Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
The drought of March hath perced to the rote

Yesterday and this morning we had some rain

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Tulips are up, the early azaleas are out (though they were not present in Europe in the Middle Ages) and here are some of my more unusual daffodils(which also are not period but I wanted to have my whole collection represented.

The apple blossoms are beginning to open as well

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A battle ground

As Thos Hill would say. Piers came by with his 'plow'. Turned over and raked smooth, a good place for planting

Below, before and after

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Now the greatest variety of daffodils are out. Some are almost spent, and a few have yet to bloom

See also http://blog.metmuseum.org/cloistersgardens/2009/04/09/daffodil-affodil/

across the road, long cup

nearside road, space between petals

across the road from the barn, these had been in the trailer park

poetticus, near barn

getting old now, large cup

more with that wide spaced petals (not the correct term)

Big white overlapping saucers for bright yello cups, path from door to lawn

below the azaleas

near the deck stairs

the box elder tree round

more by the box elder tree.

in the garden proper, these came from Adams st, with the strawberries

perimiter plantings of my grandmother's, from Kearney, NJ

some surprises from Kearney, perimeter planting

Unusual doubles, not medieval, but interesting.  These were here when we bought the place.

under the privet, passed the rubbish house

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Well it was a lovely weekend, gt some work done in the plot behind the deck. Moved the violets to the edge of the beds, here we have larkspur, Melissa, flag, asparagus, daisy, meadowsweet, sedum, chamomile, hens and chicks, lavender, blueberry, rose, echinacea

Greens for the table

Turning again

So too the compost

Turning soil

Turning soil with a fork

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lost in translation

There are many challenges in medieval gardening, and reliance upon translations is surely one of them. For example:

Here are two translations of the same line from Le Menagier de Paris.

"nota that runners take root well in the same year they are planted, if they are planted with some roots"

"Note that rooted cuttings bear shoots the same year they are planted"

So if the second version is true, we have direct evidence for rooting cuttings as a method of propagation, whereas the first quote would only apply to plants that send out runners. This is not unreasonable as some plants lend themselves particularly well to this sort of thing. This is Tania Bayard's translation from her _a medieval home companion_

Greco&Rose is the first, from _the good wife's guide_ and they have an interesting footnote about this passage. The presence of the footnote indicates that they are insufficiency satisfied with their translation, but it provides additional commentary and the potential for another method of propagation

"this probably refers to offshoots of plants (suckers) that may be fastened down into the earth...they then form roots and later may be cut free, dug up, and planted elsewhere. Middle French has 'marquetz', "layers". Layer is the botanical term for a stem covered in soil for rooting; 'layering' is propagating plants in this manner."

So clearly the two translators each have a different form of propagation in mind from this original passage. So the medieval gardener has a couple of choices here. First he can learn middle French and tackle the original. Second, she could learn about each of the translators, their style and focus and awareness of horticulture in order to make an educated choice between the two translations. Third, he could just pick one by preference, personal agenda, or at random. Fourth, she could compare other contemporaneous writings to see if either propagation method is supported by other writers.

Thus without further supporting evidence, we are in a sort of gardening limbo, with a source that potentially supports two different, though both vegetative, methods of plant propagation in period.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Lavender asparagus and fennel and leek

There be lavender up by the house, and out in the big garden. Asparagus by the house nearest the old stump that's been serving as the fire pit for the last few years, and by the far vent of the greenhouse. The asparagus my mom gave me last year has not yet broke the surface. The leeks are in the main garden near the others. The fennel reseeds itself and goes deep, so I put it out in the woods where it can fend for itself. If the deer like licorice they are in for a treat, otherwise I might be in trouble!

This i put in the woods, it's a lovely plant really but it reseeds itself vigorously (or at least it did so at Merlinia's) and it's root is just huge.

Leeks old and new:
and here is where the rest of the asparagus got put, out by the greenhouse:

Oh and while I was out there I found a clump of horsetail, or scouring rush, which I thought had not made it, so that was a nice surprise

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hortus romanii

On this day did I to help Baroness Merlinia in her garden work, pulling out bronze fennel and lavender that was old and unsightly. James of York upon returning to her estates did lend a hand as well and did admire her excellencies spade. Once all was clean and good withal, then asparagus did we plant. Here is before, and after:

Sunday, April 7, 2013


This day. I did go to the house of Francios and Karin, and thereto they did have many straunge and wondrous plants, which he had gotten seed in far away places. He spake of them saying that in the warm weather they are moved without. This brings to mind the words of the Goodman of Paris who wrote this to his young wife: if you want to protect violets and marjoram against the winter cold, you must not move them suddenly from cold to heat, or from damp to cold, since keeping them a long time through the winter in a damp cellar and suddenly putting them in a dry place will cause them to perish, et sic de contrariis similibus.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Here is the tansy just poking up, I put it in the ground today. And here's the third clump of daffodil, these are in the round bed between the house and the barn. Jamie Hume is interested in certain type of these but I don't remember which ones, or where they are.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Button-making preparations

Richard had a hunk of soapstone, a nice greenish, dense stone, but it needed to be cut down into useable chunks. So Robert the Artificer to the rescue. We tried several different methods before settling in on the metal-cutting band saw. The size and shape of the block, plus the configuration o the tool required a table extension to position the stone correctly. To kleptocracy the work stable the cuts were not made all the way through the rock at first, but several were made then finished off in subsequent passes, to finally provide the uniform slabs you see here.