Medieval Castles, and to an even greater extent Monasteries, carried
on an ancient tradition of garden design and intense horticultural
techniques in Europe.
Gardens were funcional and included kitchen gardens, infirmary
gardens, cemetery orchards, cloister garths and vineyards. Vegetable
and herb gardens helped provide both alimentary and medicinal crops,
which could be used to feed or treat the sick. Gardens were laid
out in rectangular plots, with narrow paths between them to facilitate
collection of yields. Often these beds were surrounded with wattle
fencing to prevent animals from entry.
Monasteries might also have had a "green court," a plot of grass
and trees where horses could graze, as well as a cellarer's garden
or private gardens for obedientiaries, monks who held specific posts
within the monastery.
In the kitchen gardens, fennel, cabbage, onion, garlic, leeks,
radishes, and parnips might be grown, as well as peas, lentils and
beans if space allowed for them.
Infirmary gardens could contain savory, costmary, fenugreek, rosemary,
peppermint, rue, iris, sage, bergamot, mint, lovage, fennel and
cumin, amongst other herbs.
A herber was a herb garden and pleasure garden. A Hortus Conclusus
was an enclosed garden representing areligious allegory). A Pleasaunce
was a large complex pleasure garden or park. The word paradise comes
from a Persion word for a walled garden. The term was used by St.
Gall to refer to an open court in monastery garden, where flowers
to decorate the church were grown.
In the later Middle Ages, texts, art and literary works provide
a picture of developments in garden design. Pietro Crescenzi, a
Bolognese lawyer, wrote twelve volumes on the practical aspects
of farming in the 13th century and they offer a description of medieval
gardening practices. From his text we know that gardens were surrounded
with stonewalls, thick hedging or fencing and incorporated trellises
and arbors. They borrowed their form from the square or rectangular
shape of the cloister and included square planting beds.
Grass was also first noted in the medieval garden. In the De Vegetabilibus
of Albertus Magnus written around 1260, instructions are given for
planting grass plots. Raised banks covered in turf called "Turf
Seats" were constructed to provide seating in the garden. Fruit
trees were prevalent and often grafted to produce new varieties
of fruit. Gardens included a raised mound or mount to serve as a
stage for viewing and planting beds were customarily elevated on
Medieval and particularly Renaissance gardening was heavily influenced
by the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, notably Columella
(On Agriculture), Varro (On Agriculture: Rerum rusticarum), Cato
(On Agriculture: De re rustica), Palladius (On Husbandry), Pliny
the Elder, Dioscorides Pedanius, of Anazarbos.(De Materia Medica)
While there isn't a clear delineation between gardens for pleasure
and utilitarian gardens, orchards, etc. it's clear that some parts
of some gardens were intended primarily to be a delight to the senses,
and others for their end products.
"The kitchen or utilitarian garden, in contrast with the pleasure
garden, contained food and medicinal plants as well as plants
for strewing on floors, making hand waters, quelling insects and
other household purposes."
Most every manor, abbey, and great estate would have utilitarian
gardens, demesne farm fields, and perhaps woods and even vineyards
or orchards in addition to some sort of pleasure garden.
One of the primary characteristics of the medieval garden was that,
large or small, it was always enclosed by pole fences, hedges, banks
and ditches, Stone, Brick , Wattle (a sort of basket work of willow
withies, osiers, etc. woven around stakes in the ground.)
Albertus Magnus was a great admirer of lawns: "For the sight is
in now way so pleasantly refreshed as by fine and close grass kept
short." Most writers recommend digging out the original 'waste'
plants, killing the seeds in the soil by flooding with boiling water,
then laying out the lawn with turves laid in and pounded well. Another
writer recommends mowing them twice a year; lawnmowing would have
been done with scythes or primitive shears.
Beds could be raised or sunken:
"For instance beds could be raised and edged with boards or woven
panels of willow to improve drainage, just as Columella recommended"
(Hobhouse). Parkinson suggests edging your beds with either live
plants or dead stuff such as tiles, lead, sheep shank bones, or
Sunken beds appear to be used primarily in Islamic gardens, where
the idea would be to facilitate irrigation and keep the earth from
drying out. Good examples appear in the Alhambra in Spain. (Islamic
gardens tended to strongly follow the Roman pattern of square layouts
and canals or streams running through the garden.)
Grapes, roses and rosemary in particular were grown over trellises;
gilliflowers (carnations, pinks) were trellised in their pots to
keep them from falling over. Other kinds of vines were also grown
that way. Lattices with climbing plants and trellises with climbing
plants were used as garden walls, often starting from the back of
a turfed bed or seat, and also for arches and pergolas.
Topiary animals appear in late period, either self topiary, or
fastened over a frame, as in this account of Hampton Court in 1599:
"There were all manner of shapes, men and women, half men and
half horse, sirens, serving-maids with baskets, French lilies
and delicate crenellations all round made from dry twigs bound
together and the aforesaid ever green quick-set shrubs, or entirely
of rosemary, all true to the life, and so cleverly and amusingly
interwoven, mingled and grown together, trimmed and arranged picture-wise
that their equal would be difficult to find." (Strong, p. 33)
Trees were planted either along walls, geometrically placed in
orchards (about 20 feet apart), or pleached into allees. Some trees,
such as the walnut, were avoided in gardens, but fruit trees and
other trees with a good smell or pleasant aspect were included in
most gardens as well as adjoining orchards. Sometimes trees were
trained against a wall but that may be a late period development.
There are two techniques used in forestry that are worth mentioning:
pollarding and coppicing. Both were and are used to get the maximum
growth of branches and wood out of farmed trees, so they wouldn't
have been used much in gardens, except possibly in hedging. Coppiced
trees, such as beeches, were cut down at ground level or a little
above, and the stumps allowed to sprout suckers. After the suckers
had grown to medium sized branches-- or the right size for fences,
wattle, poles, etc-- they were harvested. Pollarding is the same
process, but done much higher off the ground, beyond nibbling reach
for deer, cattle, etc. Pollarding survives as a landscaping technique
and as the result of trees being cut back for electric and telephone
There is evidence in the pictoral representations of plants in
pots either outdoors or in the house. Gillyflowers in pots appear
to have been especially popular in that period, both indoors and
out. Potted plants and trees are depicted placed on top of grassy
beds in gardens and entryways-- these may have been tender perennials
or fruit trees.
Pots made of ceramic seem to have been the norm, usually in the
familar 'Italian' flowerpot style, or in the shape of urns, with
either wide tops or narrow. Plants are also pictured growing from
wide-mouthed jugs or crocks. Woven baskets are shown being used
to transport plants from one place to another.
Potting plants were used to extend the season, as well. Thomas
Hill points out that you can start your cucumbers early if you plant
them out in pots, leaving them out all day in warm weather and moving
them into a warm shed at night.
The Gardiner which would possesse Cucumbers timely and very soone,
yea and all the yeare through, ought (after the minde of the Neopolitane
[Rutilius?]) in the beginning of the the spring, to fill up old
worne baskets and earthen pans without bottomes, with fine sifted
earth tempered afore with fat dung, and to moisten somewhat the
earth with water, after the seeds bestowed in theses, which done
when warme and sunnie daies succeede, or a gentle raine falling,
the baskets or pans with the plants, are then to be set abroad,
to be strengthened and cherished by the sun and small showres;
but the evening approching, these in all the cold season ought
to be set under some warm cover or house in the ground, to be
defended from the frosts and cold aire, which thus standing under
a cover, or in the warme house, moisten gently with water sundry
times, and these on such wise handle, untill all the Frosts, Tempests,
and cold aire be past, as commonly the same ceaseth not with us,
till abut the middest of May.
After these, when opportunity or an apt day serveth the Gardener
shall bestow the Baskets or Pannes unto the brimme, or deeper
in the earth, well laboured or trimmed before, with the rest of
the diligenceto be exercised, as before uttered; which done, the
Gardener shall enjoy very forward and timelier Cowcumbers than
This matter may be compassed, both easier, in shorter time, and
with lesser travell, if the owner, after the cutting of the waste
branches, doth set them in well labored beds, for these in far
shorter time and speedier, doe yeeld faire Cucumbers.
The one thing I think necessary to be learned, for the avoiding
of the daily labour and paines, in the setting abroad and carrying
into the house, either halfe tubs, baskets, or earthen bannes,
which on this wise by greater facility may be done, if so be the
Gardener bestwo the vessells with the plants in Wheel-barrowes,
or such like with Wheeles; for these, to mens reason, causeth
marvellous easiness, doth in the bestowing abroad, and carrying
againe into the warme house, as often as need shall require.
The young plants may be defended from cold and boisterous windes,
yea, frosts, the cold aire, and hot Sunne, if Glasses made for
the onely purpose, be set over them, which on such wise bestowed
on the beds, yeelded in a manner to Tiberius Caesar, Cucumbers
all the year, in which he took great delight, as after the worthy
Columella, the learned Plinie hath committed the same to memory,
which every day obtained the like, as he writeth."
Tender perennials and Mediterranean trees such as the orange, bay
and pomegranate were sometimes managed this way in Northern Europe
during the Renaissance, raised in tubs and brought into a shed,
sometimes a heated shed, in the winter. Le Menagier says to bring
violets inside in pots for the winter.
Not used in every garden, but in vegetable and medicinal gardens,
raised beds were often a major feature from the plan of St. Gall
onward. Columella, a Roman writer, dictated:
"The ground is divided into beds, which, however, should be so
contrived that the hands of those who weed them can easily reach
the middle of their breadth, so that those who are going after
weeds may not be forced to tread on the seedlings, but rather
may make their way along paths and weed first one and then the
other half of the bed."
"We can deduce that the minimum bed and path width would be four
to five feet and one foot respectively. These beds could be simply
paced out to any length that fitted the small domestic garden.
In large institution gardens. . . a subdivision into perches was
most likely to be used. . . subdivisions of an eighty-four foot
line can also be made. . . One way of subdividing a perch of 16
1/2 feet is to lay out three beds of four feet in width, two intervening
paths of wone foot, and a two-foot-six access path between one
perch and the next, wide enough for barrows. Plots could be in
strips of several perches in length, but one perch width is the
optimum for good access from the sides."
Parkinson suggests that beds be edged with lead "cut to the breadth
of foure fingers, bowing the lower edge a little outward," or "oaken
inch boards four or five inches broad," or shank bones of sheep,
or tiles, or "round whitish or blewish pebble stones of some reasonable
proportion and bignesse." He says, with distaste, that jawbones
were sometimes used as edgings in the Low Countries.
In any case, beds were almost universally rectangular, and arranged
in aregular pattern, either windowpane check or checkerboard. The
fashion of putting a central circular feature with semi-rectangular
beds with their corners cut out appears, according to Roy Strong,
to have been introduced after 1600.
Turfed seats were a major feature of 'gardens of pleasure'. Marble
or stone seats also appear. One illustration shows a portable wooden
Turfed seats, also called excedra, were generally built along the
lines of slightly higher raised beds, the outer wals constructed
with wood planks, bricks or wattles, though some illustrations show
the benches with sod sides as well. Often turfed seats were arranged
around the inner borders of an enclosed 'herber', providing seats
as well as anchorage for the trellised plants
Tables also appear, as in one illustration of the Garden of Paradise,
where the Virgin has at her elbow a marble table containing a glass
of something to drink and some snacks. Dining al fresco was a popular
summer activity, and there are many illustrations of couples and
groups eating, drinking, and/or playing games at tables and benches
set up in the garden.
Markham's English Husbandman is very emphatic about the need for
a water source in a garden. The 14-16th century gardens we have
depictions of generally include a water feature. They were generally
surrounded by a lawn, rather than a planting of any sort.
Springs were popular, often opening into a square pool or trough
from which water could be drawn or washing done. Springheads and
streams could supply pools for drinking from, washing in, or even
keeping fish in. Though the most popular presentation of outside
bathing is Bathsheba, other illustrations show outside bathing in
houses of ill repute also.
Big ornate fountains with statuary became popular in the Renaissance.
Fountains were powered by hydraulics, either water from a springhead
or stream, or water piped in via aqueduct. A stream might run through
or around a garden (like a moat) or the runoff from a fountain or
to a fountain could be made into an artificial stream or water-stairs.
(The Italian villa gardens would detour an entire stream to run
downhill through the property and power its fountains.)
Naomi Miller, in her article "Medieval Garden Fountains" in Medieval
Gardens, Dumbarton Oaks, 1986, describes the typical fountain before
the vogue for classical statuary beginning in the 14th century:
"...Throughout the late Middle Ages, whethere the fountain was
placed at the center of a town square, a monastic cloister, or
a Garden of Love, its form remained relatively unchanged. Defined
by a circular, polygonal, or quadrilobe basin, it was rooted to
the ground or raised upon a basin or steps. Water usually passed
through a column; sometimes it rose from the center of the first
basin to support a second one and was dispensed by one or more
spouts. A more imposing fountain would usually have secondary
basins used a troughs, provisions for washing, and even fish tanks.
Spouts in the form of lions' heads or grotesques decorating the
column were commonplace." (p. 152).
Statuary does not appear to have been a major part of early medieval
gardens, except in the cases of fountains, and in abbeys, elaborate
fountain-type handwashing arrangements. In the Renaissance, interest
in statuary, specifically Greek and Roman statuary, boomed. From
"museum" gardens designed to display and highlight one's collection
of Greek and Roman statues (or copies thereof), the idea of statues
as focal points for gardens and grottos took hold.
Generally, statues were in the form of people (Greek, Roman, or
Christian characters), mythical animals, or birds, horses, and occasional
putti (cherubim types), medusas, or heraldic beasts on the walls
seem to be typical. River gods, water nymphs, goddesses with or
without fountain outlets in their bosoms, children pouring water
from jars, muses, mountain giants, were all popular as statuary
and fountains in the last part of the 16th century. Many major English
gardens from the Elizabethan period had references to Elizabeth
as Diana or Cybele, or as the Rose.
Hampton Court, one of Henry VIII of England's principal seats,
was enlivened by sundials and "The Kinges bestes made to be sett
vp in the privie orchard . . . vij of the Kinges Bestes. That is
to say ij dragons, ij greyhounds, i lyon, i horse and i Antylope
. . ." (1531 household accounts, quoted by R. Strong). This fashion
of having heraldic beasts carved out of wood and set up on poles
in your garden seems to have spread somewhat, as the beasts appear
in other places; there were also topiary beasts appearing in gardens
of the period. These beasts might be painted in heraldic colors
or gilded, either on appropriate parts or all over.
Eating out of doors in summer was apparently quite popular; special
banqueting houses were created. Some were very odd, such as the
'Mouth of Hell' cavern in an Italian Renaissance garden, and another
one constructed on a platform built on the branches of an enormous
linden tree. No major landowners pleasure park was complete without
Artificial caves cut into a hillside, or in a walled building,
generally with fountains, hydraulic toys, statuary, carvings and/or
paintings were the mode at the very end of period, a trend that
continued into the seventeenth and 18th centuries.
Labyrinths, in which one cannot get lost, seem to have been more
popular in period than Mazes. Copying the fashion in Roman tiles
(and perhaps a Roman boys' exercise), big festival or game labyrinths
were made of cut turf in some places; by the sixteenth century,
the inclusion of a labyrinth laid out with herbs and small shrubs
seems to have been one way to use up space in a big garden.
"Hyssop, thyme, and cotton lavender, which were used in the early
mazes, are small-- the grow, at the most, knee-high. Mazes made
with these are therefore to be surveyed as well as walked in. Their
color should be remembered, with box and yew also recommended: these
were invaluable as evergreens. . Charles Estienne in his Agriculture
et Maison Rustique recommends. . . 'and one bed of camomile to make
seats and labyrinths, which they call Daedalus.' In the first English
version of this work, translated by Richard Surflet in 1600. . .'these
sweet herbes . . . some of them upon seats, and others in mazes
made for the pleasing and recreating of the sight.'" Thacker, The
History of Gardens.
Knotwork and Parterres (Embroidery-work) apparently began to be
fashionable in the early 1500's, though its heyday was in the 1600's.
Knots or pattern-work laid out in plants and/or colored stones,
usually in blocks of four -- at first generally mirrored both horizontally
and vertically, then, later, mirrored only along one axis and even
only broken into 2. Markham gives instructions for laying out your
knots. (Some knots included spots for the inclusion of the owner's
In 1599, a observer's account of some partierres at Hampton Court
(quoted by R. Strong, p. 33):
"By the entrance I noticed numerous patches where square cavities
had been scooped out, as for paving stones; some of these were
filled with red brick-dust, some with white sand, and some with
green lawn, very much resembling a chessboard."
Elaborate, embroidery work 'partierres" were a feature of gardens
in the late 1600s and early 1700s.
Major manor gardens of the latter part of the 16th century often
sited the gardens so that they could be seen from the owner's principal
private quarters; royalty might have two gardens, one for the king
and one for the queen.
Hugh Platt, in Floraes Paradise (1608) advocated what Campbell
(Charleston Kedding) calls "Sun-entrapping fruit walls, concave,
niched, or alcoved . . . He suggesed lining concave walls with lead
or tin plates, or pieces of glas, which would reflect the sun's
heat back onto the fruit trees. He also considered warming the walls
with the backs of kitchen chimneys."
Campbell also gives a good description of period references to
hotbeds in Moorish agricultural manuals, in De Crescenzi, and in
Thomas Hill. These hot beds were constructed by putting fresh dung
in a pit and either putting soil over it and planting in the soil,
covering over the plants with a shelter in inclement weather.
Peasants had mostly just a vegetable garden, perhaps with some
medicinal herbs, surrounded by a wattle fence to keep the pigs,
etc. out. Definitely they grew pease, beans, etc.
"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.
Monasteries would have multiple gardens: vegetable gardens, an
Infirmarer's garden of medicinal herbs, cloisters or orchards for
pacing and praying, and perhaps herbers also. Monasteries, hermitages
and almoner's establishments sometimes had separate plots for each
person to work.
Description of the grounds of the Cistercian Abbey of Clairvaux
in the 12th century:
"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)
Carole Rawcliffe, in an article on Hospital Nurses and their Work,
notes that hospitals and infirmaries had gardens that not only had
practical function but also "contributed in less immediately obvious
ways to the holistic therapy characteristic of the time." She goes
"During the twelfth century, the garden of the Hospital of St.
John the Baptist at Castle Donington, Leicestershire, had, indeed,
produced such 'powerful herbs and roots' that a local physician
had gone there to seek a cure for his own tertian fever. Following
a practice discernible at all levels of society, from the peasantry
to the baronage, the cultivation of many hospital gardens appears
to have been undertaken by women. Since it was such a large and
affluent institution, the Savoy could afford to retain a gardener,
who took his orders from the matron, as well as the physician
and the surgeon. He grew herbs, fruits, and other plants 'for
the relief and refreshment of the poor who flock to this hospital.'
These were used in cooking, for the preparation of medicines and
medicinal baths and for other 'health giving purposes' which probably
included the production of scented candles and fumigants for dispelling
the miasma of disease. . . "
"In smaller houses, such as St. Giles' Hospital, Norwich, the
sisters themselves grew and processed whatever plants might be
needed. Their walled garden, with its thatched pentice, was but
one of several green spaces in the precinct, which included the
master's ornamental garden, a great garden where trees and vegetables
were cultivated, a pond yard, a piggery and a kitchen garden.
During the fourteenth century surplus apples, pears, onions and
leeks were sold on the open market as a cash crop; other produce
included saffron, garlic, hemp and henbane. . . the hospital precincts
also incorporated a great meadow, with its prelapsarian 'paradyse
garden'. . ."
"At the London hospital of St. Mary Bishopgate the sisters lodged
in segregated quarters . . . which gave access to their own garden.
Elderly corrodians, such as Joan Lunde, who lived in a 'celle
sett yn the sauthe part of the [in]ffermory' of St. Giles' Hospital,
Beverly, were anxious to secure such a source of 'greate yerthely
comfort'. In 1500-1 she complained to the Court of Chancery that,
notwithstanding the money she had spent on maintaining the garden
which formed part of her corrody, it had been given to another
sister. . . The fitter and more mobile residents of English almshouses,
such as those at Ewleme and Arundel, were expected to weed and
tidy precinct gardens, but we have little evidence of their use
by convalescent patients. At the leper hospital run by St. Albans
Abbey inmates were who had been phlebotomized were permitted to
rest in a private garden, but many of them appear to have been
Benedictines, already accustomed to the prophylactic regimen of
the monastic infirmary."
-- Carole Rawcliffe, "Hospital Nurses and their Work", in Richard
Britnell, ed. Daily Life in the Late Middle Ages, (Stroud: Sutton
Publishing, 1998), pp 58-61.
Castles and manors often had gardens of pleasure for walking in,
with seats, private nooks screened from the wind for sitting, flowery
meads for sitting and/or playing games. We see many of these in
pictures of young ladies and pictures of the Virgin and Child.
Italian Renaissance gardens are characterized by lots of space,
walks, statuary and 'toys'. The fashion for god and goddess statues,
statues with water coming from significant points, and sculptures
meant to indicate river gods, naiads, dryads, etc. was extreme;
they also attempted to spotlight (or create, if necessary) Etruscan
ruins on the property.
From The Decameron (Bocaccio, mid-14th century):
"After this they went into a walled garden beside the mansion,
which at first glance seemed to them so beautiful that they began
to examine it more carefully in detail. On its outer edges and
through the centre ran wide walks as straight as arrows, covered
with pergolas of vines which gave every sign of bearing plenty
of grapes that year. . . . The sides of these walks were almost
closed in with jasmin and red and white roses, so that it was
possible to walk in the garden in a perfumed and delicious shade,
untouched by the sun, not only in the early morning, but when
the sun was high in the sky. . . In the midst of this garden was
something which they praised even more than all the rest; this
was a lawn of very fine grass, so green that it seemed nearly
black, colored with perhaps a thousand kinds for flowers. This
lawn was shut in with very green citron and orange trees bearing
at the same time both ripe fruit and young fruit and flowers,
so that they pleased the sense of smell as well as charmed the
eyes with shade. And in the midst of this lawn was a fountain
of white marble most marvellously carved. A figure standing on
a column in the midst of this fountain threw water high up in
the air, which fell back unto a crystal-clear basin with a delicious
sound. . . the water which overflowed. . . ran out of the lawn
by some hidden way where it reappeared again in cunningly made
little channels which surrounded the lawn."
Parks often included multiple structures, many water features,
and, at least according to Crescenzi, were stocked with wild beasts.
The large gardens at Woodstock, perhaps orginally made for Henry
II's light'o'love Rosamund, and suspected by at least one author
to have been made imitation of those in the romance of Tristan and
Iseult, are an example.
"Castles, manors and great monastic establishments would have
both small herbers for useful and decorative plants and also grander
enclosed areas in which walks could be shaded by trees and where
there were artificial pools for fish as well as natural streams.
. . Geoffrey de Montbray. . . came back to Normandy to sow acorns
and grow oaks, beeches and other forest trees inside a park enclosed
by a double ditch and a palisade" (Hobhouse)
The park at Hesdin, northern France, created in 1288, included:
"a menagerie, aviaries, fishponds, beautiful orchards, an enclosed
garden named Le Petit Paradis, and facilities for tournaments.
The guests were beckoned across a bridge by animated rope-operated
monkey statutes (kitted up each year with fresh badger-fur coats)
to a banqueting pavilion which was set amongst pools." (Landsberg,
Compare this prescription from Crescenzi:
"Of the gardens of royal personages and powerful and wealthy
lords. And inasmuch as wealthy persons can by their riches and
power obtain such things as please them and need only science
and art to create all they desire. For them, therefore, let a
great meadow be chosen, arranged, and ordered, as here shall be
directed. Let it be a place where the pleasant winds blow and
where there are fountains of waters; it should be twenty 'Journaux'
or more in size according to the will of the Lord and it should
be enclosed with lofty walls. Let there be in some part a wood
of divers trees where the wild beasts may find a refuge. In another
part let there be a costly pavilion where the king and his queen
or the lord and lady may dwell, when they wish to escape from
wearisome occupations and where they may solace themselves."
"Let there be shade and let the windows of the pavilion look
out upon the garden but not exposed to the burning rays of the
sun. Let fish-pools be made and divers fishes placed therein.
Let there also be hares, rabbits, deer and such-like wild animals
that are not beasts of prey. And in the trees near the pavilion
let great cages be made and therein place partridges, nightingales,
blackbirds, linnets, and all manner of singing birds. Let all
be arranged so that the beasts and the birds may easily be seen
from the pavilion. Let there also be made a pavilion with rooms
and towers wholly made of trees...”
Petrus Crescentiis, Opus Ruralium Commodorum. 1305.
Orchard trees that give fruit (apples, pears, plums); tender perennials
such as bay, orange, pomegranate in the south and later in period,
Olives and date palms in the south. Nut trees such as chestnut and
almond. Pine and Cypress. Of non-fruiting trees, linden or lime
trees were popular in northern Europe; William Stephen in 1180 mentions
elms, oaks, ash, and willow "along watercourses and to make shady
walks" (says Hobhouse); the Roman de la Rose also mentions fir,
and oriental plane trees. Crescenzi says:
"Trees are to be planted in their rows, pears, apples, and palms,
and in warm places, lemons. Again mulberries, cherries, plums,
and such noble trees as figs, nuts, almonds, quinces, and such-like,
each according to their kinds, but spaced twenty feet apart more
He also suggests box, broom, cypress, dogwood, laburnum, rosemary,
eonymous or spindle and tamarisk.
Albertus Magnus recommended:
"every sweet smelling herb such as rue, and sage and basil, and
likewise all sorts of flowers, as the violet, the columbine, lily,
rose, iris and the like. . . sweet trees, with perfumed flowers
and agreeable shade, like grapevines, pears, apples, pomegranates,
sweet bay trees, cypresses and such like."
He also suggested a lawn, a bench of flowering turf, seats in the
center of the garden, and a fountain.
A collected Albertus Magnus quote (John Harvey's translation):
"There are, however, some places of no great utility or fruitfulness.
. . these are what are called pleasure gardens. They are in fact
mainly designed for the delight of the two senses, viz. sight
and smell. . .[about the lawn] may be planted every sweet smelling
herb such as rue, and sage and basil, and likewise all sorts of
flowers, as the violet, the columbine, lily, rose, iris and the
like. So that between these herbs and the turf, at the edge of
the lawn set square, let therebe a higher bench of turf flowering
and lovely; and somewhere in the middle provide seats so that
men may sit down there to take their repose pleasurably when their
senses need refreshment. Upon the lawn, too, against the heat
of the sun, trees should be planted or vines trained, so that
the lawn may have a delightful and cooling shade, sheltered by
their leaves. For from theses trees shade is more sought after
than fruit, so that not much trouble should be taken to dig about
to manure them, for this might cause great damage to the turf.
Care should also be taken that the trees are not too close together
or too numerous, for cutting off the breeze may do harm to health.
. . the trees should not be bitter ones whose shade gives rise
to diseases, such as the walnut and some others; but let them
be sweet trees, with perfumed flowers and agreeable shade, like
grapevines, pears, apples, pomegranates, sweet bay trees, cypresses
and such like."
here for a list of Castles with gardens to visit