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Monday, 23 March 2015


The peaceful hobby of King Merodach-Baladan II, who ruled Babylonia from  722 BC--710 BC, and 703 BC--702 BC was horticulture. In his royal gardens he cultivated sixty-four different species of plants.

King Merodach-Baladan II created the world’s first written dissertation on vegetable gardens, with explicit instructions concerning the cultivation of a long list of  spices and herbs including coriander, garlic, saffron and thyme.

Ruralia Commoda, a  manual written in Latin between 1304 and 1309 contains a host of great gardening tips - including advising readers that squash will bear fruit after nine days, but only if planted in the ashes of human bone and watered with oil.

Ruralia Commoda also suggests cucumbers shake with fear at the sound of thunder, and planting ingredients including a radish and lettuce seed inside a ball of goat manure will result in tasty lettuces.

A gardener at work, 1607

It wasn't until the mid 19th century that ornamental gardening on a domestic scale came in for the lower classes. Rockeries, heated conservatories and geometric displays of brightly colored bedding plants were to the Victorians what bedding and water features are today.

In Britain the idea of providing land on which poor families could grow their own vegetables goes back several centuries. In the late 19th century it became a statutory obligation on local authorities to make such plots available – a process culminating in the Allotments Act of 1908.

The world's first TV gardening program was broadcast by the BBC on November 21, 1936. In Your Garden was presented by Mr C.H. Middleton.

The number of allotments in Britain rose in World War I from 600,000 to 1.5 million, and there was a similar temporary increase in World War II.

Sources Radio Times, History World

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