Botanical gardens are facilities that preserve and exhibit a wide variety of plants. They may also have research programs, such as an arboretum, or they may be simply a place to view plants in nature. These gardens exist primarily to showcase plants and their native habitats. Horticultural gardens, on the other hand, exist to help horticulturalists grow specific types of plants more successfully.
Horticulturalists specialize in growing particular kinds of plants for commercial use or for ornamental value. For example, many botanical gardens keep horticulturalists from breeding specific types of plants because keeping them stable is much easier than breeding new varieties that fit the needs of horticulturists. With that being said, both botanical gardens and horticultural gardens can be found all over the world with their purposes varying from location to location.
Here’s what distinguishes them:
What is a botanical garden?
A botanical garden is a facility that houses and displays plants from all parts of the world. While botanical gardens primarily exist to showcase plants and their native habitats, many also have research programs that study plant physiology, conservation, and horticulture. Botanical gardens may also include an extensive collection of specimen trees and shrubs that are used for scientific research and breeding programs.
While botanical gardens are found in many different areas of the world, most are located near large cities with a sizeable population. This is to take advantage of a large number of people interested in plants who would likely visit such a facility. Additionally, many botanical gardens are located near interesting natural habitats like forests, deserts, or mountains which make them a great place to learn about plants from all over the world.
What is a horticultural garden?
Horticultural gardens are primarily used to grow specific types of plants. These gardens are usually located in large agricultural areas where large numbers of people are employed in various agricultural fields. Horticultural gardens are often considered the lowest grade of agricultural production because they are used to grow specific crops like coffee, rubber, or cotton.
Some horticultural gardens, on the other hand, also grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers which is called mixed agriculture or horticulture. Although many people think of these gardens as simply places to grow certain types of crops, horticultural gardens are also used to experiment with new varieties of plants that are bred for specific uses.
For example, many horticultural gardens breed new varieties of apples with specific colors, sizes, and uses like making juice or cooking. Other horticultural gardens breed new varieties of sunflowers for farmers to harvest for oil production.
Differences between botanical gardens and horticultural gardens
- Purpose – Botanical gardens exist primarily to showcase plants and their native habitats, while horticultural gardens exist to help grow specific types of plants.
- Scale – Botanical gardens are found primarily in large urban areas and near large cities with a sizeable population. The majority of botanical gardens are located near large cities with a sizable population. Horticultural gardens are found in large agricultural areas where large numbers of people are employed in various agricultural fields.
- Accessibility – Botanical gardens are usually found in faraway areas of the world, whereas horticultural gardens are usually found in close proximity to a large population.
- Variety – Botanical gardens have a wide variety of plant species, whereas horticultural gardens tend to focus on a smaller selection of plants.
- Conservation – Botanical gardens try to preserve plants and their native habitats, whereas horticultural gardens focus mostly on producing profit for their owners.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon is a ruined ancient Mesopotamian city that consisted of two artificial hillside gardens. It is the oldest known man-made garden in history and was constructed around 5300 BC. It was built on a series of terraces on top of the Balikh River and was inhabited by Sumerians and Assyrians.
Today, the gardens are mostly just ruins, with only the main entrance, seven main steps, and a small section of the wall remaining. It is known as the “cradle of civilization” because it was where people developed many firsts, including writing, agriculture, and irrigation systems.
Japanese gardens and zen gardens
Japanese gardens are found throughout Asia and are typically made from porous, permeable, and/or decomposed stone. They typically contain elements like small waterfalls, streams, ponds, and streams and are held together by walls made from plants. Some garden owners grow their own plants, while others will purchase them from nurseries.
A Zen garden is typically created in a secluded, private area and is used for meditation and reflection. It contains the same water features found in Japanese gardens, as well as rocks, trees, shrubs, and flowers. These gardens typically only contain natural elements, so they are not constructed with any porous stone.
Botanical gardens and horticultural gardens are found all over the world, differing in purpose, scale, accessibility, and variety of plant species. Botanical gardens are typically found in faraway areas of the world, whereas horticultural gardens are located in close proximity to a large population. Botanical gardens tend to preserve plants and their native habitats, whereas horticultural gardens focus on growing specific types of plants for profit.