Provan Hall Perterre

This evening, I am posting information on the recreated Medieval Garden at Provan Hall in Glasgow, Scotland which is themed on the 15th and 16th centuries.

During the medieval period herbs and other plants were a resource for a wide range of medicinal, culinary and other essential day-to-day uses. During this period gardens were a collection of plants divided into separate raised beds with no distinction between flowers, vegetables or plants.

Herb plants were used for seasoning, dying fabrics, flavourings,ornaments and cooking, Other beds contained physic herbs for medicines or religious ceremonies.

Different parts of the plant ( e.g. roots, petals, seeds, juice or leaves) were utilised for appropriate ailments. Applications were:

  • Tisanes and conserves.
  • Seasoning.
  • Bug deterrent.
  • Perfumes¬† (Rosemary)
  • Ointments (Rosemary)
  • Soaps and perfumes (Rosemary)
  • Flavourings (Rosemary)
  • Boils (Rosemary)
  • Gout (Rosemary)
  • Jaundice (Rosemary)
  • Epilepsy (Rosemary)

The natural world was also a source of colours for paints and dyes, viz:

  • Blue: Elderberry.
  • Purple: Lichen Vocell¬†Tinctoria.
  • Green: Buckthorn.

Uses of specific herbs are summarised below.

Sage: Used for medicinal and culinary purposes. oils have astringent and antiseptic properties used to smooth mouth sores, sore throats and as anti-perspirant. Sage was introduced for food flavouring in the 17th century.

Lavender: introduced to Britain by the Romans.All parts of the plant ( except petals) contains oils which since ancient times have been distilled into perfumes, bath oils, varnishes, syrups, cordials and preserves. Lavender flowers were eaten in salads, candied into sweets and dried for pot-pourri and wardrobe bouquets.

Marjoram: Leaves made a soothing tea and helped to soften taste of over acid beer. This herb was also added to salads, pressed against bruises and rheumatic swellings to relieve pain. The flower heads were used to produce a purple dye which was used on linen.

Thyme: Also known as Serpulium ( serpent like). Thyme was used as a pot herb in conjunction with savoury and mint and infused into a soothing and digestive tea.

Mint: Used to inhibit milk curdling in kitchen and stomach. Contains camphor in the flowers which was used for bathing, perfumes and digestive purposes. Als used as flavouring for meat dishes.

Provan Hall Parterre, Glasgow, Scotland

Provan Hall Parterre, Glasgow, Scotland

Provan Hall Parterre, Glasgow, Scotland

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