Herb Gardens through History and the Plants Therein Ancient gardens: *Egypt *Islamic *Chinese *Christian monasteries *English Physic gardens Modern gardens
Egyptian garden - formal, with blue walled, & white lotus flowers on the central pond. D. Bown, p. 12, 1995.
Islamic garden design - enclosed and intimate. Plants of fruit and nut trees, vines and scented flowers, outlined by pools of water. The Sultan takes refreshment and listens to music.
A biblical herb garden design, Connecticut: Damask rose ‘Celsiana’ is focal point, 3 theme gardens - Legends, Mary, & Culinary. High maintenance garden - regular clipping of ivy & absinthe to maintain form.
The Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, wrote one of the earliest herbals in 200 B.C. He emphasized practical skills.
The herb garden at the Cloisters in New York City. It contains herbs used during the Middle Ages - lavender, thyme, rosemary, betony, meadowsweet, rue, ….
Close-up, the Cloisters, showing wattle fence around apple tree, various herbs and flowers.
4 rings form this knot garden, with barberry and germander as the rings and a dwarf box draws the design together in the center. 4 specimens accent the 4 corners and creeping thyme varieties are planted inside the rings. Garden is easily viewed from the house.
In the 1400’s, a doctor selects herbs for medicinal uses from the herb garden, which contains both herbs and decorative plants. From Roman de la Rose (c. 1400).
Herbal concoctions had many uses including removing pests from the head.
A woodcut from Brunschwig’s 1500 book, Liber de Arte Distillandi, Strassburg. Scene in a medieval herb garden - harvesting, drying, storing, distilling, …..
Harvesting sage leaves, a popular medieval herb.
Doctrine of Signatures or Similars: the shape or appearance of an herb indicates what illness it will cure. Doctrine of Contraries: opposites can cure illness, e.g. hot fever is treated with cool mints
Examples of herbals…. Hippocrates, 400 B.C., an herbal with 400 recipes Dioscorides, a Greek physician, 60 A.D., De Materia Medica Li Shi Zhen, Chinese herbalist, 1590, 52 volume practical compendia, 2000 drugs, 1170 plants Girard, 1600, Elizabethan gardner, Girard’s Herbal, 1000 species Parkinson, 1630, Theatrum Botanicum, 3800 spp., herbalist to Charles I Culpepper, 1652, English apothecary, The Complete Herbal zodiac and herbal remedies
Hippocrates (500 B.C.) believed in the balance among the 4 elements and their associated humors.
Examples of vegetables and herbs in Hippocrates’ 4 basic groups of plants.
Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica - the most influential Western herbal of all time, a standard reference for >1500 years! Descriptions of 600+ herbs. Dioscorides was a Greek physician who lived in Rome and served Anthony and Cleopatra.
Chinese herbalist Li Shi Zhen, 1590, 52 volume practical compendia, 2000 drugs, 1170 plants .
John Girard was an English gardener and herbalist (1597) who wrote The Generall Historie of Plants. It includes descriptions of plants from around the world.
John Parkinson wrote the largest herbal in English, published in 1640. The title “Paradisus in Sole” is a play on his name …Park..in…son.
Culpepper’s The English Physitian was a very popular herbal, it contained astrological descriptions of almost 400 herbs. He believed in the Doctrine of Signatures and enraged physicians by his arrogant disregard for their learning.
Modern herb gardens… *Chelsea Physic garden, London, England *Cranbourne Manor, England *George Washington’s Mount Vernon VA *National Arboretum, DC *US Botanic Garden *Cleveland Botanic Garden *Catnip Acres Connecticut *Denver Botanic Garden *Huntington Botanic Garden Small Features in herb gardens…. *Chamomile Thyme Lawn *Chamomile Urn *Wheelbarrow *Sage & Santolina *A Narrow herb Garden
The Chelsea Physic Garden, London England
Shakespeare wrote about many herbs in his plays…. ‘pray remember, rosemary for remembrance….” A few herbs were difficult to find - earth smoke (Fumaria), oxlip (Primula), samphire (Crithmum), but many others are still in use today.
Cranbourne Manor - a formal herb garden with clipped boxwood hedges that create dark and light areas.
National Arboretum, Washington DC topiary herb knot garden
Cleveland’s Botanic Garden with a very formal herb knot garden.
An urn of daisies surrounded A chamomile and thyme by chamomile. Lawn - hard to maintain.
Dark purple sage and yellow Lady’s mantle with lavender and mint in the background. A wheelbarrow full of herbs in pots makes a small herb garden.