[NOTE: I’d like to thank the readers of Gherkins & Tomatoes for their patience this summer — in the last few weeks I’ve moved from a house where I’ve lived for fourteen years, my favorite cat died, and I’ve been writing under deadline for an article for an encyclopedia as well as for a local … More The Random Herbalist: St. Gall, A Model Garden Plan?
Charlemagne had a shovel in every monastic garden, or so it seems:* As early as the days of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) the cloister owned outside property, and just as at Canterbury we must conclude that the plan of St. Gall meant the orchards and vineyards to be outside. The whole time of Charles the … More The Random Herbalist: The Hortus Eremitje
I find the following books enlightening, soothing, and motivating. My plan is to create/design a medieval/monastic herb garden over the upcoming winter and plant it starting next spring.* Monastic Gardens, by Mick Hales (2000) Private worlds glimpsed by a privileged few, monasteries have long maintained an aura of mystery. Outsiders imagine the silent seclusion, the … More The Random Herbalist: Books About Monastic and Medieval Gardens
[A photograph, and nothing more, for silent contemplation.]
Medieval monks knew a great deal about plants and their characteristics. And so did monks of later times. Take the example of Gregor Mendel, as does this article discussed in a March 2009 Journal of Biology article: Why Didn’t Darwin Discover Mendel’s Laws? Mendel solved the logic of inheritance in his monastery garden with no … More The Random Herbalist: Gregor Mendel
Most of the gardens originally associated with monasteries contained numerous plants used for medicinal purposes. And, if nothing else, at least these gardens provided the background for mystery novelist Ellis Peters’s sailor-turned monk and herbalist, Brother Cadfael. The cloister-garth was a square, planted with grass and possibly shrubs, divided by two intersecting paths into four … More The Random Herbalist: The Monastic Physic Garden
A series on monastery cooks (“At the Tables of the Monks“)*, and a recent comment on the impact of medieval monks on the spread of dill throughout Europe, led me to reflect in more detail on the influence of monks on early European agricultural practices. For the next several days, I will be sharing notes … More The Random Herbalist: An Introduction to Early Monastic Gardens
“I think pickles are cucumbers that sold out. They sold their soul to the devil, and the devil is dill…” Unknown Ethel always grabbed the dill plants by the lower stems and yanked hard, shaking off the clumps of dirt clinging to the roots. “You need the seedy kind,” she’d say, intent on making those … More The Random Herbalist: Dill
You must be logged in to post a comment.