The Garden Guide

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

Italian Flower Gardening

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2. Italian Gardening in respect to Botanic Gardens, and the Culture of Flowers and Plants of Ornament 120. Flowers appear to have been little cultivated by the Italians previously to the tenth century. The introduction of the Christian religion as a national worship, though at present favourable, was at first adverse to the use of flowers. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria, in the second century, inveighed against them with all their eloquence; and the rites of religion, then carried on in gloomy vaults, were not, as now, accompanied by bands of music, statues, pictures, and enriched altars decorated with flowers. Pietro Crescenzi, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, mentions only the violet, lily, rose, gillyflower, and I'ris. Commerce began to flourish in the century which succeeded, and various plants were introduced from the Eastern countries, by the wealthy of Venice and Genoa.