One of the greatest challenges for garden historians is to understand how plants and, particularly, flowers were arranged in gardens. Plant lists exist from the very earliest periods, but advice on how to display and combine plants is very rare. It is usually through visual images – paintings, drawings, prints and eventually photographs -- that we can best determine how contemporaries expected to experience the horticultural pleasures of their gardens. It may be surprising to see how attitudes towards plants (and individual species) and their role in the aesthetics of the garden evolved from the Middle Ages to the present. An accurate understanding of planting is essential for anyone attempting to create a period garden. This is a lecture for plant lovers and conservationists alike.