Friday, May 27, 2016

The Herbal in England

From Margaret Porter:
When foul weather or other matters keep the gardener from tending or admiring the garden, the next best occupation is reading about garden plants. For many centuries, plantsmen with a cataloguing mindset have produced lists, descriptions, guides, and advice. The growth of printing expanded knowledge about plants and their various uses and merits, disseminating information beyond the most learned classes to anyone who happened to be literate.

During the Middle Ages in England, religious communities compiled the sort of lists we know as herbals, detailing their medicinal uses. The composition of plants and the beauty of flowers was recorded in florilegia, books containing floral artwork. With the rise of printed books in the Renaissance period, with improvements in the printing process, metal engraving, and the skills of colourists, this category of literature and plant lore increased in availability and popularity.
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