The aesthetic use of plants is a unique feature of horticulture which is also distinguishing it from other agricultural activities. The need to bring the attention of people and governments to the importance of maintaining the biodiversity of planet Earth and also ensuring that the on-coming generations inherit a cleaner, greener, more ecologically sustainable world cannot be overemphasized, and horticulturist have worked towards this goal by enhancing the beauty and quality of our surroundings. The urbanized environment, where 95 % of the world population lives, is a place plagued with excessive traffic, air and water pollution and the lack of open space, have destroyed natural diversity and beauty and thus, demand for massive increase in greenery and beautification for environmental restoration and protection. The functional and aesthetic interaction of people, building and site, using plants and space as its main tools is very important in solving environmental problems. In Nigeria for example the role of horticulture as a feasible means of improving urban green space, aesthetics and improvement of the built environment can be attested to through the growth of the green industry, persistent campaigns for more green spaces in the built environment and desire of the concerned government and public for developing sustainable landscapes that: beautify the environment; increase the diversity of plant and animal species; conserve water; reduce runoff and generally enrich the environment and people’s lives. This increased interest in green spaces in modern cities ensured that government and urban planners now not only perceive horticulture as a means to urban development and aesthetics of the environment, but as one of the strategies to achieving green revolution in man’s environment, and in urban centres. Hence, there is a need for policies that supports horticulture as a tool in city building and development. This paper therefore examined the significance of horticulture in environmental aesthetics and management of the landscape.
To understand and justify this broadened definition of horticulture, we must look at the research of individuals from a number of different disciplines — environmental psychology, landscape architecture, social ecology, anthropology, sociology, geography, communications and forestry, as well as horticulture.
Most of the relevant studies have been conducted to understand peoples’ responses to and need for natural versus urban or man-made environments. While many people take the terms nature or natural to imply total lack of interference by man, in most developed countries, it is impossible to identify such an environment. Even our wilderness areas have been influenced by forestry activities, man-made fires (or the man-controlled fires), access roads and physical amenities supplied for recreational pursuits. Researchers reporting on the role of nature or nearby nature in influencing people are most often referring to vegetation; however, water and non-domesticated animals also may play a role. The vegetation included in the term `near-by nature’ may take the form of a rosebud in a vase, a backyard garden, a street tree planting, a neighbourhood park, a planted atrium or fields and woods (Kaplan, 1992). In discussing the diverse research showing that people overwhelmingly prefer `nature’ scenes to urban and built environments, Zadik (1985) explains “people seem to respond to environments as natural if the areas are predominantly vegetation and do not contain human artifacts such as roads or buildings.” The fact that an environment under study is a well-maintained, designed landscape does not seem to alter the application of the term `natural’ to the scene.
The garden throughout the history and tradition of Western Civilization has served as a pivotal location for change — the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, the monastic gardens leading into the Renaissance. If indeed, the garden does play a vital role in the `grand scheme of things’, then horticulturists, as keepers of the garden, need to begin to try to understand the meaning of the garden to people.
Ornamental and landscape horticulture is the maintenance and design of home grounds, public gardens and parks, private estates, botanical gardens, and recreational areas such as golf courses, football fields, and baseball diamonds
Environmental horticulture referred to as ornamental horticulture is the study of horticulture for aesthetics, improvement of quality of life and our environment, and for functional uses, such as energy conservation, pollution amelioration, oxygen production and security
In Nigeria, horticulture has not been formally recognized or promoted as a feasible means of improving urban green space, aesthetics or of increasing employment opportunities of urban agriculturalists. The neglect of environmental beautification planning across the nation, lack of public awareness on environmental management which, many of the ornamental plants have an inherent ability to handle has resulted in continuous environmental degradation which could be attributed to population pressure resulting in disharmony between human activities and the environment. This paper therefore seeks to review the use of ornamental plants in environmental aesthetics and management of the landscape.
The review was a general narrative review type which was based on selected, specific and related studies to the review topic ;Significant role of horticulture in environmental aesthetics and management, and are compared and summarized on the basis of the experience, existing views, existing theories and ideology. Results are based on a qualitative rather than a quantitative level.
2.1 Method of review
The issue review method was used in this studied by investigating the significant role of horticulture in environmental aesthetics and management in terms of its environmental benefits, social advantages and human health and also determining its present status in Nigeria as case study, as there fewer detailed reviews on the untapped benefits of horticulture in Nigeria.
2.2 How it was conducted
The steps and stages involved in the preparation of this review involves the following
The descriptive type of abstract was used in writing the abstract.
The introduction was written based on the subject background i.e. the general topic, issue, area of concern was also given to illustrate the context i.e. the significant roles of horticulture in Nigeria and its potentials in environmental and economic development. The Problems were also highlighted i.e. Trends, new perspectives, gaps, contrary ideas. Then the justification which gave reason for reviewing the literature and the approach were described.
Full preparation of article was done through narrowing of the topic; defining a few research questions like: what is horticulture?, what is aesthetic and environmental management?, what relationship does horticulture has with environment and aesthetic?, and what role does horticulture plays in the environment.
The search for literature sources was done using specific key words, the topic and research questions during the search read.
Evaluation, classification and extraction of related information based on the focus study was made and notes were formed.
A chronological outline structure was developed and headings for the sections in the text body was made find headings for the sections in the text body.
The planning of the content of the paragraphs was made in the sections.
The final drafting of the abstract, introduction, results sections, conclusion, and references were made.