|Four quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) beds are incorporated in the center of the Bonnefont Cloister Herb Garden.|
Many times, there were special instructions, even ceremonies, which were to accompany the picking of herbs. Some examples of this were the instructions that they were to be picked at sunrise, while looking towards the east, in silence, or without looking behind oneself. In addition, several herbs were associated with love, others used for cooking and seasoning, and still others for artistic purposes.
|The Cloisters is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014.|
The herbs in the Bonnefont Cloister Garden are all grouped according to their uses.
- The first group is Household Plants, including Scotch Broom, Absinthe, Cotton Thistle, Stemless Carline Thistle, Hop, Soapwort, Common Mullein, Southernwood, Fuller's Teasel, and Juniper.
- The second group of plants are those used for Medicinal purposes, as previously described. These include Avens, St. John's - Wort, Hollyhock, Birthwort, MarshMallow, Meadow Clary, Liquorice, Common Valerian, mallow, Comfrey, and Feverfew.
- The third category of herbs found in the garden is the Aromatic Plants, which consist of Lavendar, Orris, Meadowsweet, Vervain, Cupid's Dart, Costmary, and Lemon Balm. Vervain in particular, because it was thought to promote happiness, was strewn around the room in Old England.
- A fourth category of plants are Kitchen and Seasoning Plants, which include Winter Savory, Leek, Cardoon, Samphire, Chive, Small - Leaved Basil, and Red Valerian.
- The fifth category are Plants Used by Medieval Artists, consisting of golden Marguerite, Weld, Agrimony, Greater Celandine, Our - Lady's Bedstraw, Madder, Woad, Dyer's Greenweed, Alkanet, and Boxwood.
- A sixth group is Plants Associated with Love and Marriage, including the Chaste Tree, Meadow Rue, and Wild Strawberry.
- The seventh group of plants is Magic Plants, consisting of Bear's Foot, Ragged - Robin, English Ivy, Cornelian Cherry, and Herb Robert.
- An eigth group features Vegetable and Salad Plants, including Caraway, Black Mustard, Fennel, Common Tansey, Clary, Orpine, Horseradish, Skirret, Garden Sorrel, French Sorrel, Sea Holly, Borage, and Parsley. Borage was alleged to relieve and cure the mind and the body. Parsley, in particular, was thrown into fishponds in medieval times because it was thought to heal sick fish.
The Cloisters Museum and Gardens. (2014). Retrieved from, http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/history-of-the-museum/the-cloisters-museum-and-gardens
Pinder, P. (1993). Herbs in Pots, Kent: Search Press.