A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, or enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature.
The term “garden”, which is of Germanic origin, means “yard” or “enclosure” and denotes ways of organizing earth, water, plants and, sometimes and art (sculpture, architecture …).
The history of gardening may be considered as aesthetic expressions of beauty through art and nature, a display of taste or style in civilized life, an expression of an individual’s or culture’s philosophy, and sometimes as a display of private status or national pride—in private and public landscapes.
In the Western Hemisphere, various Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Maya, Mixtecs, and Nahua peoples (including the Aztec Empire) had both practical and aesthetic gardening traditions.
The earliest surviving detailed garden plan is Egyptian and dates from about 1400 BC – it shows tree-lined avenues and rectangular ponds.
Mesopotamia, the “land between the Rivers” Tigris and Euphrates, comprises a hilly and mountainous northern area and a flat, alluvial south. Its peoples (Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians) were urban and literate from about 3,000 BC. Evidence for their gardens comes from written texts, pictorial sculpture, and archaeology.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon [image above] were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as listed by Hellenic culture. It was described as a remarkable feat of engineering with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, resembling a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks. It was said to have been built in the ancient city of Babylon, near present-day Hillah, Babil province, in Iraq.
Hellenistic gardens were conspicuously luxurious in their display of precious materials, a tradition carried over by Byzantine gardens.
The Byzantine Empire occupies an important place in the history of garden design between eras and cultures (c. 4th century – 10th century CE). Byzantine gardens were based largely on Roman ideas emphasizing elaborate mosaic designs, a typical classical feature of formally arrayed trees and built elements such as fountains and small shrines.
Monasteries carried on a tradition of garden design and intense horticultural techniques during the medieval period in Europe. Rather than any one particular horticultural technique employed, it is the variety of different purposes the monasteries had for their gardens that serves as testament to their sophistication.
In Renaissance Europe, gardens reflected confidence in human ability to impose order on the external world.
Italian gardens emphasized the unity of house and garden.
French 17th-century gardens were rigidly symmetrical, and French cultural dominance in Europe popularized this style into the next century.
In 18th-century England, increasing awareness of the natural world led to the development of “natural” gardens that made use of irregular, nonsymmetrical layouts.
Chinese gardens have generally harmonized with the natural landscape, and have employed rocks gathered from great distances as a universal decorative feature.
Japanese gardens are traditional gardens whose designs are accompanied by Japanese aesthetics and philosophical ideas, avoid artificial ornamentation, and highlight the natural landscape. Plants and worn, aged materials are generally used by Japanese garden designers to suggest an ancient and faraway natural landscape, and to express the fragility of existence as well as time’s unstoppable advance.
Some traditional types of eastern gardens, such as Zen gardens, use plants sparsely or not at all.
A botanical garden is a garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation, preservation and display of a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names. It may contain specialist plant collections such as cacti and other succulent plants, herb gardens, plants from particular parts of the world, and so on; there may be greenhouses, shadehouses, again with special collections such as tropical plants, alpine plants, or other exotic plants.
Covering an area of 32 hectares (79 acres), Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. And with all that land comes a lot of bulbs — about 7 million are planted each year for a spectacular spring blossom (the garden is only open between March and May). It is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam.
The Garden of Versailles occupy part of what was once the Domaine royal de Versailles, the royal demesne of the château of Versailles. The garden is spread across 800 hectares (1,976 acres), and is one of the biggest gardens in the world. 210,000 flowers and 200,000 trees are planted annually in The Garden of Versailles. In 1979, the gardens along with the château were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Villa d’Este is a 16th-century villa outside of Rome is beloved for its terraced gardens and opulent fountains, one of which plays music. The majestic water features would have been used to delight and impress visitors who were entertained at the villa, which was built for the son of a nobleman and grandson of the Pope. Villa d’Este is a wonderful example of an Italian Renaissance garden, where the landscape is meant to inspire contemplation. It is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Kew Gardens, located in south London, is world famous for housing more than 50,000 living plants. In addition, it’s an important center for botanical research and an architectural masterpiece thanks to the Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. That historic site is home to rare and threatened species of plants.
The New York Botanical Garden, one of the leading centres of botanical research and floristics in the United States. It is located in the Bronx, New York City. It is a National Historic Landmark. The 100-hectare (250-acre) garden, has a plant collection consisting of about 12,000 species from almost every part of the world. The Garden contains 50 different gardens and plant collections.
Gardens by the Bay is a garden spanning 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land. It is located in the Central Region of Singapore. Gardens by the Bay is a spectacular tropical garden designed not only to celebrate the plants of the tropics, but also the cultural diversity of Singapore’s population. Being one of the popular tourist attractions in Singapore, the park receives more than 8 millions people per year.
Gardening can be considered both as an art, concerned with arranging plants harmoniously in their surroundings, and as a science, encompassing the principles and techniques of plant cultivation.
Food-producing gardens are distinguished from farms by their smaller scale, more labor-intensive methods, and their purpose (enjoyment of a hobby or self-sustenance rather than producing for sale).
Zoos, which display wild animals in simulated natural habitats, were formerly called zoological gardens.