Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hi guys! Ok, I made a mistake last time: the Loyola library does not have the article I wanted on rosemary, so whatever information that has for us won’t be appearing here YET. However, I did find somewhat of the answer that I was looking for, which was a more recent source that said rosemary came to England via Queen Philippa. I happened upon it when searching for this picture of rosemary to show you-[1]

The blog for the Cloisters medieval garden at the Metropolitan Museum says that “rosemary is not known to have grown in England before Queen Phillipa received the cuttings her mother sent along with the little book.”[2] The treatise on rosemary, sent to the queen, and translated by Friar Henry Daniel is the basis for this statement (that’s another gardener-author whose texts I’d love to get). Now, John Harvey does identify Henry the Poet (the subject of one of my former posts) as the gardener “extensively quoted by Friar Henry Daniel (c. 1320) as to the virtues of certain herbs.”[3] This connection is noted in the Cloisters blog and helped me realize that’s why rosemary does not appear in Huntingdon’s herbal-it was, as Friar Daniel said in the notes to his translation, introduced to England in 1338.

Our own Heraldic Garden at Loyola currently has no rosemary, but we ARE planning to expand and make some changes to it, and I will request that we include this fascinating plant.

[1]The Cloisters Museums and Gardens, ‘The Virtues of Rosemary’ The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (accessed February 19, 2013).
[2] Ibid.
[3] John H. Harvey, “The Square Garden of Henry the Poet.” Garden History, Vol. 15, (1987): 1-11.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hello everyone! This week, I had to do some scholarly comparisons and evaluation. I got a hint about last week’s post: it was about rosemary’s origin and relation to England. I do have one article, as you saw last week, that informs us that rosemary came to England through Queen Philippa in the 14th century.[1] As noted in the citation, the article was written in 1985 by John H. Harvey. In fact, Harvey has written many articles about the medieval time. Harvey’s training was as an architect, working with his father. After returning from activities in WWII, he began researching, teaching and writing about medieval architecture. His interest turned to medieval plants and gardens however, and he released numerous influential works. We are now, gratefully, indebted to his extensive work in this area.[2]

There is a second article Harvey wrote, specifically on rosemary. In this he says that rosemary “is a native of southern Europe including the Mediterranean region of France.”[3] I could neither confirm nor disconfirm this from the books and articles that I’ve found (in English) so far. However, Harvey did include a helpful footnote that led me to French texts on Charlemagne that might have an answer. Nevertheless, Harvey goes on to tell us that, “there is no satisfactory evidence that [rosemary] was actually grown in England before the reign of Edward III.” He also says that “at least one document says positively that the date of introduction was 1338,” a second manuscript agrees with this date and a “third suggests 1342…”[4] Unfortunately, these texts were not named in his article and I’ve encountered a lot of difficulty finding confirmation elsewhere. (However, rosemary is NOT listed among various plants that came to England via Spain, which Harvey treats in another article from 1993, so we know it didn’t come from there.[5]) I have another article on a rosemary treatise, translated by the important gardener Friar Henry Daniel, that is pending at the library.

There are interesting facts Harvey includes, such as how the flowers of rosemary were most frequently used in medieval medicines. Also, Harvey reports, tradition said that the plant (evergreen, and therefore significant to Christians) grew, “not exceeding Christ’s height.”[6] I would still like to solve this issue of the plant’s origin, if possible, with some more recent articles. So, more on rosemary next time!

[1] John H. Harvey, “The First English Garden Book: Mayster Jon Gardener’s Treatise and Its Background.” Garden History Vol. 13 (1985), 83-101.
[2] Society of Antiquaries of London, “John Hooper Harvey, Hon.Dr.York, F.R.S.L., D.S.G.” Society of Antiquaries. (accessed February 14,  2013).
[3] John H. Harvey, “Medieval Plantsmanship in England: The Culture of Rosemary.” Garden History Vol. 1 (1972), 13-21.
[4] Ibid., 14.
[5] John H. Harvey, “Garden Plants of Moorish Spain: A Fresh Look.” Garden History Vol. 20 (1992), 71-82
[6] John H. Harvey, “Mediaeval Plantsmanship in England.” 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hi guys! I had a successful week, finding sources and reading some articles on plants and gardening in the Middle Ages. I’ve started looking at actual herbals from the time: one comprised Latin poems written by Friar Henry Daniel, and it has already been very useful (I picked up the book yesterday). During all this, I came across an interesting article on a primary source that I’d love to see, or read through a translated secondary source.

The article is called The First English Gardening Book: Mayster John Gardener’s Treatise and Its Background, and, as we see in the progression of this study, although it certainly wasn’t the first book on this s ubject, John H. Harvey argues it could be the first in the burgeoning, yet more stable, ‘vulgar’ (common) English language. He says that, “the practical character of this book, and its lack of ‘authorities’ strongly suggest a vernacular origin in the personal experience of a master English gardener.”[1]

The “primary manuscript,” as Harvey calls the one from Cambridge, is expanded in some areas, by the more recently discovered (and probably more recently composed) “Loscombe” manuscript. However, Harvey calls the Loscombe “seriously defective” in that it is lacking the introduction on gardening along with the following chapters on “Trees, Grafting” and “Viticulture.”[2] The Loscombe contains information on saffron and rosemary, while the Cambridge has no information concerning rosemary and only some on saffron. Harvey notes particularly “this last may well indicate that Loscombe was based upon an enlarged edition of the original booklet, revised in light of further experience of saffron growing.”[3] Saffron, we must remember, was introduced to England in the mid-1300s. Rosemary too, introduced to England in about the 1340s, helps put the date of the Loscombe’s composition “quite late in the fourteenth century.”[4] Other differences exist between the lists in the two manuscripts, but also points of concordance.

There are also some questions on types of ‘liverworts’ (so called because of their actual uses in liver-treatment) included. These plants appear in the older text. Harvey notes that the newer text “suffers from textual corruption,” one example being the repetition and confusion of some herbs: a helpful list of plants and variations on their names appears at the end of the article.[5] Thus, the differences in manuscripts exist. Something included in both manuscripts however is “honysoke”; Harvey tells us that this is NOT honeysuckle, but rather a “trefoil,” i.e. thre leued gras (three-leaved grass) and furthermore, that this plant appeared in another list under this category. Therefore, “the original sense [of honysoke] was a species of Meliotus, to which the clovers, Trifolium spp., were later added.”[6] Personally, I find this categorization, and particularly the name change, fascinating! And we do have clover in the Loyola medieval garden!

In short, this is a primary source FULL of information for use in our website ‘herbal’ on Loyola’s garden. I have Friar Daniel (who used this source) and new books on medieval medicine to read through as well! Until next time everyone!

[1] John H. Harvey, “The First English Garden Book: Mayster Jon Gardener’s Treatise and Its Background.” Garden History Vol. 13 (1985), 83-101.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hello again! These last few weeks, I’ve been looking at articles on medieval plants and gardens, and oftentimes specific examples of gardens will pop up. I’d like to ‘show’ you one of them, and then tell you a little about our own medieval garden here at Loyola.

The garden belonged to Henry the Poet, known also, according to historian John H. Harvey, as Henricus Angelicus or Henry Englisch. Harvey also comes to the conclusion that this Henry the Poet was the one who had written this important document because of the “correspondence of Latin and English texts” that he finds.[1]

The document has a list of 25 herbs, specified by the Latin description to be “on the north border of Henry’s square garden.”[2] These first 25 are followed by lists of 25, 23 and 21 herbs, which are assumed to comprise the square: the shape was common for gardens and we can see the square appearing in medieval Books of Hours.
 A beautiful illustration including a square plot of garden.[3]
Harvey finds that “the special interest of this text is that it fully demonstrates the employment of what may be loosely termed an Herbaceous Border as a system of planting…”[4] The placement of herbs was usually separate, according to illustrations from the time, and bordering herbs were mostly found at later dates. Interestingly, beautiful flowering, “ornamental” and “aromatic” plants were also in this garden. If you’d like to see what kinds of flowers were grown at this time-beautiful rose, English bluebells and daisies-come visit our own medieval garden at Loyola!...when it’s warmer, in spring.
In the meantime, bundle up!

[1] John H. Harvey, “The Square Garden of Henry the Poet.” Garden History, Vol. 15, (1987): 1-11.
[2] Harvey, John H, “The Square Garden” 1.
[3] Marie Collins and Virginia Davis, “A Medieval Book of Seasons,” (New York: Harper Collins, 1992),
[4] Harvey, John H. “The square Garden” 2.