There are people who have laid the path before us, those who, from the first days in the first garden, started to learn and write down the things that mattered. These are the people who we today owe a debt of gratitude for their never ending efforts to spread the knowledge and growing of plants to everyone - everywhere.
(Editor's Note:This article was originally published on October 7, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may nto be able to respond to your questions.)
Theophrastus 371 - 287 BC
Theophrastus detected the process of germination and realized the importance of climate and soil to plants. He also wrote the first two series of books - clocking in at 10 and 8 volumes each on the plants he knew about. He was the first person to talk about the plants found in Asia, using first hand accounts from people coming back from the Alexander campaigns. Image is in Public Domain.
Lucius Licinius Lucullus 118-56 BC
Lucius built the most stunning and amazing collection of plants in his world. Spending a vast amount of the Roman Empire's fortune this man was the ultimate collector with the power of Rome behind him. The gardens still stand in part. The Villa Borghese gardens near the Spanish Steps in Rome cover 17 of the original, rumored to be, 100 acres. No image could be found.
Caius Plinius Secundus, AD 23 - August 24, AD 79
This great man wrote the book Naturalis Historia, a huge collection of books that is the forerunner of all those huge and bulky plant encyclopedias. Finished sometime in 77AD, he had little time to enjoy the book as he died in the volcanic eruption that took out Pompeii. This volume not only covered plants but everything living, and fills 37 huge books. Only books XII-XXVII have anything to do with plants and gardening--still a lot to read and work through. Image is in Public Domain.
John Tradescant the elder 1570s - 15/16 April, 1638
John Trandescant was a very famous and worthwhile gardener of his day. He undertook many travels into parts of Europe to gather and bring to England new and exciting plants. He was also the first to bring to England plants from the American Colonies. From his gardens in London he, and later his son, filled the English gardens with many new and exciting plants. He is worth note for his many travels and the introduction of new plants to Europe. He is also noted for being among the first English gardeners to find value in the native plants of the Americas. Image is in the Public Domain.
Charles de l'Écluse February 19, 1526 - April 4, 1609
This man is the single most important influence to the modern botanist. He is the foremost pioneer in botany in an era when plants were not thought much about. He helped create one of the earliest formal botanical gardens of Europe at Leyden, the Hortus Academicus, and his detailed planting lists have made it possible to recreate his garden near where it originally lay.# Image is in the Public Domain.
André Le Nôtre March 12, 1613 - September 15, 1700
André was the foremost landscape gardener of his time. With a family tree rich in gardening, he took on the world's most famous gardens with a mathematicians touch--the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.This crowning achievement is still looked at for inspiration for gardeners all over the world to this day. Image in Public Domain.