WTF Fun Fact 12689 – The World’s First Gardens

While the practice of growing plants and flowers for aesthetic pleasure hasn’t been a characteristic of all times and places, gardening goes back thousands of years. There is evidence of Egyptian palace gardens in the second millennium BCE! And they were so large it was said that oarsmen could row their boats through their water features.

Of course, agriculture existed long before that, but gardening (or ornamental horticulture), was designed purely for pleasure (not for medicinal purposes alone) once people settled down.

While some trace the oldest gardens to China, those acted more as hunting lands. Other ancient references to “gardens” (such as in the Epic of Gilgamesh) were likely patches of trees and not purely ornamental agriculture.

In the 6th century BCE, gardening was in full bloom. The Babylonians had the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which the Hellenistic Greeks referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

There were gardens at the schools of ancient Greece (Aristotle kept one) and all over Rome. In fact, the Romans were obsessed with gardening. The architectural author Vitruvius wrote the first book on landscaping.

After the decline of Rome, the Moors kept the tradition alive in the West (along with much of Western intellectual tradition) while a separate culture of gardening developed in China and spread to Japan. Monks also copied Roman gardening manuscripts and kept gardens of their own, penning some original gardening manuals as well.

Purely ornamental gardening fell out of fashion (or, well, people didn’t quite have time for it) in the middle ages. But it was revived again in France in the 13th century to some extent and boomed again in the Renaissance period.

In the 16th century, the Spanish were the first to build public parks. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Where was the world’s first garden made?” — Garden Visit

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