Posts Tagged ‘lawn’

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Greatness of Green

Cloister Garth Garden

Leila Osmani, a security guard who has worked at The Cloisters for six years, gazes out into Cuxa cloister garth garden in the morning before the Museum opens. In the Middle Ages, this garden would have provided the monks with refreshment and nourishment.

In the Middle Ages the color green symbolized rebirth, life, everlasting life, nature, and spring. I think it is fair to say that these attributions hold true to this day.

The twelfth-century mystic and theologian Hugh of St. Victor believed that green was the “most beautiful of all the colours” and a “symbol of Spring and an image of rebirth.” His theory was supported by William of Auvergne, who said the color “lies halfway between white, which dilates the eye, and black, which makes it contract,” creating a calm sensation, especially when viewed in great expanse.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Keeping it Green

The Lawn at Cuxa Cloister Clover in the Cuxa Cloister Lawn

Left: A bird’s-eye view of Cuxa Cloister. Each quadrant of the garden contains a grass plot bordered with herbs and flowers. Right: Clover is planted in the lawn to provide several horticultural and ecological benefits.

In the spring of 2008, we began renovating the lawns in Cuxa Cloister by thoroughly removing the old grass with a thatch rake. We then added three inches of a mixture of topsoil and compost and raked them evenly. This was followed with a seeding of grass mixed with white clover (Trifolium repens). A thin layer of salt hay was then laid down to help retain water and protect the seed from birds. During this early stage, it is of the utmost importance to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. (Salt hay is preferable to hay as a mulch because it is free of weeds.) Once a lawn is established, however, it is best to water it as infrequently as possible. Most turf professionals recommend infrequent but deep irrigation to ensure the roots are thoroughly watered. There are many ways to conserve water in the maintenance of lawns. The most effective way is to choose the proper grass for your environment. Read more »

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Medieval Lawn

Cuxa lawn with English daisies (2003) Virgin and Child with Four Angels, ca. 1510-15 Bellis perennis

Above, from left to right: English daisies introduced into the garth garden in Cuxa Cloister some years ago; a realistic representation of the garth of a Carthusian monastery by Gerard David; the English daisy, Bellis perennis.

The sight is in no way so pleasantly refreshed as by fine and close grass kept short. It is impossible to produce this except with rich and firm soil; so it behoves the man who would prepare the site . . . first to clear it well from the roots of weeds, which can scarcely be done unless the roots are first dug out and the site levelled, and the whole well-flooded with boiling water, so that the fragments of roots and seeds remaining . . . may not by any means sprout forth. Then the whole plot is to be covered with rich turf of flourishing grass, the turves beaten down with broad wooden mallets and the plants of grass trodden into the ground . . . . For then little by little they may spring forth closely and cover the surface like a green cloth.

Albertus Magnus, De Vegetalibus, translated by John Harvey in Medieval Gardens, 1981.

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