My name is Julie Allec and I am on a work placement with the Roman Baths Collections Team as part of my MA in Museum Studies at Leicester University. As part of the placement we were asked to do a Tuesday Time Table and I chose the topic of ‘Roman gardens: their plants and uses’ as I have just recently rediscovered my love for horticulture ( the last time I was regularly active in a garden was in primary school, believe it or not!).
|Me and my Time Table|
This week will be an introduction into the Roman garden in general.
The Roman garden (hortus) has always been an important part of the family home, although it was originally a vegetable plot rather than a decorative garden. Having a ready supply of vegetables meant self-sufficiency and therefore the garden had a certain sanctity attached to it. Before tending to the garden certain Gods had to be called upon and rituals performed to avoid a failed harvest. The hortus was located next to the house for easy access and its beds were marked by raised edges. A cistern collected rain, which was used to water the garden.
Within the towns and cities of the Roman Empire space was a rare commodity, but a garden that could supply food for the family table was even more important. The first type of housing incorporating a garden in a strict manner of layout can be dated back to the 4th and 3rd century BC and was discovered at Pompeii.
Most plants found within a Roman garden either originated in one of the provinces of the Empire or came from an area that the Empire traded with.
Since my research into the Roman hortus, or garden, yielded a lot of interesting information I decided to develop separate blogs to give you an insight into: kitchen garden; plants used for medicines, wines and cordials; bee-keeping and perfume production; chaplet-making; decorative plants and plants used for religious purposes. These will be released each week on a Wednesday for the next few weeks. Today and for the next two weeks there are two per Wednesday (AM/PM) as some blogs are shorter than others - the last two will be released individually.