Gardening Nature, Gardening Knowledge: The Parallel Activities of Stabilizing Knowledge and Gardens in the Early Modern Period

  • Alette FleischerEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Trends in the History of Science book series (TRENDSHISTORYSCIENCE)


This chapter discusses how nature and knowledge were domesticated by the parallel activities of constructing early modern gardens and publishing botanical books. In both activities, students of nature collected botanical knowledge and plants to make them solid, mobile, reproducible, and combinable, in order to understand nature’s workings. Naturalists made exotic flora transportable by labeling and wrapping seeds and bulbs, plants and sapling so that they might safely arrive in the Low Countries. In Dutch gardens, the specimens were planted and domesticated, so unfamiliar flora could be admired and examined. Alternatively, plants were made immutable by being turned into pressed and dried specimens in herbaria or by being depicted and described in publications. As images in publications, exotic plants could circulate and be examined by botanists and amateurs elsewhere. Knowledge and plants, both made solid and mobile in books, helped in the formation of agreement about nomenclature and the early modern idea of nature’s workings. The stabilization and domestication of nature enabled producers and consumers to take power over local and exotic plants and make nature combinable and controllable.


Exotic Plant Late Eighteenth Century Naturalis Biodiversity British Library Estate Owner 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AmsterdamNetherlands

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