The History of Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens are not merely a garden devoted to the cultivation and collection of a broad range of trees and plants, on display for you to learn their botanical names and features. They offer the visitor tranquility in a natural environment. To enjoy a picnic with the family, visit an art expedition, enjoy musical performances, host your wedding, or just to give you moment of breaking free from your rushed life. For the plant and bird lovers, botanical gardens are a great escape to observe species, which you may never have encountered before. These gardens embrace plant collections, which are specialist plants, such a cacti, and succulent plants, as well as flora from particular parts of the world. You may find herb gardens, tropical plants, exotic plants or alpine plants. There may be shade houses, or greenhouses to visit. Numerous botanical gardens offer tours, which you can attend it you wish to extend your knowledge on this flourishing topic. The purpose and primary role of these gardens are to preserve recorded collections of living plants. Purely for the dedication to conservation, education, scientific research, and display, though it is, determine by the means available as well as the particular interests followed in every individual garden.


Above: The Hedge Maze at the St Louis botanical gardens.

The upkeep and maintenance for these gardens are commonly the responsibility of scientific research administrations or universities, with the association of some feature of botanical science, including research programs on plant taxonomy. The modern botanical gardens originate from the European old-fashioned medicine physic gardens, of which the first was set up in the 16th century, during the Italian Renaissance. At first people were interested in the medicinal effect of plants, however, this changed to an interest during the 17th century, and botany steadily launched its objectivity from medicine. During the 18th century botanists invented classifications and cataloging, while working in the herbaria and universities increasingly began maintaining the gardens. In botany, a herbarium is an assortment of conserved plant specimens. These samplings may well be complete plants or plant portions. Typically in a parched format, mounted on a page, but then again dependent upon the substance the preservation is possible in alcohol or alternative preservative. The similar terminology frequents mycology to define a corresponding assortment of preserved fungi.

Gardens of ancient history

Gardens with their roots in the Italian Renaissance still exist today. The University of Pisa now operates the first botanical garden, established by botanist Luca Ghini in 1544, and relocated twice in 47 years, Orto Botanico di Pisa. Since the primary eras, the garden has enclosed a Galleria of natural objects as well as a library. It also embraces one of the original iron-framed hothouses fabricated in Italy. The garden contains sections allocated to the gardens, greenhouses, a botanical school, and beautiful ponds. Included in the collections on view, you will find the original old Botany Institute, built 1591–1595. During 1545, the Orto Botanico di Padova, as well as the Orto Botanico di Firenze originated, and 1558 delivered Orto Botanico dell Università di, Pavia. During 1568 Orto Botanico dell Università di, Bologna became an addition to the Southern Europe gardens, all associated with medicine faculties of the universities. These gardens, all situated in Northern Italy, used to facilitate the physicians in delivering lectures on the Mediterranean plants cultivated in the grounds. These gardens are all highly rated by Trip Advisor, and Orto Botanico di Padova received the Certificate of Excellence. The custom of the Italian gardens spread to Northern Europe and in 1567 the Botanical Garden of Valencia set it roots in Spain. For approximately two centuries, the garden nurtured medical plants to aid medical studies, until its relocation in 1802. During the 19th century, it symbolizes botanical studies, as well as acclimatization experimentations on agricultural plants. After restoring the garden from 1987 to 2000, the garden specializes conservation of the rare, and endangered classes of the Mediterranean, research in diversity, as well as the preservation of natural habitats.


Netherlands followed suit and established the Hortus Botanicus Leiden in 1587 and in 1638 the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam, which receive support from the local community, and not one university. The Palm House dating back to 1912 is monumental and renowned for the unique collection of cycads. The garden offers the use of two halls to the community to use for memorable ceremonies and conferences, in the tranquil ambiance of more than 6000 indigenous and tropical trees and plants.

Germany became the proud owner of no less than seven botanical gardens dating from 1553 to 1672. The Berlin Botanical Garden was designed, fashioned and completed between 1897 and 1910. Offering the visitor an assortment of 22,000 kinds of flora places the garden among the most outstanding botanical collections globally. The exhibition expanse permits visitors to experience and appreciate plants in their geographical backgrounds. With the widespread of floral available, this garden is a highlight in all seasons and is not limited for delight purely to the summer. Switzerland gave home to the Old Botanical Garden in Zürich during 1560 and the Basel in 1589. England established the University of Oxford Botanic Garden in 1621 and became the parent of the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1673. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland originated during the 17th century, a typical physic garden, nurturing medical flora, being the size of a tennis court. The original garden location was in the St Anne’s Yard, which is part of the Holy Rood Palace grounds. Since then the garden extended to four sites, sanctioning the garden to the second wealthiest collection of plant life globally. With the support of public funding and the backing of ENFOR, the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate, the mission and responsibility of the Garden finds its groundwork in the National Heritage Act of Scotland. Devoted to the discovery and knowledge of plants and their relations, growth, preservation and biology, the Garden is primarily a scientific endeavor. Reinforcing the research is the significant international assemblages of preserved and living plant life, a large dedicated library and state of the art equipped laboratories. In addition to the scientific significance, the gardens are a key tourist attraction within Scotland, offering the visitor stimulus and relaxation. The Edinburgh grounds embrace the world-renowned Rock Garden, large Glasshouses, woodland gardens, as well as numeral specialist assortment of plants, including the Chinese Hillside. The Benmore and Dawyck locations host a wide variety of plant life, associated with the climate found in these sites. Logan is consider the furthermost exotic garden in Scotland. The subtropical climate affords idyllic growing surroundings for plants from the Southern Hemisphere. Continuous education is a central to the work performed in the garden, embracing the casual visitor, young and old, to the dedicated botany students. France delivered the renowned Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier in 1593, developed according to the requirements of King Henri IV. Followed by the Faculty of Medicine Garden, Paris in 1597 and the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris, was established 40 years after the Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier, following a similar layout.

Early development of botanical science

Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, the Western European gardens developed with plants imported from Eastern Europe and Asia, providing substantial study material to the plant specialists. Asia was a productive supplier of plant bulbs and supplemented the breeding of the Dutch Tulip. With the broad range of new plant species, botany progressively affirmed its individuality from medicine. The Jardin des Plantes in Paris became a major public attraction during the 17th century, with the highest quantity of unique species in the garden.

The Apothecaries’ Garden, or Chelsea Physic Garden, in England, opened in 1673 with the explicit purpose to train apprentices in the identifications of plants. The garden plays a major role in educating the public on natural medicine. Britain’s Ethno Botany Garden, The Garden of World Medicine, specializes in the study of botany within diverse cultural groups, and received a fresh addition with the Pharmaceutical Garden. The proximity to the river played a crucial role in the location of the garden four centuries ago. It provides a warmer micro-climate, permitting the persistence of numerous non-native flora, allowing the plants to endure the severe British winters. One of the primary objectives of the garden was to foster professional communication with specialists in the same field. During the 17 century, it introduced a transnational botanical seed exchange program, which is still in continuance in current times. The construction of the rock pond garden, completed in 1773, compromises stones originating from the Tower of London, fused bricks, Icelandic Lava, and flint, and it the most ancient rock garden in Britain available to the public. It is the belief that the greenhouse concept originates from this botanic garden. The 18th century marked several new introductions from the Cape of South Africa, including Geraniums, the Protea species, Pelargoniums, and numeral succulents. The era also marked an explosion in the number of conservatories.

Famous botanical gardens

For the diligent gardener, a holiday during the budding season is the most challenging event, for the fear of insect invasion and plants drying out always remains as a thought in the back of your mind. However, a visit to one of the numeral botanic gardens may just provide you with the break you desperately require, and inspire you to innovative and be creative in your gardening when you return home.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London unlocked its gates in 1759, housing the world's largest collection of plant life. The garden has access to 30,000 diverse existing specimens, with approximately seven million conserved in its herbarium. The sixty-foot high glass Palm House is an enormous greenhouse occupied by a significant diverse species of palms and tropical plants. Initially constructed in the 18th century, it now has an elevated walkway that permits guests to view the jungle canopy. Admission to the garden also allows you entrance to the extravagant Victorian period gardens, as well as curios such as the climate regulated Alpine House for high altitude plants.

A tropical paradise of 145 hectares in Rio de Janeiro, the Jardim Botanico, founded in 1808, is located at the foot of the Corcovado Mountain. With the renowned Christ the Redeemer statue casting its shadow over the garden, it is the habitat of numeral species of semi-tamed tropical birds. With the initial focus on rare palms, carnivorous plants, orchid bromeliads, and treasured spice trees, it now is home to over 6,000 tropical species, including a number of Amazonian species.

The cherry tree fairyland in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden contains 200 specimens, which explode in pink and white blossoms during spring. The 52 acre garden is now acentury old and is perhaps the most famous garden in the USA. It provides the guest with several thematic avenues specializing in specimens such as fragrant plants, roses, native species, as well as Japanese garden structures.

Australia’s Royal Botanic Gardens blossomed roughly two centuries ago on the first farm owned by the British Realm in Australia, next to the Opera House in Sydney. The gardens are legendary for its camellia garden, the rain forest collection, and the begonia collection, displaying Australian flora at its best.

The Montreal Botanical Garden has a vast greenhouse complex which is open all year and hosts the Butterflies Go Free carnival in late winter. At 190 acres the facility accommodates the nation’s biggest assortment of botanical specimens, approximately 22,000 species and focuses mainly on the preservation of endangered species. There is also an insectarium which accommodates the largest range of insect species within Northern America.

Singapore originated as a base for the international spice trade that provided the European probe of Asia centuries ago. Like the Jardim Botanico, in Rio de Janeiro, this botanical garden opened in 1822 as a test environment for highly valued tropical crops. This world famous botanic garden initiated the innovation of the rubber tree industry in 1870, resulting in the emerging of Singapore as an economic power. The garden now provides accommodations to one of the world’s greatest assortments of tropical birds. An outstanding feature of this garden is the ginger garden which features 100 species of the ginger family.

The South African Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, is situated at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town and is 528 hectares in size. It embraces pelargonium, Ericas, Proteas, the bird-of-paradise, and cycads. With the history of the Dutch community in the region, it contains some of the wild almond shrubbery established throughout the region in 1660.

The botanical gardens of Versailles are 800 hectares of landscaping, establishing it as the leading and most visited garden worldwide. With exhibitions of potted citrus species, bulb plantings, and containing valuable tulip varieties and elaborate topiary, these gardens are suitable for royalty. As intriguing as the gardens are, the architectural features are lavish, embracing the Louis the 14th’s palace, a myriad of fountains, a grand canal, and statues.

A global legacy of botanical treasures

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, community and public gardens were built all over Europe and Britain. These were mainly pleasure gardens with few scientific programs. Since 1970, there has been a revival in the botanical gardens once again becoming scientific establishments because of the development of the conservation movement. Their importance has changed and is now focused on the preservation of endangered species.


There are 1775 botanic gardens, as well as arboreta, available in 148 countries globally. Several more are under construction or scheduled to be built, for example, the botanic garden in Oman, which promises to be one of the biggest in the world, also accommodating the first large scale fog-forest in a vast glasshouse.


Deprived of plant conservation, the equilibrium in nature may find itself irreparably damaged. The focus is no longer on the gathering of rare species but about the safeguarding of their ecological habitats. Because of recent pioneering efforts in several remote regions, particularly the tropical rain forests canopies, scientists realize how much more they need to know about the diversity and interdependencies of the flora and fauna. Botanical gardens are one of the places that this diversity is protected and celebrated.


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