National Geographic : 1947 Jul
The World inYour Garden w.11.uamp With Botanical Specimens, the Author's Party Returns from Explorations inMexico The search for newornamental flowers has been going on for thousands ofyears. Here an expedition is returning from Zempoaltepec toOaxaca, itspack animals laden with living plants and seed ofpossible new garden species. Dr. Camp, aplant explorer on the staff ofthe New York Botanical Garden, has traveled widely, searching for ornamental and economic materials, especially for relatives ofthe rhododendron and blueberries. Euphrates.* Yet the Sumerians and Akka dians certainly musthave had gardens. There were peoples such asthe Elamites, whose principal city was Susa, destined under the later Persians to become afamous horticul tural center and thesource of many of our garden decoratives (for example, Crocus susianus and Iris susiana). Itwas inSusa (called Shushan in the first chapter ofthe Book of Esther) thatKing Ahasuerus held a garden party that lasted 180days. One Assyrian king, Sennacherib, left us writings telling at great length ofhis gardens of plants they contained which were more fruit ful than in their native homes, ofthe many places he had sentexpeditions toget the plants, and of his extensive irrigation systems, and of the many garden pools hebuilt. His grandson Assurbanipal, who reigned in the seventh century B.c.,left us afine setof carvings on the wallsofthe north palace at Kuyunjik which tellus much about the As syrian garden of hisday. In the history ofgardening, the reign of Assurbanipal is important, for itwas hewho pushed the AssyrianEmpire into Egypt. Thus, for the first time the peoples ofthe regions ofthe Tigris and Euphrates came into close contact with the Egyptians and the Egyptian garden (page 8).Prior tothis, the gardens ofthe region had been planted inaninformal, more orless haphazard manner. The Egyptian garden was planted inageometric pattern. And thus the formal type ofplanting came tothis old Mesopotamian garden center. Because of anincreasing aridity inthe region, irrigation was becoming more and more necessary. This brought asystem ofhillside, terrace farming. When incorporated into ornamental and pleasure gardening, itwas called the "hanging garden." Inreality, these hanging gardens were series ofterraces, their outer edges supported bypillars. Sometimes the pillars were ofbrick, and hollow sothat they might befilled with earth and thus accommodate the roots oflarge trees. *See, inthe NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "New Light on Ancient Ur," by M. E.L.Mallowan, Janu ary, 1930; "Archeology, the Mirror ofthe Ages," byC.Leonard Woolley, August, 1928; "Cradle ofCivili zation," by James Baikie, February, 1916; and "Push ing Back History's Horizon," by Albert T.Clay, February, 1916.