Henry the Poets Garden in July
Some of the flowers in Henry the Poet's garden in June
Some years ago the gardens were established to represent both the practical and decorative features that could be found in a high status garden between the 13th and 15th centuries. Alan Titchmarsh described the gardens as a "stunning example of a recreated medieval garden". ( Royal Gardeners Pub., BBC, 2003). In the last few years the gardens have been adapated beyond the Medieval structures and planting to provide a longer flowering season which can be enjoyed by our wedding and corporate event guests.
Echoes of the medieval layout still remain, however. So you will find plants that were selected from several plant lists including the earliest English gardening book by 'Jon Gardener' and a 15th century 'Leech Book', that contains the sort of medical recipes that Nicholas Colnet, who was physician to Henry 5th during the Agincourt campaign in 1415. He was given the Prebendal Manor in 1417, probably in return for his services.
The Square Garden of Henry the Poet is based on the 'Square Garden of Henry the Poet'. Henry was most likely to have been, 'Henricus Anglicus', who is known to have travelled to Naples and many other places. Henry Daniel praising him as 'Doctor and noble poet', quoted his writing on herbal recipes.
Henry's plant list tells what was grown on each of four sides of his garden. Where there is any uncertainty as to which plant is meant in the original documents, then the possible alternatives have been planted.
The ephemeral beauty of gardens was noted by many medieval poets:
'Now shrinketh rose and lilye-flour,
That whilen ber that swete savour.
In somer, that swete tide.'