Fresco, House of Livia, Prima Porta, 1st Century B.C. 

Fresco, House of Livia, Prima Porta, 1st Century B.C. 

In 2014, I took a course while studying abroad in Italy on Tuscan gardens. To date, this was the hardest, most rewarding course I have experienced.  People have created gardens across the world and throughout time, and these spaces have been an essential part of the human experience.  Gardens such as Eden, are rooted in religious context, to this day, regarded as sacred. Gardens are also a key element in some of the best-known myths. One of the Labors of Hercules required the hero to steal, from a place on the far edge of the world called the Garden of the Hesperides, the golden apples that the goddess Hera had given to her husband Zeus as a wedding present. The palaces of the ancient Near East are known to have spectacular gardens, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, whose precise location is still unknown.

The heady scent of hyacinths. Leaves unfurling. Buds in bloom. I really wish I could keep plants alive. 

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