(Source: Wikipedia, Botanical Garden) The history of botanical gardens is closely linked to the history of botany itself. The botanical gardens of the 16th and 17th centuries were medicinal gardens but the idea of a botanical garden changed to encompass displays of the beautiful, strange, new and sometimes economically important plant trophies being returned from the European colonies and other distant lands. Later,in the 18th century they became more educational in function, demonstrating the latest plant classification systems devised by botanists working in the associated herbaria as they tried to order these new treasures. Then, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the trend was towards a combination of specialist and eclectic collections demonstrating many aspects of both horticulture and botany.
Gardens of Ancient History:
Substantial gardens set aside for economic use or display, containing at least some plants gained by special collection or military campaigns abroad, are known from ancient Egypt, Assyria, and Mexico. In about 2800 BCE the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung sent collectors to distant regions searching for plants with economic or medicinal value.
Early medieval gardens in Islamic Spain resembled botanic gardens of the future an example being the 11th century Huerta del Ray garden of physician and author Ibn Wafid (999–1075 CE) in Toledo. This was later taken over by garden chronicler Ibn Bassal (fl. 1085 CE) until the Christian conquest in 1085 CE. Ibn Bassal then founded a garden in Seville, most of its plants being collected on a botanical expedition that included Morocco, Persia, Sicily and Egypt. The medical school of Montpelier was also founded by Spanish Arab physicians and by 1250 CE it included a physic garden but the site was not given botanic garden status until 1593. It has also been suggested that the Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica influenced the history of the botanical garden as gardens in Tenochtitlan, Nezahualcoyotl, Chalco and elsewhere greatly impressed the invaders as theAztecs knew many more medicinal plants than did the classical world of Europe.
Links related to Botanical Photography: A Botanic Garden