Archive for December, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stories from the Understory

Detail of Hazel Trees

Detail of hazel tree in The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle (from the Unicorn Tapestries), 1495–1505. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.5)

The common hazel, or Corylus avellana, is an understory tree native to Europe and western Asia and is widely distributed from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. The English name for the tree is derived from the Anglos-Saxon word haesel. The hazel appears in two critical medieval horticultural sources, the Carolingian Capitulare de Villis and in the St. Gall Plan, along with references in folklore, literature, and both Pagan and Christian traditions. The hazel is still cultivated today for its nuts, which are harvested after they have fallen from the tree in autumn. Hazelnuts are commercially grown in Oregon and Washington, although Turkey exports 75% of the world’s supply. Read more »

Friday, December 6, 2013

Going out of the garden . . .

Dear friends,

I’m leaving The Cloisters and New York City for a country life, and want to say farewell and thank you to the many thousands of visitors around the world who found their way to The Medieval Garden Enclosed over the course of the last five years and five months. Your engagement, encouragement, comments, observations, and contributions have sustained and enriched this very preliminary exploration of the medieval plant world. To those of you who wrote to say that it brought you joy, I want to say that it brought the same to me. I hope you’ll continue to visit The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, virtually and actually.

Please do look for future posts, as my colleagues carry on—a post on the medieval significance of the hazelnuts included in our holiday decorations will be coming up soon.

—Deirdre