Arroyo Grande Ledge Fountain

The Gardens of Egypt and How They Changed Europe

The Egyptian gardens are the oldest gardens that we have tangible records of. Pictures and inscriptions, dating far back into the centuries before Christ, show that every Egyptian dwelling was built around a series of courtyards containing vegetation both useful and ornamental. Originally, a row of trees along the inner wall of the building shaded it and the enclosed quadrangle. The interior wall of the building and the enclosed yard were shaded by a line of trees. At first shading the courtyard and inside walls was a row of trees. A row of trees primarily encased the inmost wall of the building and the enclosure. The square and the inner wall of the structure were primarily shaded by a hedge of trees. Tree trunks were eventually replaced by powerful posts and overhanging branches by protuberant beams; in effect, this predicted the Greek peristyle (columned porch or colonnade) and monastic cloisters. Spiritual meaning was given to nearly all items in pre-Christian gardens and tree worship was the norm in all primitive societies. The most popular plants were the symbol of Cybele, the pine, the oak of Jupiter, the laurel of Apollo, the myrtle of Venus, the poplar of Hercules, and the olive of Minerva. One more cherished, abundant plant was the cypress. Topiary work was completed with rosemary and juniper because even though yew was common, it was not preferred. Box was considered an exceptional alternative for borders and was also commonly trimmed; it continues to be a favorite alternative at present.

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