A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Medieval Garden

I love history. Naturally, I have delved into the history of gardening. I read a book on medieval gardens (see sidebar) over the winter. I think what I found most fascinating about medieval gardens is that they were designed for scent rather than color and form as we do today. I also found that some of my favorite flowers were being grown during the medieval period so I decided to try a medieval type garden. Architecturally it is not authentic, but it does contain plants that were grown during that time.

I didn't have to widen the bed along the shed. I did that last fall when I planted the fritillaria (introduced to Europe in the 16th century and popular in 17th century gardens.) and the Madonna lily. The fritillaria does not really fit, but I liked it. When I cleared out the bed for the New World Garden a few days ago, my beloved hollyhocks were transplanted into the new medieval bed. I thought they didn't survive the move, but they are tough and are growing nicely now.

They were joined by three Johnny Jump Ups. I love these little flowers. They are weeds for everyone but me. I have the hardest time trying to grow them. This is the fourth or fifth place in my yard I am trying them. I want them to become invasive. I just adore their happy little faces. Also they were a favorite of Henry VIII. Tudor England is one of my favorite historical periods.

Today I planted seeds for Love Lies Bleeding (what a great name), Monkshood (also called Wolf's Bane, I had to have it!), German Chamomile, Common Thyme, Sweet Marjoram and Hyssop. The chamomile is a second try. It was part of the disastrous herb garden attempt last year. I am hoping it will thrive and bloom so I can make tea from the blossoms. The thyme and marjoram are herbs I plan on drying and using in my cooking. The hyssop is supposed to have a wonderful scent and can be used in pot pourri. And, last but not least, I planted more Johnny Jump Ups.

Next up, the Yellow/Orange garden.


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