Our box-hedges are reminiscent of those at Fishbourne (see opposite), and the Roman writer Pliny describes in some detail how his borders are surrounded by box (sometimes interspersed with the herb rosemary) and how his box hedges are clipped into different shapes.
Pliny's letters II.17 and V.6 describe his gardens at Laurentum and Tuscany.
Malcolm is admiring our roses and poppies - roses were brought to Britain by the Romans, and authors such as Virgil and Catullus write about poppies. Virgil particularly likes the effect of roses intermingling with lilies.
One of my favourite poems by Virgil describes, with extremely intricate word-order, the beauty of plants growing together in glorious profusion.
These are his plants - climbing ivy, cyclamen at the front with its deep pink flowers, colocasia and acanthus, the leaves of which decorate Corinthian capitals.
I love our foxgloves, and Virgil writes in his Eclogues of 'foxgloves in every dell'.
The feathery foliage above my head is the tamarisk - mentioned by Virgil in his Eclogues, or country poems.
Next to it, on the left, is an orangeblossom, Philadelphus, carried by Roman brides.
Malcolm is here examining our minuscule grapes - I doubt if we will have a wonderful vintage this year!
The Romans brought many herbs to Britain and used them in cookery. This is a view of the reconstructed Roman garden at Corinium museum in Cirencester.
Jenny is cutting some of the broad-leafed parsley we sowed last year from seeds supplied by "Seeds of Italy", who specialise in supplying ancient Roman varieties of vegetables and herbs.
Felicity has used the parsley to make a crown, just as the Romans would have done, and she is now ready to go to a party!
article on Roman gardening plants from mythology
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