The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Garden design in Persia

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736. 'The prevailing plan of Persian gardens' says Sir R. K. Porter, 'is that of long parallel walks, shaded by even rows of tall umbrageous planes, interspersed with a variety of fruit trees, and every kind of flowering shrub. Canals flow down the avenues in the same undeviating lines, and generally terminate in some large marble basins of square or octagon shapes, containing sparkling fountains. Formal as this may seem, and, therefore, the reverse of picturesque, the effect was amazingly grand. The number of avenues and canals formed so extended a sylvan scene, that when viewed from any point, it appeared a vast wood, with thousands of brilliant rills gliding amongst thickets.' On these passages, G. L. Meason observes, 'that the Persians are not content with one fountain in a canal or basin, but often have many small low jets, to keep the whole surface of the water in agitation, and to heighten the sparkling effects through the foliage. Would not,' he asks, 'a small canal near an European mansion, thus managed, and surrounded with overhanging evergreen and other shrubs, become a most interesting part of home scenery ?' (Landscape Architecture of Italy, p. 85.) According to Fraser, Persian gardens have little variety. Those of Mazanderan, when he saw them in 1829, were fast hastening to decay. (Travels in Persia, p. 46.)