The Roman Book of Gardening
Routledge – 2004 – 168 pages
The first book to look at this particular subject, The Roman Book of Gardening brings together an extraordinarily varied selection of texts on Roman horticulture, celebrating herb and vegetable gardening in verse and prose spanning five centuries.
In vivid new translations by John Henderson, Virgil's Georgics stand alongside neglected works by Columella, Pliny and Palladius, bringing to life the techniques and obstacles, delights and exasperations of the Roman gardener. We also hear of the digging, hoeing, planting and weeding which then, as now, went into creating the perfect garden.
This is a timely and valuable contribution to our understanding of gardening history, Roman culture and Latin literature.
'This wonderful collection of horticultural writings from classical authors such as Palladius, Pliny and, of course, Virgil offers much more than tongue-twisting titles for hardy perennials.' - BBC History Magazine
'This is a book which will rest well on the shelves of teachers and their school library. It complements previous archaeological works on the design of gardens and their role in the domestic economy by presenting us with a vivid translation of the ancient Romans' own "experts".' - The Journal of Classics Teaching
'The [book] can be exciting, entertaining, or aggravating, but [is] always
informative … a valuable addition to ancient garden studies and to the study of the interaction between Roman culture and environment.' - BMCR
List of Illustrations Note on the Text Preface: Preparing the Ground Introduction: Reserving a Plot: From Virgil, Georgic Four 1. Produce in Prose: From Columella 11 2. Flowery Cerse: Columella 10 3. Nature's Miracles in Pliny's Encyclopaedia 4. A Year in the Garden with Palladius Notes: Tying up Loose Ends Further Reading: Where Next Date Chart: As and When Indexes: Names and Varieties Plants (English Names; Latin Names General Topics
John Henderson has taught Classics at Cambrdige since 1975. He has written many books and essays on Latin literature and Classics, including Classics: A Very Short Introduction (with Mary Beard).