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Medieval Garden (Gift Books)


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How does one write about gardens that no longer exist? Landsberg, a garden historian and lecturer who has designed several 13th to 16th century-style gardens, re-creates medieval gardens by analyzing contemporary manuscripts and art, the results of recent archaeological studies, and the few remaining fragments of gardens and surviving horticultural practices from that period. She includes dozens of reproductions of medieval illuminated manuscripts, paintings, etchings, and woodcuts to illustrate gardens from the time of Charlemagne to the beginning of Renaissance gardens in England. These are fleshed out with hypothetical plans and diagrams pieced together from documentary sources, poetry, and texts on cookery, medicine, and social life. The lists of plants included in the gardens are deduced from the visual evidence but are mainly taken from the work of John Harvey (e.g., Medieval Gardens, 1982) who unambiguously equated almost every medieval plant name with plants still available. The last third of the book discusses re-creating medieval gardens and provides a list of gardens to visit, some of them designed by the author. Recommended for all gardening history collections.‘Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art Lib., New York

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