Special Sub-Topic: Down the Garden Path
|For centuries, what was considered the home of the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? |
Babylon. According to Diodorus Siculus, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon rose in terraces. Earth had been distributed on the terraces to such a depth that it was possible to grow large trees. The gardens were kept green by water lifted by means of an ingenious screw mechanism from the nearby Euphrates River into a rooftop reservoir, and distributed through an elaborate irrigation system. It is said that the gardens were created by Nebuchadnezzar for his Midian queen Amytis, who had left the green hills of her homeland to live with him on the arid plain that was Babylon and was longing for the sight of something with leaves!
Recent studies indicate the Gardens may have been in Nineveh but the evidence is inconclusive.
|Which famous Garden is reputed to have been between the Tigris and the Euphrates, and contained a one-of-a-kind tree? |
The Garden of Eden & Eden & Garden of Eden. Legend has it that God created the Garden of Eden in what is now northern Iraq, in the Fertile Crescent. The one-of-a-kind tree was, of course, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
|Where would you find "gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree"?|
Xanadu. You'll find these gardens in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'Xanadu'. The poem opens with the famous lines "In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree, where Alph, the sacred river, ran through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea". It has been speculated that Sam wrote 'Xanadu' while under the influence of opium, which certainly explains some of the strange imagery in the poem!
|Which U.S. state is known as The Garden State?|
New Jersey. August 24, 1876 was New Jersey Day at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and the Hon. Abraham Browning of Camden, New Jersey, made a speech in which he referred to the state as "our Garden State", and the name stuck. In 1954, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill to make the nickname official, and it now appears on all New Jersey automobile licence plates.
|Where is the International Peace Garden?|
On the border of Manitoba and North Dakota. In 1932, the International Peace Garden was established on the Manitoba/North Dakota border as a symbol of friendship between Canada and the U.S. One of the main attractions is the 9/11 Memorial, created from girders from the destroyed World Trade Centre. It is also home to a variety of wild life species.
|No visit to London, England is complete without a trip to these famous gardens where you will find the elegant Palm House? |
Kew Gardens. Designed by Decimus Burton and Richard Turner, the iron-framed, glass-walled Palm House was built between 1844 and 1848 as home to an impressive collection of tropical plants - trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers - from all over the British Empire. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew were established in 1773 by George III. Maybe it was his interest in plants that earned him the nickname of Farmer George.
|The gardens surrounding this great palace feature fountains, watercourses, statuary and shrubberies, all on a very lavish scale. It was also the site of the signing of a very important peace treaty. Where are these grand gardens? |
Versailles. Versailles was (is?) the greatest palace in Europe. Its formal gardens were designed for Louis XIV by Le Notre, and it was here that the French royal family had its summer 'cottage' (Le Grand Trianon). Louis XVI had the Petit Trianon built for his Queen Marie Antoinette, where she delighted in playing milkmaid and living the simple life! In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed by Germany and the Allies. The Treaty stripped Germany of much of her empire and European territories.
|These famous gardens in London feature a seven-mile Princess Diana Memorial Walkway, a bronze statue of Peter Pan, a sunken garden, and a memorial to Prince Albert, among many other delights. |
Kensington Gardens. Kensington Gardens was once the private garden of Kensington Palace, an elegant red brick edifice which Sir Christopher Wren designed for King William III in 1689. Queen Anne enlarged the park in 1704 and had the still-extant Orangery built. Nowadays, it is a public park, where joggers jog, sunbathers sunbathe, and kids can have a high old time in the Princess Diana Memorial Playground (she had lived nearby in Kensington Palace). My favourite feature of Kensington Gardens (in addition to the statue of Peter Pan) is the Richmond Oak, marvellously carved with all sorts of elfin creatures.
|The gardens of this palace include formal knot gardens, the beautiful Broadwalk, and an intricate maze. |
Hampton Court. Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, had Hampton Court built (it was started in 1514 and completed in 1525), and then, not wishing to offend his monarch by owning something grander than any of the king's palaces, gave it to Henry VIII as a gift! Unfortunately for poor Wolsey, his munificence didn't weigh with Henry VIII. Wolsey failed to secure a divorce from Catherine of Aragon when Henry wanted to marry Anne Boleyn and fell out of favour with the king. Henry ordered him to London, to face charges of treason, but the Cardinal pipped Henry at the post by dying en route. His last words are reputed to have been "Would that I had served my God as I have served my king." Apart from its beautiful gardens, Hampton Court is noted for its superb interior.
|We come to the end of our garden tour with a visit to a mythical garden where grew a tree that bore golden apples. To whom did this garden belong?|
The Hesperides. The Hesperides were four nymphs named Aegle, Arethusa, Erytheia and Hesperia, and they were the daughters of Atlas. It was their job to take care of the tree with the golden apples, which had been a wedding gift from Gaia to Hera when the latter married Zeus. The Garden of the Hesperides was guarded by Ladon, a dragon with 100 heads (as if one head wouldn't be enough!) One of the Twelve Labours imposed on Heracles was to get hold of some of those golden apples. Heracles tricked Atlas into stealing some for him, thus completing the eleventh of his twelve labours.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction