The Oldest Gardens in the WorldColin Campbell-Preston
Creating a beautiful and relaxing garden, complete with attractive flowers and plant life, is a timeless pursuit – something which humans, from civilisations all around the world, have been doing for thousands of years. Whilst the vast majority of historical gardens have fallen into neglect and disrepair, some have been lovingly restored for generation after generation to explore. Here we take a look at the oldest gardens in the world.
Orto Botanico di Padova
Located in Padua in the north east stretch of Italy, the Orto Botanico di Padova is recognised as the world’s oldest academic garden. Since being founded in 1545 the garden has remained in the same location for almost 500 years.
Originally dedicated to growing medicinal plants, the garden featured plants from all around the world. It is widely recognised as the birthplace of many scientific practices and central to the understanding of the relationship between nature and culture. The oldest surviving plant in the garden is a palm, known as the Goethe Palm, which can trace its roots back to 1585.
Garden of Versailles
It took 40 years for landscape architects, headed by André Le Nôtre, to design and develop the 800 hectare Gardens of Versailles. Under instruction from King Louis XIV, work began on the classically French gardens in 1661.
Now visited by more than six million people every year, the gardens were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Despite the king and court deserting Versailles in 1715 following the death of Louis XIV, the gardens were saved by Government intervention. They were finally opened to the public in the latter stages of the 18th century.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya and its gardens are recognised as one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. The most visited historic site in Sri Lanka, the gardens are split into three distinct areas – the water gardens, the boulder gardens and the terraced gardens.
Sigiriya is an ancient rock-top palace, which was selected as King Kasyapa’s capital as early as year 477 and its gardens are amongst the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The Sigiriya Gardens are still being excavated to this day, as they were only rediscovered as recently as the 1980s.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Found in the picturesque Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey, the Lost Gardens of Heligan were first planted by the Tremayne family in the middle of the 18th century. The gardens spent decades in disrepair after being neglected following the conclusion of the First World War, before being fully restored in the 1990s.
Perhaps the highlight of the Lost Gardens is Europe’s sole remaining Pineapple Pit. Designed by Victorian gardeners as a means to grow Pineapples in colder climates, the Pineapple Pit consists of a shallow trench filled with manure which keeps the growing pineapples warm enough to reach ripeness.
If you’re looking to create a beautiful garden which will survive for years to come, Capital Gardens can help you keep it healthy and looking its best. For a fantastic range of bulbs, tools and gardening accessories, visit one of our garden centres found on our homepage or call us today on 0208 348 5054.