The sacred garden situated amid desert wastes is perhaps the oldest story ever told. As a theme, it goes back to the ancient Sumerians. It recurs in the mythic stories of the Old Testament, ancient Babylon, and the Islamic world. From the Persian 'charbagh', to the Garden of Eden, and to the sublime architecture of the mosque, the intersection of water, gardens and desert has been central to Middle Eastern spiritual and artistic traditions. This talk follows this motif from the ancient world through to the great architecture of Classical Islam.