Vineyard Gardens in Egypt
Next to trees, the Old Period seems to have valued vineyards. We do not know the actual beginnings of garden-making. Pictures from the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties show the whole story of cultivating the grape: how it begins to ripen, how guards chase away the birds with sticks, how it is gathered, how it is trodden, and how the must is poured into tall, pointed vessels without feet. In the earliest days they seem to have grown the vines on arbours; that is, they stuck up stakes and set a transom across. The oldest hieroglyph for Wine shows this (Fig. 6).
FIG. 6. WINE ARBOUR OF THE OLD KINGDOM
But even in the Old Period they began to substitute posts for the rough wooden props, and from these there came in the New Period their beautiful, finely painted pergolas. Arbours were often round, which made them prettier. (Fig. 7),
A second hieroglyph shows that this form was a deviation from the original straight lines. In the Middle Period, and still more in the New Period, these ideas were developed in an ever more pleasing way. Right into the New Period, vineyard arbours were the centre and chief ornament of all gardens.