Medieval Monday: Pleasure Gardens

Allison D. Reid

pleasure gardenThe last couple of posts have been about summer activities in the Middle Ages, from the hard labor of harvesting crops, to the diversions of games. There was another summer pleasure for those in the upper classes of medieval society; recreational gardens. Not every garden was planted strictly for food or herbs, nor even for meditation as some of the monastic gardens were. Some were kept purely for pleasure, and they were designed “not for fruitfulness, but to delight the senses of sight and smell.”

They were usually walled and had a park-like atmosphere, possibly including a structure meant to be a summer home, where the nobility could go to find relaxation away from the main manor or castle. Very large estates might even have separate gardens, one for the lord or king, and one for the lady or queen.

Pleasure gardens had a diversity of trees, not only for…

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