The Garden Guide

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

Dutch Garden Design

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2. Dutch Gardening, in respect to Botanic Gardens and the Culture of Flowers and Plants of Ornament 174. The taste for flowers, so prevalent in Holland, is thought to have originated with their industry early in the twelfth century; the study of flowers being in some degree necessary, as affording patterns for the ornamental lace and linen manufactures. Matthias de L'Obel, botanist to James I. of England, states, in the preface to his Plantarum Stirpium Historia, published in 1576, that the taste for plants existed among the Flemings in his time in the greatest degree; that they brought home plants from the Levant and the two Indies; that exotics were more cultivated by them than by any other nation; and that their gardens contained more rare plants than all the rest of Europe besides, till, during the civil wars which desolated their country in the sixteenth century, many of their finest gardens were abandoned or destroyed. L'Obel, in the second part of his Adversaria, Lond., 1605, p. 514., gives a catalogue, from Clusius, of 38 varieties of the anemone; a striking proof of the florist's art in the end of the sixteenth century, about which period it is certain, from L'Obel's works, that many persons were very assiduous in the cultivation of exotics. Deleuze observes, that Holland had at the end of the seventeenth century a crowd of distinguished botanists; and was then, as during a century preceding, the country the most devoted to gardening. (Discours sur l' Etat ancien et moderne de l' Agriculture et de la Botanique dans les Pays Bas. Par Van Hulthem, 1817; Extrait du Discours prononce, &c. a Gand, par M. Cornelissen, 1817.)