Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (9): 924-933.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017172

• On the Mandate of Botanical Gardens • Previous Articles     Next Articles

“Science, art and responsibility”: the scientific and social functional changes of a 500-year history of botanical gardens. I. Artistic appearance

Hongwen Huang*()   

  1. South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
  • Received:2017-06-10 Accepted:2017-09-02 Online:2017-09-20 Published:2017-10-04
  • Contact: Huang Hongwen


The modern botanical gardens that originated in mid-16th century with the rise of natural sciences and gardening arts during the late European renaissance, reached its heyday during the 18th century when Western colonizers explored, studied, collected, and spread plants all over the world. The 500-year history of botanical gardens is full of human curiosity through the exploration of the mysteries of nature and exotic plants, a gradual cognitive history of human exploration of nature, the use and transformation of nature, and harmonious coexistence with nature. This process in the history of humans begins in a chaotic and disordered plant kingdom and results in classified cognition. The paper attempts to analyze the progress of scientific research and the changes of social functions in the world of botanical gardens in the past 500 years from the dimensions of science and art, and uses history as a mirror to examine the future development and historic undertakings of Chinese botanical gardens. This article starts with artistic appearance to provide an overview of the 500-year development process of the world’s botanical gardens, while focusing on milestone events of the history in order to provide reference of thinking for Chinese botanical garden community.

Key words: botanical garden planning and design, garden art, landscape design, colonial agriculture, royal garden