Styles Of Garden And Historic Gardens

Styles Of Garden And Historic Gardens

Styles of garden:  As early as 5000 years ago, the Chinese developed gardens and flowers in them like the Chrysanthemum. The gardens of antiquity created in the Far East and Asia Minor, China, Babylon, Persia, Egypt and Greece were associated with villas, palaces and houses of kings, nobles and wealthy persons. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon become one of the seven wonders of the world.

Epicurus, the pleasure loving  Philosopher, started gardening in Athens in 300 BC. Most of these loving dens were destroyed during the early part of the Middle Ages. In the 11th century the interest in gardens was revived with the development of utilitarian gardens which had mainly fruits, vineyards, and herbals maintained by monks in the monasteries, had mostly herbals with very few flowers. During the 11th century the English gardens and fruit trees, and flowers were only grown for purpose of decoration in churches or for wreaths.

It was not until the 16th and 17th centuries that flowers dominated the gardens developed in Italy and other European countries. The European gardens were enriched with many beautiful plants and flowers brought from China. Japan, South Africa, India, South America, USA by plant explorers/collectors, like Bartram, Commerson, Banks, Kerr, Douglas, Tradescant, Francis Masson, John Frazer, Vancouver, Menzies, William Lobb, Thomas Blaikie, Nathaniel Ward, Siebold, Polunin, Frank Kingdom Ward and many others.

The historical development of gardens in various countries during the early period had set different styles of gardening. The historical gardens were influenced by environmental factors, like topography, country of origin, climate, vegetation and material of construction, as well as the people and their functions and purpose, such as for pleasure, comfort, magnificence, grandeur or display of social status.

The historic styles of gardening originated in various parts of the world under the influence of the country and its people. The garden styles have been classified differently from various points of view, such as aesthetic like the Classic characterized by repose, restraint and formal design developed mainly by the Greeks and Romans, and the Romantic styles which evoke emotions and sentiments by the beauty of flowers and plants.

The dominance of the ideas of the landscape creator is evident in the humanistic garden style as well as in the Naturalistic garden designs. The former is mainly a formal garden, though it may be design also while in the latter is exploited the beauty of Nature in an informal expression of landscape. The two most common garden designs based on form and space are the Formal and Informal designs. In a formal garden, which is generally introvert, the flower beds and a are in geometrical shapes. It has a symmetrical balance in the pool having garden ornaments, like fountains, statues, benches, paved walks/ roads, hedges, edgings, topiary, and a beautiful architectural feature.

The Naturalistic garden has a symmetrical balance even though the objects are not arranged around a central axis unlike the formal designs. However, on either side of the vertical axis the dissimilar objects are placed without any similarity but equated to give the occult appearance of balance. In this extrovert garden design the paths are Irregular in shape and placement, without any garden ornaments, and the plant material includes mostly the local or native plant species predominant in the region, landscaped in such a way as to merge with the surrounding nature.

Subsequently, botanical gar-dens and public parks having many exotic species of flowers and plants were established in Europe, South Africa, USA, South America and New Zealand. The famous botanical gardens of the world are mentioned in Table 2.1. Perhaps the first botanic garden was started at Padua, near Venice (Italy) in 1543 followed by others at Oxford (1621), Edin-burgh (1670), Cambridge (1762), Kew (1759), and Leyden National Park in 1840. The other old botanic gardens of Europe are at Leyden in Holland, Montpellier and Paris in France and Heidelberg in Germany.

Historic Gardens:

Spanish garden styles:

The Moorish garden style was developed in Spain in which there was a direct impact of the Persian design introduced by the Arabs. These gardens served as patios which were surrounded by buildings and formed the introvert design. The main characteristics of the Moorish gardens included water in basins, pools, fountains and channels, fruit trees and colorful and fragrant flowers.

Italian garden styles :

The Italian gardens were also influenced by the Persian garden style. gardens which were dominated by architectural features, and flower beds and hedges formed an integral part of the architecture. The enclosed gardens of villas and palaces of nobles and rich, people located on hill slopes, were developed to display their wealth. The Italian Renaissance and Barouque gardens, created during a period of 16th and 17th centuries, were formal and unrelated to nature The characteristic features of the Italian gardens included fountains, sculptures, water canals, box or yew hedges, topiary, arbour, trellis and architecturally beautiful buildings. Cress and flex trees and roses were among the most commonly  grown plants in these garden.

French garden styles :

The early French gardens were based on Italian garden designs However, the French people were tired of the formal Italian style which as very remote from nature. Consequently there was a development of a new style known as the style of Le Notre, at Versailles. His design o was characterized by a system of allee through the woods linking the vantage features leading to different vistas. These gardens gave an effect vantage spaciousness and simplicity and appeared closely related to nature. The Le Notre French style influenced other gardens of Europe.

English garden styles:

In the early days, the English gardens were made around the monasteries. In the 10th century the monks developed herb and kitchen gardens  and a few variety of flowers like roses, y hocks, carnations, peonies, lilies and violets. These were mainly utilitarian gardens. The pleasure gardens were introduced by monks in the 14th century which were formal walled gardens with fountains arbour and trellis around small castles. Later in the middle of the 16th century, during the reign of Henry VIII, emerged the formal Tudor garden style which had flower beds, topiary, terraces, sundials, fountains, labyrinth, low shrubs and plants, clipped hedges, green turf and trees.

The Tudor gardens were neither exclusively utilitarian nor herbal. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the English gardens, were influenced by the Le Notre style. The people wanted a change in the garden style which resulted in the evolution of the Romantic style of landscaping in the 18th century. The Romantic style was closer to nature than the earlier Formal style, with main features like winding walks, group planting of trees, waterfalls and rivulets against a natural background. During the Elizabethan period (AD 1500-1730) aesthetic value was of more importance than utility in the gardens.

In the early 19th century of the Victorian era the Naturalistic style of gardens was evolved in small English home gardens. The origin of the informal landscaped garden in England during the 19th century became a historic landmark in gardening which spread out to different parts of  the world. Several beautiful exotic plants were introduce from different countries into the English gardens. The wild flowers also found a place in these modern informal  in these modern informal naturalistic gardens.

Japanese garden styles :

The concept of the Japanese garden was inspired by Buddhism and temple gardens of India. It was introduced to Japan by the Buddhist monks traveling through Indonesia, China and Korea. The informal style of the Japanese landscape gardening was evolved on the basis of the close relationship that exists between plants and nature. These gardens are characterized by their simplicity, balance of space and mass and balance of proportion. The garden may be either small or large, as even a small garden is considered a symbolic composition of nature.

The Japanese gardens have undergone several changes from simple temple gardens to decorative gardens during the periods of Asuka (AD 538-749), Heian (AD 749-1185), Kamakura (AD 1186-1399), Ashikaga (AD 1400-1600), Edo (AD 1615-1867) and Meiji (AD 1876-1912). Artificial hills (rockeries), running water and stones were the main features of the temple gardens during the Asuka period.

The Heian era was characterized by lakes, bridges and stepping stones while the use of stones, hills and lakes constituted dominant elements during the Kamakura period, besides the development of dry landscapes using sand and stones. Sand symbolized an ocean or lake while stones in various shapes and sizes arranged differently represented artificial hills, rocks and mountains.

The golden pavilion surrounded by lotus covered water ponds and lush green trees imparted beauty to the temple garden during the Ashikaga period. Small home gardens and Tea House gardens were developed in the Edo era. Gardens around tall multi-storied buildings became smaller in size and limited in space and several public parks were developed in big cities after the industrial revolution and consequent changes in architectural designs.

The various types of Japanese gardens include the Hill Garden, Flat Garden, Tea Garden, Passage Garden and Fancy Garden. In the Hill Garden the main elements are hills, water bodies like streams, ponds and lakes, and islands. There are generally five hills of various heights placed at different sites and three islands, Master island, Guest island connected with a bridge and Central island. About ten rocks or stones of different shapes and sizes in groups are commonly used to symbolize hillocks.

These stones are of five kinds: Statue stone, tall vertical with bulged center, low vertical, short vertical with rounded base and irregular apex resembling a Magnolia bud; Flat stone, a low broad stone with a flat top; Recumbent ox stone like an animal trunk; and, Arching stone, medium in height with broad flat top and bent over to one side. The paths, which are not straight, are covered with foot size natural stones often called the stepping stones. In dry areas water is symbolized by white sand in the garden.

There are different types of Hill Gardens such as the Rocky Ocean Style (sea rocks, lake, white sand and pine tree), Wind River Style (river boulders, stepping stones, and stones), Lake Wave Style (water plants and grasses without sand and waterfall), Reed Marsh Scene (flat stones, reeds, rushes, bamboo, grasses, river plants, plums, willows), The Flat Gardens representing a mountain, a valley or an extensive river are generally laid out in closed areas in big cities or sometimes in front of a not-so-important building.

The Tea Garden is around a tea house where a tea ceremony is a common feature. This garden is simple and natural having running water, pebbles, stepping stones, grass, trees and plants, water basins and garden lantern. In front of the tea room or approaching a building there may be a Passage garden having stepping stones and walks, low fence, gravel surface, stones, flowering trees and shrubs. The gardens for guests are known as the Fancy gardens. In these gardens long elevated wooden passages are made to facilitate viewing of the garden from above.

The main elements of the Japanese gardens are Garden Stones, as described earlier, Garden Enclosures (fences, hedges and walls), Garden Lanterns, Stepping Stones, Ornamental Water (lakes, rivers, torrents, streams and cascades; the water must flow from east to west, Islands, Garden-Pagoda, Garden Bridges to connect the islands, Garden Vegetation (stones, shrubs and herbaceous flowers, chrysan-themum, carnation, Iris, lotus, orchid, etc. and bonsai).

Plant Materials:

Evergreen trees, shrubs, a few climbers and bulbous, herbaceous and perennial herbaceous flowering plants are commonly grown in the Japanese gardens. The following are the important plants grown in these gardens.

Evergreen trees:

Pinus parviflora and other species, Abies barchy-phylla, A. firma, Olea fragrance, Podocarpus macrophylla, Quercus dentata and other species, Nandina domestica, Ternstroemia japonica, Andromeda japonica, Bambusa spp. (Bamboo), Cryptomeria japonica.

Deciduous trees:

Acer palmatum, A. parvifoliurn (Maple), Betula alba (Birch), Ulmus montana, U. parvflora (Elm), Salix babylonica (Willow), Populus tremula (Poplar), Morus alba (Mulberry), Rhododendron spp., Magnolia.


Azalea, Camellia japonica, Rhododendron, Cherry (Prunus pseudcerasus), Pomegranate, Peach, Pear, Plum, Quince, Gardenia, Euonymous, Aralia, Magnolia, Hydrangea, Paeonies.

Climbing plants:

Clematis paniculata, C. patens and other specie Ipomoea, Nibs vinifera, Tecoma grandiflora, Wisteria sinensis


Aster, Carnation, Anemone,  Chrysanthemum Canna, Orchids, Lilies, Lotus, Iris, Freesia

Other plants:

Rushes, Grasses , Can  (Zoysia japonica)

Placement of Plants:

Trees are planted at specific places and in an irregular manner in contrasting groups to represent distance, against the setting sun, to screen some areas or for shadow in water. These are planted in valleys river banks, islands, shores, hill slopes, cliffs behind cascades and flat’ spaces. Evergreen trees are more commonly grown than deciduous. The deciduous trees are not planted in the foreground. Generally the Willows are placed on the eastern side of the house, plums in the west, Paulowria imperials in the south and Sophora japonica in the north. Near the water pools, basins or other water bodies, Willows, Nandina dornestica and Andromeda japonica are planted for reflection in water. It is a common practice to plant a tree near a stone lantern and needle-leaved trees are trained in various artistic shapes. The flowering trees are not planted in groups. The flowering plum or cherry is planted as a single specimen tree against the evergreen trees or sometimes in the foreground.

The dwarf are generally clipped into rounded shapes and planted in groups on slopes. The climbing plants are grown on trellis and bamboos, rushes and grasses are the common ground covers. The flowering plants like chrysanthemum, carnation, aster, lilies, orchids, anemones and paeonies are grown in beds or pots. Chrysanthemums are trained in cascade or other beautiful forms.

Moghul garden styles :

During the Moghul period (16th and 17th centuries) with the renais-sance of gardening in India, a new formal garden style emerged which was based on the basic paradise garden design ‘Char Bagh’ of Persia in Central Asia from where the Moghuls came to India. The development in gardening started in AD 1525 when Babar, the first Moghul king established the Moghul dynasty in the country. The original Persian garden had four squares with a central water pool with water channel having running water in the form of a white sheet (chadar) from all the four sides and meeting in the central pool. Cypress, Pine, Poplar and Weeping Willow were the commonly grown trees in the Persian gardens. Babar, who was an ardent lover of gardens, and his wife created the Bagh-i-wafa (Garden of Fidelity), Bag h-l-kalan (Large Garden) and Ram Bagh on the bank of Yarnuna at Agra. The Moghul gardens, though based on Persian design, had incorporated certain modifications like more number of terraces, fountains, waterfalls, architectural buildings, water channels lined with concrete or blue tiles.

Later Jahangir (AD 1605-27) and his wife Nurjahan made gardens Shah-Dara and Dilkusha at Lahore and Shalimar. Acbhalbal and Varinag in Srinagar, Kashmir. Itmad-ud-Daulah at Agra. Shah Jahan (1627-58) laid out several famous gardens like Shalimar at Lahore. Chasma Shahl in Srinagar. Taj Mahal and Red Fort at Agra and Red Fort in Delhi. iKhan, a general of Aurangzeb made the Pinjore gardens near Kalka on Simla road. Asaf Khan a brother of Nurmahal, created the Nishat garden near the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

The main features of the Moghul gardens which are basically either palace gardens or tomb gardens, are

  1. Square or rectangular shape,
  2. Enclosed in high walls with a large wooden entrance gate studded wit h heavy iron nails and spikes,
  3. More than two terraces, like seven, eight or twelve representing planets. paradise and the zodiac respectively, at different levels. the lowest being at the entrance and the highest at the last terminal building.
  4. Running water in channels or canals in the form of cascades and a sheet. of water (chadar) and fountains.
  5. Baradari, a canopied pavilion with twelve open doors, three on each of the four sides,
  6. Terminal building an architecturally beautiful building like the Taj Mahal,
  7. Small beds or flowers in formal octagonal or star-shaped bed-, along the water canal and
  8. Sourced life symbolized by running water in canal, cypress for immortality and flowering trees for renewal or life.

The most commonly grown plants included cypress, chinar, poplar. Bauthinia alba, Palas (Buicte mono sperm) Champak, Nyctanthes arbortristis, jasmine, fruit trees like  mango, pomegranate, fig, plums, peaches apples, etc and rose, narcissus. lilies, ids and carnation. The fruit trees were along the sides of the gardens.



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