The gardens of the lords and the monks, the medieval garden world
The medieval world was animated by thinking that was as distant from the naturalism of the Roman Antiquity as from the Cartesianism of the early modern period. Analogy, allegory and symbolism prevailed equally in the conception of the world as in the organisation of gardens. Garden of simples, cloister garden, monks’ vegetable garden, ‘prado’ and orchard of courtly love, ‘hortus conclusus’ for poets and painters, always obeying to an order where symbols where as important as tamed nature.
Bernard Beck is a qualified university professor and a doctor in history, who has taught modern history and the history of art in Caen. He is the author of several articles focusing on medieval gardens (but also on a study of the Château de Bénouville and its critical fate in the late 17th century). His home is in Hambye Abbey, a 12th and 13th century Benedictine abbey in Manche.