The gardener: what he does
The gardener is the one who takes care of the cultivation of plants, generally for ornamental purposes. The activity can be practiced both as a hobby and as an actual professional activity; in recent times, moreover, a practice known as Garden Therapy is spreading, which essentially consists in choosing gardening as a socializing or rehabilitative activity in institutions or prisons. The gardener, therefore, takes care of the creation and maintenance of a garden, public or private, composed of ornamental plants but also of agricultural crops which, in certain areas characterized by favorable climatic conditions, can become features of ornamental gardening: just think of the olive trees used for decorative purposes or lemons, often grown on the balcony.
Garden maintenance and weed removal
The gardener has the task of dealing with maintenance on a regular and constant basis, both in greenhouses and outdoors, removing withered flowers, removing infesting weeds and taking care of diseases possibly caused by parasites, as well as regularly pruning branches and leaves so as to ensure a harmonious and balanced development of the plant (be it tree, bush, hedge, flower or shrub) from an aesthetic and functional point of view. In the context of the ecological garden, or of the natural garden, on the other hand, maintenance interventions should be limited to the minimum terms, so that the area is accessible and easily accessible, also to favor the balance with lawns and hedges that they are intrinsically unstable. The gardener deals, moreover, with the multiplication of plants, which can take place by grafting, layering, cutting, offshoots, division of rhizomes, bulbs, tubers and stolons, and finally sowing. More and more often, in recent times, he also has the task of designing gardens, according to the art of garden design, halfway between botany, gardening, design and architecture.
The history of the gardener: from ancient Egypt to Greece, passing between Persians and Babylonians
As far as the cultivation of plants for food purposes goes back to the most ancient times, the gardener as curator of an ornamental garden makes its appearance, according to the historical evidence available, in 1500 BC in Egypt. But there is no lack of testimonies in this sense also among the Persians and Babylonians (even the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were inserted between the Seven Wonders of the World), and later in ancient Greece.
The Italian garden, the French and English gardens
As far as our country is concerned, it is in the fifteenth century that the conception of an Italian garden spread according to an architectural and decorative meaning. If we think of the garden of Castello di Firenze, we can observe how the typical topiary of the Renaissance gives rise to panoramic effects of great visual impact: for example, avenues are used as perspective axes, between terraces and hanging gardens .
Equally famous is the French garden, which differs from the Italian garden essentially due to the absence of terracing, obviously due to the purely flat conformation of the soil beyond the Alps. There are also gentle slopes, in combination with very wide perspective views and the parterre de broderie, ie embroideries made with sands of different colors (beige, yellow, red and white) on the flower beds, with small hedges, usually of boxwood dwarf. Also well known are the English gardens, developed in the land of Albione starting from the eighteenth century. It is a completely different concept than the Italian one, in the sense that it is based on the creation of a territory that wants to appear as natural, even left to chance, rather savage. The topiary was abolished, groves, terraces, canals and flowerbeds disappeared, to make room, instead, for slight slopes, streams, small groups of trees, small lakes in which fake Gothic ruins were reflected. In essence, we talk about landscaping, wanting to indicate with this term the desire to mix landscape and garden.
The Japanese garden
The Japanese garden, known as Nihon teien, deserves a special mention: a traditional environment characterized by miniature landscapes, sometimes realized in a stylized, very abstract manner. Just think of the Tsubo-niwa, small gardens located in courtyards, or Roji, characterized by a rustic touch, complete with a tea house where cha no yu goes on stage. The karesansui, on the other hand, are zen, rocky gardens, where the water is replaced by white sand, while composite landscapes constitute the kaiyu-shiki-teien. In short, the Japanese garden is aimed at recreating a visual and aesthetic pleasure, with notable Chinese influences.
An art and a profession
As can be noted, in short, even from the historical point of view that of the gardener, as well as a profession, it is a real art, which presupposes knowing how to combine aesthetics and functionality, visual impact and practicality. Essentially, the gardener's task is to create, grow, develop in a harmonious way and keep the plants (hedges, trees, shrubs, bushes, creepers, flowerbeds, etc.), but also to recreate natural environments with signs. of harmony and balance: green spaces in which it is possible to live, relax and breathe.