In this third and last post on the Priory gardens of Quimper, I am featuring the back of the garden (shown on the left of the map) where edibles are grown, as well as those plants used for making and coloring clothing.
Work on this garden was started in 1997 to create a medieval garden in the style of a convent garden in the days of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514). The population at the time resorted to plants for most of their needs: food, medicine and clothing.
The garden has three essential components. The medicinal and herb garden, used by monks to make their own remedies from plants not readily available in the surrounding areas and therefore grown in the garden.
The edible garden: nutritious roots, fruit, fresh or dried, beans, barley, and other garden crops made up the menu of the time.
The tinctorial garden grew plants used for clothing such as hemp, linen or catharmus which was used for red coloring.
Note also that the medival garden is a representation of Paradise, with the fountain in the center representing the pure source from which the four rivers of Eden originate. Plants such as white lilies and other white flowers represent the virgin.
In this first post, I am featuring the front portion of the garden, with the medicinal and herb section.
This is one of the loveliest gardens in this style I have had the chance to visit and it was also awarded “Jardin Remarquable” (remarkable garden”. It was designed not only for function but also form, with a pavilion, arbors, pergolas, benches in cozy nooks, decorative borders for raised beds, woven Plessis, and a fountain, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It also overlooks the river Odet, making it a truly enchanting setting.
I came across a lovely medieval style garden in the town of Blain in southern Brittany (France). The beds are bordereded with a traditional edging of woven branches. Some are used to grow vegetables, others have aromatics or medicinal plants of all kinds, as well as some old fashioned and all but forgotten plants. The garden is still fairly young, but grapevines are growing along the wall, as well as on the arbor behind.
Woven edging is called “bordure en Plessis” in French, and is most commonly done using willow, because the twigs or branches are both long and very flexible. Wicker is also fairly common especially for tighter and more even weaves. Hazelnut branches may on occasion be used as well for a more rustic look.