The Garden Guide

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

Flower gardens in Turkey

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2. Gardening in European Turkey, Greece, and Albania, as to Flowers, Plants of Ornament, and Botanic Gardens 536. Flower-gardening. 'When the Turks,' observes Deleuze, 'by the taking of Constantinople, had given stability to their empire, they devoted themselves particularly to the culture of flowers.' Belon, in 1558, speaks with admiration of the gardens which he saw among them. 'There are no people,' he says, 'who delight more to ornament themselves with beautiful flowers, nor who praise them more, than the Turks. They think little of their smell, but delight most in their appearance. They wear several sorts singly in the folds of their turban; and the artisans have often several flowers of different colours before them, in vessels of water. Hence gardening is in as great repute with them as with us; and they grudge no expense in procuring foreign trees and plants, especially such as have fine flowers.' Busby, ambassador at Constantinople in 1550, has the same remarks; and adds, that they frequently give flowers in presents; and that, though very avaricious in other things, they do not hesitate to pay dear for them.