The woman-garden binomial has traditionally been expression of women’s privileged and incessant relationship with nature: think of the loving care that women put into domestic gardens and the cultivation of flowers.
A milestone along this pathway was placed in the 18th century, when many women used to host cultural salons in which gardens became a fashionable subject, starting a trend that continued to grow during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many women ventured into the world of gardening, studying botanical sciences and then trying their hand working on site. Botanical discoveries, systematic research being carried out and the spread of exotic species stimulated women’s interest for gardens: plants and flowers became privileged cultural tropes among the upper middle class and nouveau riche milieus.
Gardens became intimate places where women could grow rare and less-rare plants and flowers arranged according to their personal taste. Gardens became unique contexts blending artistic, scientific and practical skills. In parallel, botanical books and publications intended for a female audience with practical gardening tips became widespread.