Monday, 22 June 2015

British Gardens during the Roman Years

To get a good picture of Romano-British gardens of antiquity, we must consider their prototypes in Italy. Horticulture in primitive Italy, as in other countries, was at its beginning merely intended for practical purposes. Gradually the Latin word hortus, applied in the days of republican simplicity to a field of vegetables, was stretched, at the time of the luxurious emperors, to denote pleasure gardens of the utmost magnificence. In this latter period, the source of every new form of Roman art, including garden architecture, was Greece, which in its turn had received inspiration from Egypt, Persia, and Assyria.

Egyptian gardens are the earliest of which definite records still exist. Pictures and inscriptions, dating far back into the centuries before Christ, show that most Egyptian dwellings were built around a series of courtyards containing vegetation both useful and ornamental. Originally, a row of trees along the inner wall of the building shaded it and the enclosed quadrangle. Later, the tree trunks gave place to solid columns, and the overhanging branches to projecting rafters, which resulted in a general effect foreshadowing the Greek peristyle (columned porch or colonnade) and monastic cloisters.

Religious significance was attached to almost every feature in pre-Christian gardens, and tree worship was observed in all ancient countries. Among the favorites were the pine, the emblem of Cybele, the oak of Jupiter, the laurel of Apollo, the myrtle of Venus, the poplar of Hercules, and the olive of Minerva. The cypress was also grown in many places. Yew, although common, was not much esteemed; instead, juniper and rosemary were often employed for topiary work.   Box, too, was frequently clipped, and then, as now, considered the best shrub for edgings.

The rose, the lily, and the violet were among the most distinguished flowers of antiquity, but the narcissus, anemone, gladiolus, iris, poppy, amaranth, immortelle, verbena, periwinkle, and crocus were also cultivated and admired. Many flowerless plants like basil, sweet marjoram, and thyme were grown for their fragrance, while the acanthus was welcome on account of its beautiful foliage. Ivy covered the walls or was trained to form garlands between trees and columns.

Comments if any kindly share with us at Boyce Agro is a leading exporter of cocopeat and garden supplies.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Wimbledon and strawberries - An untold Story

With Wimbledon 2015 just around the corner (29th June 2015) our thoughts don't just turn to the tennis and the manicured courts. But also the red succulent strawberry.  With 8600 punnets containing 10 strawberries are expected to be sold each day over the two week tournament. Strawberries are synonymous with this annual fortnight.
It is one of the most popular 'fruits' in the world. There are more than 10 species that differ in flavour, size and texture, yet all have the same heart shaped , red flesh and seeded coat. But did you know the strawberry is actually not a fruit. It is in fact a member of the rose family.
Strawberries have a long history and date back to the Roman times. Native to many parts of the world. Hundreds of varieties exist to cross breeding techniques.
In 1714 a French engineer commissioned to Chile and Peru saw that the strawberry native to those regions was much larger than those in Europe. He brought back a sample to cultivate in France. The end result was our sweet hybrid garden strawberry.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and K also providing fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion, and the fibre is thought to have satiating effect. Their leaves can also be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea.
The vibrant red colour of strawberries is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin. This means they contain powerful antioxidants and thought to protect against inflammatory cancer and heart disease.
The even better news is that strawberries can easily be grown in coco peat grow bags and you can get a good crop of tasty fruit from the smallest garden or patio, or even a sunny balcony.
But finally just a word of warning....go easy on the fresh cream topping.

Enjoy the tennis and love the strawberries.  But bring your brolly!