This first God-planted garden has been called Paradise; and Milton called his great epic poem, describing how man lost this beautiful garden and his innocence, “Paradise Lost”.
Whatever we may think of this old story, it is certain that men have loved gardens and gardening from very ancient times. The paintings on the tombs prove that the ancient Egyptians were very fond of gardens.
Every Egyptian nobleman surrounded his house with a garden planted with rare trees and beautiful flowers; and wreaths of these flowers have been found in their tombs, placed on the mummies by loving hands thousands of years ago.
The hanging gardens of ancient Babylon, constructed and planted by Nebuchadnezzar, are famous in old history. The ancient Greeks had their gardens and loved to describe fabled gardens in their poems, like the garden of the Hesperides, where the trees bore golden fruit, and which was guarded by a dragon.
The nobles of Rome had their country villas, surrounded by gardens, vineyards and olive-yards; and the Latin poet Horace wrote poems in his country-garden. Persia was famous for its gardens of roses and aromatic trees; and in India, the ‘Mughals, who were great garden-lovers, laid out and planted such famous gardens as Shalimar and Nishat Bagh in Kashmir.
Gardening is a delightful and most interesting hobby, and many famous men, like Lord Bacon, who wrote a delightful essay on “Gardens”, have cultivated gardens with their own hands from the pure love of it.
The tending of beautiful trees and shrubs and flowering plants, and watching them grow from the seed to the opening flower and the ripening fruit, somehow refines the mind and is an education in itself.
And a beautiful garden itself is a constant source of pleasure. It forms a quiet retreat where one can rest, “far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife”, soothed by the song of the birds, and the sight of smooth, cool, well-cut green lawns, beds of gay flowers that fill the air with sweet scents, and the shade of beautiful and graceful trees.
No wonder men have dreamt of a garden as the scene of their first innocence, and of a Paradise to come after this weary life is over.