The history of the garden is also an important adjunct to the history of civilisations around the world. The ancient Egyptian gardens provide insight into the values, ideals, and beliefs of that society. The first gardens were an extension of religion and where located on temple grounds. They represented man’s perception of an earthly paradise. Water was highly valued and was incorporated into these gardens to symbolize the ‘river of life‘. These gardens were owned by the wealthy and water was brought to them by slaves. Gardens at this time were also useful as well as idealistic. They were designed to incorporate a ready supply of fruit and vegetables for their owners. Gardens were typically walled to protect them from opposing armies, looters and the harshness of the desert.
Throughout the course of history gardens have adapted to changes in the social environment, politics, and ideals. Especially in the UK, gardens have been influenced over the centuries by invasions of different races. Gardens from the Roman era introduced vines and chestnuts. During the Dark Ages, walled monastery gardens provided refuge for monks. These gardens were self-sufficient and supplied food through vegetables, herbs, fruits, and fishponds as well as an area for contemplation and meditation. Saxon’s from 410 to 1066 there gardens are widely regarded as the origin of the cottage garden. The emphasis was on security and it was not until the Tudor period around 500 years ago that this emphasis was relaxed and the garden became an extension of the house.
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