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Hortus

κῆπος). A garden. Gardens among the ancients were usually of a strictly utilitarian character. Even the mythical garden of Alcinoüs, described in the Odyssey (vii. 112-130), is divided into a fruit-garden, a vineyard, and a kitchengarden, with no mention of flowers; and when, in later times, flower-gardens are spoken of (e. g. κήπους εὐώδεις, Aves, 1066), they are probably gardens in which flowers were cultivated for profit. The ancients, in fact, had much less love of landscape beauties than the moderns, and some of their garden arrangements seem shocking to modern taste. Longus (Pastoralia, ii. 3) describes a garden in which flowers were mingled with fruits; and Plutarch says that the beauty of roses and violets is enhanced by planting them side by side with onions and leeks! The suburbs of Athens abounded in market-gardens, which supplied the city with both flowers and vegetables (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxvi. 18). Plato speaks of books on gardening (Min. p. 316 E).

Roman gardens are described in two letters of the Younger Pliny (ii. 17; v. 6), from which it appears that they were rather prim and formal in their plan, with regular walks (ambulationes) lined by closely-clipped hedges of box, yew, and cypress; and diversified with statues, pyramids, and summer-houses (diaetae). As in modern Italy and in France under Louis XV., so at Rome the trees and shrubs were often cut into figures of animals, ships, letters, and grotesque forms (ars topiaria), so that the regular name for an ornamental gardener is topiarius. (Cf. Pliny, H. N. xvi. 140; xxi. 68; xxii. 76.) The principal flowers known to the ancients were the rose, violet, crocus, narcissus, lily, iris, poppy, amaranth, and gladiolus.

Conservatories with windows closed by specularia (windows of talc) are mentioned by the writers of the first century A.D. (Mart.viii. 14 and 68; Epist. 90; Pliny , Epist. ii. 17). Columella speaks of forcing-houses for grapes and melons. For flowers in private houses see Domus.

Ornamental gardens were called viridaria. The regular name for a gardener is cultor hortorum, vilicus, viridarius, and topiarius.

Hortus pensĭlis is a term meaning


1.

a hanging (i. e. terraced) garden (see Babylon); and


2.

a frame like our frames for melons and cucumbers, and used for forcing vegetables and fruits. See Pliny, H. N. xix. 64.

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