When the artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) created his garden Little Sparta in the Scottish Borders, the primary structure evolved as a series of groves. This unusual approach was led by his interest in revolutionary politics, war and classical history, which provided a rich basis for interrogation and reinvention of what a grove was. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. Despite their cultural and physical significance they have largely escaped critical examination. The book overcomes this lacuna, and for the first time provide a set of papers that cover various phases in the development of groves from ancient times to the present. It examines various types of evidence for Greek and Roman sacred groves, pictorial depictions in reliefs and painting, and the archaeologically examined remains of plantings in an attempt to understand the function, use, location and appearance of sacred groves in Classical antiquity.