"The garden of the Arden peasant's holding was an important, if poorly documented, resource. Apple, cherry, plum and pear trees seem to have been common on many holdings, as in 1463 at Erdington, where nearly all peasant holdings contained orchards. The range of crops cultivated on the peasant's curtilage is poorly recorded, but the garden of Richard Sharpmore of Erdington was probably typical. In 1380 trespassing pigs ruined his vegetables, grass, beans and peas." -- Andrew Watkins, "Peasants in Arden", in Richard Britnell, ed. Daily Life in the Late Middle Ages , (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998), p 94.
All women were expected to be able to brew remedies in their “stillroom” (i.e. distilling)
St. Johns Wort
"Within the enclosure of this wall stand many and various trees, prolific in bearing fruit . It resembles a wood, and since it is near the cell of the sick brethren, it offers some comfort to their infirmities, while providing at the same time a spacious place for those who walk, and a sweet place where those who are overheated can rest . Where the orchard ends the garden begins. Here too a lovely prospect presents itself to the infirm brethren; they can sit on the green edge of the great fountain, and watch the little fishes challenging one another, as it were, to war-like encounters, as they meet and play in the water ."
(quoted by Paul Meyvaert, in "The Medieval Monastic Garden," Medieval Gardens , Dumbarton Oaks, 1986)
Design & features
Based upon the idealized design of St. Gall, Switzerland, ca. 890
Divided into different areas – food, medicine, ornamental
Had to serve the needs of the community…”Brother Cadfael”
Were the model for later botanical gardens
St. Gall Plan http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~helphand/medievalimagesone/image23.jpg
Multitasking Plants & Herbs
“ For the sickly take this wort rosemary , pound it with oil, smear the sickly one, wonderfully thou healest him.”