For gardeners with a sense of history

OE wyrtig, adj: Garden-like, full of plants;
On anum wyrtige hamme, Homl. Skt. ii. 30:312




Early gardens

Early plants

Growing heirloom plants

Garden folklore

Resources for gardeners

Site map

Contact us

Site Map



     About us

     Copyright, permissions, and disclaimers

     Contact us


Early Gardens in Britain


Iron Age gardens

What phytoliths can tell us abut early gardens

Romano-British Gardens

         Auctoritas in the Garden: What Plants did the Romans Really Introduce to Britain?


Gardens of post-Roman Britain, 450-1400 CE


Church and monastery gardens

Canterbury Cathedral, 1165 CE

Mount Grace Priory - A restored late medieval herb garden

The gardeners of Mt. Grace

Ground plan of Mt. Grace

A Carthusian elixir

A recreated monk's cell at Mt. Grace

Castle and manor gardens

The Garden of Henricus Anglicus

Plants in Henry's garden

The garden beds: North, south, east, and west

Gardens of toft and croft

Charter landscapes: Fields, gardens, and plants in Anglo-Saxon England

Complete boundary description from S644

Gardens in the Domesday Book


Be Gesceadwisan Gerefan, "About the Astute Reeve" (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge MS 383), an 11th Century garden and farm guide


Labors of the Months and what they can tell us about medieval gardens and gardeners













Sample calendars showing the "Labors"

Fulda Sacramentary



  Medieval seasons

Roman and Carolingian month names

Anglo-Saxon month names

Medieval farming practice and three-field farming


 Place Names, Landscapes, and Settlement Features

Examples of Place Names with Plant Elements

Resources on Plant Names

Medieval garden tools

About the Astute Reeve: Tools to have at hand


Tools used to:

Prepare the garden

Plant the garden

Cultivate the garden

Harvest the garden and store the produce

Medieval baskets


Sources of information about tools 

Sources: Early gardens



Early continental gardens

Roman gardens in Italy


Components of villa gardens

Roman villa plants

Charlemagne's Capitulare de Villis, c. 800 CE

Plants of the Capitulare

Charlemagne's estate at Asnapium, in 8th Century France

The Plan of St Gall, Reichenau, c. 820 CE
   The plants shown in the gardens of St. Gall


Walafrid Strabo's Hortulus

Imagining Walafrid's Hortulus

Medicinal uses of plants in Walafrid's Hortulus


Early Plants


British Plants Classified by When and How They Were Introduced

   Native plants


   Casual Plants


Romano-British plants

Roman villa plants

Plants of Vindolanda

Auctoritas in the garden: What plants did the Romans really introduce in Britain?

Plants of the early Middle Ages

Medieval Manuscript Sources on Plants, 800-1300 CE

Identifying medieval plants


   Plants Cited Most Frequently in Eight Early Sources

Eight early sources

Frequency with which plants are found

Details: Sources which Cite these Plants, and the
Names Plants Are Given

Plants in the Archeological Record in Great Britain

Anglo-Saxon plants

Bury St. Edmond's Herbal - The plants of Pseudo-Apuleius

     Gardened or Gathered? The plants of the Anglo-Saxon Herbarius Apuleii

     Comparing modern habitat information with that provided in Pseudo-Apuleius


British Plants, Native and Archeophyte

Native Plants



Leechbook of Bald, an Anglo-Saxon collection of three physicians' manuals
from c.925-955 CE

     Plants of the Leechbook


Aelfric's plants in his "Grammar," "Glossary" and "Colloquy," from the late 900s


The Lacnunga

     Plant names found in the Capitulare de Villis, Plan of St. Gall, Hortulus,
          Leechbook, Lacnunga,
and Aelfric

     A short list of plants cited most often in these MSS


Charter landscapes, 600-1100 CE: Fields, gardens, and plants in Anglo-Saxon England


Plants whose names appear in early place names


Dye plants of the early Middle Ages

Botany of four common dye plants

List of common medieval dye plants

Sources of information on early dye plants and processes


The 13th century garden of Henricus Anglicus


Plants on the Continent

The Plants of Charlemagne's Capitulare

Plants of Walafrid's Hortulus

Plants of St. Gall


Plant information from early sources

Online  and Print Resources: Medieval Plants


Growing heirloom plants

Agrimony - Agrimonia eupatoria odorata

   Agrimony in early sources

Apples - Malus spp.

   Apples in early sources

Asparagus - Asparagus officinalis

   Asparagus in early sources


Betony - Stachys betonica/officinalis

   Betony in early sources

Brassicas - Cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and turnips

   Brassicas in early sources

Calendula - Calendula officinalis

   Calendula in early sources


Catnip - Nepeta cataria

   Catnip in early sources


Chamomile - Chamaemelum nobile      |
     Chamomile in early sources


Clary sage - Salvia sclarea

   Clary in early sources


Coriander - Coriandrum sativa

   Coriander in early sources


Dill - Anethum graveolens

     Dill in early sources


Elderberry - Sambucus nigra

   Elderberry in early sources


Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare

   Fennel in early sources


Hazel nut - Corylus avellana

     Hazel nut in early sources


Horehound - Marrubium vulgare

     Horehound in early sources


Marsh Mallow - Althaea officinalis

   Marsh mallow in early sources


Madonna lily - Lilium

     Madonna lily in early sources

Medlar - Mespilus germanicum

   Medlar in early sources

Mugwort - Artemesia vulgaris

   Mugwort in early sources


Mullein - Verbascum thapsus

   Mullein in early sources

Nettle -Urtica dioica

   Nettle in early sources


Pennyroyal - Mentha pulegium

     Pennyroyal in early sources


Peony - Paeonia officinalis

     Peony in early sources


Plantain or Waybread - Plantago major

     Plantain in early sources


Roses - Rosa ssp.

     Roses in early sources


Tansy - Tanacetum vulgare

     Tansy in early sources


Wormwood - Artemesia absinthum

     Wormwood in early sources


Garden Folklore


   Anglo-Saxon charms

Garden guardians - from Gartenzwerg to garden gnome


The Origins of the Green Man

Other Figures Proposed as Green Man Archetypes

Medieval calendars, months, and labor

Saints for your garden



Resources for Gardeners


Online resources


A Timeline of Early Sources of information about gardens and plants (600 BCE - 1300 CE)


Gardener's Glossary

Coppicing and pollarding

Forcing plants


Heirloom plants

Historical periods

Insecticidal soap

Root division


Stem Cuttings


Willow water for cuttings


Wyrt words - Anglo-Saxon garden terminology


The gardening art

Why Garden?

Designing a medieval herb garden

Recreated medieval gardens


Garden guides

Guide to companion plants

Guide to garden tools

Guide to garden catalogs


Pests and diseases

Japanese beetle control

Gardening pesticides that are toxic to bees

A safe, non-toxic fungicide to prevent mildew and other fungal plant infection


Print resources

Early Gardens

Early plants

Historical background

Modern Gardens

Growing heirloom plants

Home | Early gardens | Early plants | Growing heirloom plants | Garden folklore | Resources | Site map


Botanists are among those who know that, in spite of the rude shocks of life,
it is well to have lived, and to have seen the everlasting beauty of the world.
F.D. Drewitt


Copyright ©2015 S.E.S. Eberly
All Rights Reserved

Contact us