A Guide to Medieval Gardens by Michael Brown

A Guide to Medieval Gardens by Michael Brown* is a very good guide indeed. It covers all sorts of aspects of medieval gardens, from what was considered to be a weed to how they were presented in artworks, what were the constituent features of these gardens, and even the tools they used.
There are so many pictures in the book, showing both gardens, but also tools, which were very helpful to create a clear picture of what was involved.

Studying them is not easy, of course, as there are a limited number of accounts, documents, and books still in existence. Also, it was interesting to read that it’s not clear from the name and the description of some of the plants, what they really were. The names changed in the last 600 years, just as other words changed their meaning (e.g. incontinence). Some archaeological research is needed too, but that comes with its problems too, as many seeds did not survived from that period.

A Guide to Medieval Gardens by Michael Brown

The last chapter deals with what was expected of medieval gardeners, what were their tasks, by month. It was fascinating to read. I also loved reading about some medieval tips, which were pretty incredible, but some are really good.

I gave it 4.5 stars because it had some details based on religion that I think they are wrong and they did not make sense mentioning in the book anyway. Also, the details on dealing with the so-called pests was a bit strange, maybe too graphic for a book of this nature. Overall, these were only a few minor details that did not impede the enjoyment of the book, hence me highly recommending it.

A Guide to Medieval Gardens by Michael Brown

Details about the picture: not in a medieval garden, but a suitable location nonetheless
My rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: White Owl
Year it was published: 2022
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History – Medieval
Pages: 176

About the author: Michael Brown has an MA in Garden History and he is also an experienced gardener. He became a qualified gardener and worked his way up to become a Head Gardener and later a college lecturer teaching horticulture and garden history. He created the medieval gardens at the Prebendal Manor at Nassington, Northamptonshire. This book is the result of some of his research of medieval gardens and the uses of the plants at that period. He has also assisted with several other early garden projects.
Other book: Death in the Garden (2018).
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of A Guide to Medieval Gardens by Michael Brown for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

2 thoughts on “A Guide to Medieval Gardens by Michael Brown”

    • There were some drawings, but mainly pictures. The drawings included a map of a monastery, so it might not be detailed enough. But there are some pretty useful things regarding things like turf seats, which I found fascinating and those can be incorporated into a modern garden.

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