Gardening

Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs, are grown for consumption, for use as dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use. A gardener is someone who practices gardening, either professionally or as a hobby. Gardening ranges in scale from fruit orchards, to long boulevard plantings with one or more different types of shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants, to residential yards including lawns and foundation plantings, to plants in large or small containers grown inside or outside. Gardening may be very specialized, with only one type of plant grown, or involve a large number of different plants in mixed plantings. It involves an active participation in the growing of plants, and tends to be labor intensive, which differentiates it from farming or forestry. Forest gardening, a plant-based food production system, is the world's oldest form of gardening. Forest gardens originated in prehistoric times along jungle-clad river banks and in the wet foothills of monsoon regions. In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful tree and vine species were identified, protected and improved whilst undesirable species were eliminated. Eventually foreign species were also selected and incorporated into the gardens. After the emergence of the first civilizations, wealthy individuals began to create gardens for urely aesthetic purposes. Egyptian tomb paintings from around 1500 BC provide some of the earliest physical evidence of ornamental horticulture and landscape design; they depict lotus ponds surrounded by symmetrical rows of acacias and palms. Ornamental gardens were known in ancient times, a famous example being the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, while ancient Rome had dozens of gardens. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Elaborate ornamental gardens existed since ancient Egypt, when wealthy people used them for shade. Egyptians associated trees and gardens with gods as they believed that their deities were pleased by gardens. Commonly, the gardens in ancient Egypt were surrounded by walls with trees planted in rows. Among the most popular species that used to be planted were date palms, sycamores, fig trees, nut trees, and willows. These gardens were a sign of higher socioeconomic status. In addition, wealthy ancient Egyptians grew vineyards, as wine was a sign of the higher social classes. Roses, poppies, daisies and irises could all also be found in the gardens of the Egyptians. The Assyrians were also renowned for their beautiful gardens. These tended to be wide and large, some of them used for hunting game on (much as a game reserve would today) and others as leisure gardens. Cypresses and palms were some of the most planted types of trees. It is believed that when the Assyrian Empire was destroyed Babylon developed as an empire with its very famous hanging gardens.