Garden Facts



  • The ancient Chinese and Greeks grew fruit trees, vegetables and herbs in gardens for food and for medicines.
  • In the 1500s there were five famous botanical gardens in Europe designed to study and grow herbs for medicine.
  • The first botanical gardens were at Pisa (1543) and Padua (1545) in Italy.
  • Kew Gardens was once owned by the Royal Family, but since 1841 has been open to the public.
  • Carolus Clusius set up a famous flower garden in Leiden in Holland in the late 1500s. Here the first tulips from China were grown and the Dutch bulb industry began.
  • The most famous gardener of the 17th century was John Evelyn who set up a beautiful garden at Sayes Court in Deptford near London.
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew near London were made famous by Sir Joseph Banks in the late 1700s for their extensive collection of plants from around the world.
  • Today Kew Gardens has 33,400 classes of living plants and a herbarium of dried plants with 7 million species – that’s 98% of the world’s plants.
  • Plants such as rubber plants, pineapples, bananas, tea and coffee were spread around the world from Kew.
  • Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-83) was a famous English landscape gardener. He got his nickname by telling clients that their gardens had excellent `capabilities’.
  • Ornamental gardens are ordinary flower gardens in which a variety of flowers are laid out in patterns that are pleasing to the eye.
  • Gardening has become one of the most popular of all pastimes.
  • All garden flowers are descended from plants that were once wild, but they have been bred over the centuries to produce flowers quite unlike their wild relatives.
  • Garden flowers like tea roses, created by crossbreeding two different species, are called hybrids.
  • Garden flowers tend to have bigger blooms and last for longer than their wild cousins.
  • By hybridization gardeners have created colours that are impossible naturally, such as black roses.
  • Ornamentals are flowers cultivated just for show.
  • Botanical gardens such as I hose at Kew, London, display collections of flowers from many parts of I he world.
  • I 8th-century botanist Carl Linnaeus made a clock by planting flowers that bloomed at different times of day.
  • The earliest flowerbeds were the borders of flower tufts Ancient Persians grew along pathways.
  • A herbaceous border is a traditional flowerbed that is planted with herbaceous perennial flowers such as delphiniums, chrysanthemums and primroses. It llowers year after year.
  • Herbaceous borders were invented by Kew gardener George Nicolson in the 1890s.