joke - Melanie in the garden picture Melanie Caughey: Garden Readings


"For above all, a garden should furnish food for the imagination, and these fantastic forms are indeed made of such stuff as dreams."
- pg. 80, Medieval Gardens, by Frank Crisp (New York: Hacker Art Books, 1966) First published in 1924.


Various garden book readings


My parents had many gardens, in different places and at different homes, one with a lovely garden arbor seat built by my father and grandfather. That yard was very long; I really liked the upright tires painted white that formed a casual fence into the garden. But my ideal of a garden was formed when I was maybe 4 years old, from trips to my Great-Aunt Velma Woodruff's garden. She had many beautiful flowers, enjoyed in an atmosphere of family camaraderie on strolls about the yard but also had quite a collection of lawn ornaments, which to my youthful eyes brought the magic and charm of an amusement park or state fair right into the back yard. I was smitten with the beauty of her yard, and have appreciated lawn ornaments ever since (despite their time frame!) And, of course, reading has long been a favorite of mine, so garden books are a natural interest.

"I know that to mine own soil, light, zone, and energy level I must be true. ... I don't care too much about a rose's accomplishments as long as it is healthy. I don't plant delicate plants near the dog's path's or expect an astilbe to bloom in draught. Yes, I have learned the limitations and possibilities of my little city plot" - Sigrid Arnott, in The Gardener's Bedside Reader, Kari Cornell, Editor

"In March and in April, from morning to night, in sowing and setting, good gardeners delight." - Thomas Tusser, Five Hundred Points, 1573

"You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt" - Author Unknown

"Cross diamonds in the paper I do frame
And in the ground I can draw the same
Four separate quarters fit for to be drawn
With herb or box for to set flowers there in"
-Blake, The Complete Gardeners Practice


Medieval plant list IN PROGRESS


Sometime soon I will post a copy of the Excel file or a pdf of this, although I am still a long way from finishing this list prepared from hobby library-reading on lunch hours . . . AND be sure to send me a note on the feedback form below to let me know about any corrections you wish to note.)

Medieval Plant List in progress, top of page one



Click here further details about reference sources listed below

812 - Emperor Charlemagne, "Capitulare de Villis vel Curtis Imperiali Caroli Magni"

816 - Plan Prepared for the St. Gall Monastery

840 - Walafrid Strabo, "Hortulus"

    1143 - Hildegard of Bingen, "Physica"

      1200 - Alexander Neckam, "De Naturis Rerum"

      1215 - Ibn al-Baitar 1215AD, wrote a translation of Pedacius Dioscorides (60AD), "De Materia Medica"

      1280 - Henry the Poet 1280-1300, wrote about the hundred-or-so plants in his four-walled garden

        1350 - Jon Gardener, "The Feate of Gardening"

        1360 - Friar Henry Daniel, 1280-1373, noted writer including an Herbal, rosemary cultivation guide, and medical texts, writes about garden plants

        1393 - Le Menagier de Paris, "A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by a Citizen of Paris"

          1485 - Unicorn Tapestries, woven between 1485-1500, have realistic images of a number of recognizable plants

          1492 - Giovanni Cademosto of Lodi, "Tacuinum sanitatis"

            1525 - Thomas Frommond, Carshalton, Surrey, England, plant list

            1577 - Thomas Hyll, "The Gardeners Labyrinth,"

            1580 - Thomas Tusser, "Five Hundred Points of Husbandry"

              1614 - Gervase Markham, "Cheap and Good Husbandry"

              1620 - "City of London Gardens, 1500-1620"


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Warning. I do NOT have any horticulturist training; therefore do not rely on anything here.