Like all the Elders of the Universe, the Gardener's origin is lost in antiquity. Although, it is known that he is among the oldest living beings in the universe, having been a member of one of the first races of the universe to become sentient in the wake of the Big Bang. Virtually immortal, the Gardener has devoted his life to the creating of natural beauty by sowing the seeds of plants, flowers, and trees upon barren or devastated worlds. The number of worlds he has turned into fertile planet-wide gardens over the eons was countless. He has amassed a knowledge of botany second to none and has collected billions of different seeds in his travels. Using his advanced cultivation techniques, he can cover a barren Earth-size planet with lush vegetation in the space of a year.
In recent millennia, the Gardener acquired a Soul-Gem, an alien artifact the enabled its possessor the ability to transform cosmic energy for personal use. The Gardener employed it to stimulate the growth of his seeds beyond their normal rate and to traverse space without a starship. Recently, the Gardener used his Soul-Gem's power to combat the Stranger, another powerful extraterrestrial possessing a Soul-Gem. Believing that he "corrupted" the gem by its use as a weapon, the Gardener abandoned it. Later, the Garden replaced his Soul-Gem with the gem that was once worn by the golden Earth-being Adam Warlock. Warlock's frequent employment of the gem as a weapon did not matter to the Gardener as long as he himself does not use it in that way.
Upon being contacted by the other Elders of the Universe, the Gardener agreed to partake in aggressive activity against the alien being Galactus and then the universe itself in order to recreate reality. The plan was foiled by Galactus' former Herald, Silver Surfer, and his ally, Mantis. The Gardener returned to his life as a gardener until confronted by the villain Thanos. Thanos challenged the Gardener for the Gem, taking it and killing the Gardener in the process.