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Martyn Rix introduces a special issue devoted to Turkey’s horticultural heritage, from the splash of the urban window box to the splendour of a mountain hillside
The debt north European gardens owe to Turkey is far greater than most gardeners realise. Botanists have long been fascinated by Turkey, with its unique mix of Mediterranean and Caicasian plants and spicing of influence from Central Asia. Turkish gradeners of today have a unique heritage waiting to be revived.
In the fifteenth century Mehmet the Conqueror made known his appreciation of flowers: a miniature in the Topkapı shows him sniffing a red rose, recognisable as the Red Damask, Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis’.
Martyn Rix is the editor of Curtis’s Botanical Journal. His articles in Cornucopia Issues 29 and 31 explore the flora of the Taurus Mountains
SPECIAL OFFER: order three beautiful garden-themed issues, including this one, for only £45. List price £67
In Mürefte on the Sea of Marmara, village women still take to the fields each summer to collect just seven different herbs, with which they produce a ritual dish. If they eat it before the first thunderstorms, they believe, they will have immunity from illness for a whole year.
More cookery features
In its heyday the Istanbul tulip was the most fashionable of flowers. Turhan Baytop turns the pages of a priceless 1725 tulip album
The Seljuk sultans who fell in love with Alanya and tamed its wild hillsides in the thirteenth century left a legacy of walled gardens and verdant terraces that is only now being rediscovered. By Scott Redford with photographs by Sigurd Kranendonk and Astrid von Schell.
The truly intoxicating rhododendrons of northeast Turkey. The most famous victims to fall under its spell were Xenophon’s luckless men on their return from the Persian expedition. Text and photographs by Andrew Byfield.
Festooned with flowers, the brilliantly painted tiles of Rustem Pasha Mosque form a glazed garden of infinite variety. John Carswell discovers in them the hand of genius that gave birth to classical Iznik design. Photographs by Simon Upton
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