. The melons, water-melons, and gourds, are not to be exceeded in any part of the world. Mint, balm, fennel, parsley, and other herbs, abound in the gardens. The orchards are well furnished with almonds, oranges, lemons, citrons, peaches, pears, apricots, quinces, cherries, pomegranates, medlars; they have also the arbutus, the service-tree, and the carob-tree: all these might be improved, if more pains were taken in cultivating them.' (p. 204.) The account which this author, and also Dr. Holland (Albania and Greece, &c., 1812 and 1815), gives of the plants, the timber, and the fruit-trees, natives of the Morea, is highly interesting; he regrets that he could not occupy himself more with the subject, adding, that a botanist might compose a work worthy of the age in which we live, by undertaking a complete Flora Peloponnesica. [Editor's Note: Morea is a medieval name for the Peloponese region of Central Greece]