Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall Garden Day

Fall Garden Day: Bonnefont Herb Garden

Carol Schuler, a garden lecturer at The Cloisters, discussed autumn in the medieval agricultural year. One component of her presentation in Bonnefont herb garden was about cultivating hops, an aggressive climbing bine seen growing in this photograph, which was used in medieval beer brewing. Photograph by Nancy Wu

We were graced with beautiful weather last Saturday, October 5, as we hosted our first Fall Garden Day, devoted to discussions on medieval gardening and the medieval harvest. Visitors enjoyed wonderful talks and activities led by staff and lecturers, whose discussions ranged from seed collecting to medieval beekeeping. This special Fall Garden Day was organized to celebrate The Cloisters’ seventy-fifth anniversary, and was a fine complement to our annual Spring Garden Day, which explored medieval fruit. Come visit the gardens while this pleasant fall weather continues!

Fall Garden Day: Beekeeping

Visitors who participated in Fall Garden Day greatly enjoyed the presentation by Roger Repohl, a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable beekeeper. Roger discussed honeybees and beekeeping in the Middle Ages. Photograph by Nancy Wu

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gaining Grain

July page from the <em>Belles Heures</em> July Activity: Reaping Grain The Zodiacal Sign of Leo

Above, from left to right: Calendar page for July from the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 1405–1408/1409. Pol, Jean, and Herman de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France, by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1); detail of the activity for the month; detail of the zodiacal symbol Leo. See the Collection Database to learn more about this work of art.

“No tempest, good Julie,” said Thomas Tusser. In Tusser’s sixteenth-century English, “July” rhymed with “truly”—as it did until the mid-eighteenth century. (The Oxford Companion to the Year, 1999). If the midsummer storms did not spoil the crops, the farmer could count himself lucky. (For charms against bad weather, see “Midsomer Magick,” June 23.)

The great event of the medieval summer was the harvest. A poor yield meant privation for the whole cycle of the year to come. By July the grain stores of the last harvest were depleted. In the great fourteenth-century poem Piers Plowman, Piers speaks of staving off hunger with a vegetable diet of parsley, leeks, and cabbages, supplemented with a little cream and some cheese, until the grain in his barn can be replenished at Lammas, the first of August. Read more »