As well as food and medicine, the medieval garden provided pleasure, repose and refreshment to the senses. From detailed manuscript descriptions and illustrations, Sylvia Landsberg builds up a picture of the various styles of garden from the small enclosed herber with plant borders, turf benches, and rose-covered trellises, to the vast cultivated parks of royalty and nobility. Amongst the species she finds in a fifteenth-century plant inventory are the familiar violet, lily and columbine, sage, basil and sorrel, pear, apple and vine, all still available to the modern gardener.
Combining her historical knowledge with practical experience of recreating medieval gardens in various sites in England, Landsberg explains how she designed Queen Eleanor's garden at Winchester and Brother Cadfael's physic garden at Shrewsbury. She gives detailed descriptions of layouts, the measurements of beds, and the types of tools required. Landsberg also presents the marvelous medieval gardeners calendar, illustrated in the twelve 'Occupations of the Months.' Uniquely, the book offers practical advice on how to create typical medieval features, making it an interesting and unusual gift for any keen gardener.