My Newest Addition- The Medieval Garden

I solved the age-old gardening question for my newest garden at the park- What shall I plant in this new garden? It seems like such a harmless question, until you start reading garden catalogs, looking through magazines, such as Horticulture and visiting garden centers. Then you realize that without a plan of attack, your garden may look like a discombobulated mess. 

I decided to focus on Medieval and Marian plants for this new garden space. I was inspired by a trip to the Cloisters in New York and my long time interest in history. It is pretty exciting, to me at least, to read about the origins of plants, how they got their names and how the plants were used in the past.

A very young garden. I added six bags of manure early in the spring, pulled weeds and edged a bit. I am leaving the ornamental grass. So far I added Apothecary's Rose, Rosemary, Lavender, St. John's Wart and Forget-Me-Not.
Cloisters in New York

I soon found out that adding Medieval plants will be a challenge. I did not want to rely on catalogs for acquiring my plant (I have nothing against catalogs, I just like to visit my local garden centers, it is a part of the gardening process I thoroughly enjoy) and most garden centers carry the latest and greatest varieties of plants. Therefore, my quest to acquire Pulmonaria officinalis, one of the plants on my design list,  came up short. So I had to pause and ask myself, do I want to create a true Medieval garden with varieties they would have been used in the day, or do I take my design inspiration from the period and use more recent varieties of plants?
Cloisters, New York
I decided to use what I could find. The garden is at a park so I cannot check on it before and after work each day like I would if it was in my backyard. I began to think a few manmade improvements in the plants my help them survive in less than ideal conditions.  There  is one very exciting exception to the rule- Apothecary' Rose. A very generous Face Book friend has this growing in her garden and sent me some roots. They are flourishing! I have a  feeling this will be my only true Medieval plant, making it the highlight of the garden.


  1. Keep me posted on the progress. I have been waiting to hear something.

  2. Kathy as you can see, it is still pretty young! The plot has a lot of plants from previous years coming up that were not there last year, perhaps due to lack of rain. I will be adding plants this weekend!!