You may sometimes look out the window of your house and think “gosh, gardens are just the most normal thing.” Well, maybe you don’t think that, but if you did you’d be wrong. Gardens weren’t just a space out the back of the house that was used up, they were an invention like any other.They started off big and pretty chaotic until they came to what we know them as today.
The Garden of Eden
Some estimate it dates back to about 9,000BCE near Jericho. That’s pretty old. Well before the Garden of Eden, but that garden is one of the first gardens in literature, and was “located” in Sumer, Lower Mesopotamia. Gardens back then would have been mainly for food, and wouldn’t have been located next to houses yet. We’re not there yet.
This the oldest form of gardening and dates back to prehistoric times. It wasn’t a garden as yet, but families over time improved the environment as they selected and preserved plant species they liked, and with that we get closer and closer to the idea of a garden.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Around the 16th lovely. Including this, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Though, we don’t know if it definitely existed and may be purely legendary. But look how lovely it looks!
Vitruvius is like a really ancient Alan Titchmarsh and wrote a lovely manual in 27 BCE on landscape design. This put some structure in place to follow and set the bar for gardening. Many of its ideas still hold true till today. Go on Vitruvius!
The Romans loved showing off. If you were wealthy back then and you didn’t have a gorgeous garden, you were an absolute loser and no one would go to your parties. The Romans made having a garden the norm for the upper-class. Snobs the lot of them.
Around the time after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Japanese garden scene was blowing up. With it, they got all abstract and made miniature landscapes along with super minimal Zen hangouts. In fact it seemed like everyone in the world was going garden-crazy. It was mental.
In 1260CE, Albert Magnus wrote about a book which included how to plant a grass plot. So about this time we’re getting grass but also the idea of the garden as a little Eden, a place to relax. So there’s seating now too. You know, just hanging out in the medieval era, real chill.
20th Century Gardens
In the 20th century, the back garden became more like another room of the house. This began in the west of the United States, where people spent more time in the sun lounging about and reading. Those Californians have always had it good.
This then led to the cool and fancy gardens you might see in as part of a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe house. These were all about style, grace, and looking cool to your mates.
High density population won’t stop us. We truly are garden-crazy, popping them up there, way up high in some apartment block.
Look how far we’ve come! All that development has led to this: Celtic Tiger decking. 50% of the population got this during the Celtic Tiger. Out on the lounger, soaking up the rays of a tepid 16 Degree sun, we all thought we had made it in our garden castles. Great thing about decking though, is it requires no work or watering. Just sit back, and relax.