For gardeners with a sense of history

OE wyrtig, adj: Garden-like, full of plants;
On anum wyrtige hamme, Homl. Skt. ii. 30:312




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An Introduction to
Early Gardens in Britain

Xenophon, a Greek who wrote in the period between 430 and 354 BCE, was the first to describe pleasure gardens, paradeisos, giving us the familiar word "paradise":

The king... finds gardens wherever he goes. They are called paradeisos, and are filled with all the earth brings forth that is good and lovely.

Xenophon, describing the gardens of Cyrus the Great

It is no surprise to a gardener that all of the world’s great religions locate heaven in a garden; nor that the word paradise has come to refer to a garden, to the Garden of Eden, to heaven, and to an ultimate state of bliss.

The Old Persian pairidaeza, an enclosed place, was envisioned as having cool shade and flowing water, pavilions and fruits. It was a chahar bagh, a garden (bagh) divided into four quarters (chahar). This geometrically symmetrical garden soon found its way to Greece, and then to Rome. With the Roman settlement of Britain, it came to the British Isles as well.

But before the Romans arrived in the British Isles, as traders or as conquerors, the Iron Age Britons were gardening.



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Botanists are among those who know that, in spite of the rude shocks of life,
it is well to have lived, and to have seen the everlasting beauty of the world.
F.D. Drewitt


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