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Paradise in Four Walls: Gardens at the Cloisters A Unit for Sixth Grade Emily Munro

Museum as a Resource: MET Workshop Ardina Greco 12/31/2011

Paradise in Four Walls Introduction

Program Introduction

Gardens played a central role in the lives of all medieval people but historians can often only speculate about what was grown and the methods with which they were cultivated. Monasteries with their carefully cultivated and occasionally documented gardens provide much of the modern worlds knowledge about what was grown and how it was used during the years between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance. The cloister garden, at the heart of the monastery, symbolized both the Garden of Eden and the Heavenly paradise that was the goal of all monks. The garden was also deeply practical as a source of food, medicine, ink and pigments and the success of the gardens often dictated the success or failure of isolated monastic communities. While much information about these gardens has been lost, some survives in the form of Herbals, books listing the medical uses of plants and how they were to be cultivated. Some images of gardens also survive in illuminations, tapestries, paintings and stained glass. This unit has been designed to introduce students to the important role played by plants and gardens in the lives of medieval peoples. Focused around principals of observation and inquiry, the unit poses questions such as What was grown in a medieval garden? and How did medieval gardeners use what they grew? The unit consists of a tour of the recreation medieval cloister gardens at the Cloisters in Manhattan followed by two in-class lessons. This unit invites students to connect their experience at the Cloisters to their own lives and to other disciplines; particularly Social Studies, Science and English Language Arts. The hour-and-a-half long tour takes students on an exploration of the medieval garden by experiencing the Cloisters recreations of medieval gardens. The students begin in the Cuxa cloister where the main question is Why did medieval people need gardens? Students then move to the Bonnefont Cloister where the inquiry focuses on What did the monks grow in their gardens? Lastly they view one of the Cloisters treasures, the Unicorn Tapestries, which depict hundreds of medieval plants to observe how plants and gardens were depicted by medieval artisans. The first in-class lesson asks students to become medieval herbalists for an hour. Students develop their observation skills by illustrating a medieval herb still commonly used today. Students then match their sample to illustrations from a period herbal and decipher descriptions of their medieval uses from a translation of Hidlegard von Bingens classic herbal Physisca. In the second in-class lesson students examine examples of other types of medieval gardens, the peasants vegetable garden and the nobles pleasure garden. Students compare and contrast the gardens and then decide how they would design a garden of their own. Students choose between drawing a ground plan or a pictorial plan of the gardens they designed.

Paradise in Four Walls Unit Title: Paradise in Four Walls: Gardens at the Cloisters

Program Outline Grade Level: Sixth

Overall Objectives: y Students will describe what they see using multiple details. y Students will learn that gardens played an important role in the lives of medieval peoples and that gardens provided many useful products including food, medicines, spices, and dyes. Cloisters Garden Tour (aprox: 90min) Focus Objects: the Cuxa cloister garden, the Bonnefont cloister garden, The Unicorn in Captivity Tapestry Objectives: y Students will describe the garden in detail. y Students will learn that medieval peoples planted different types of gardens for different purposes and that the plants they grew had many different uses. Lesson 1: Medieval Medicinals (approx: 60-90min) Focus Objects: Excerpts from Yale Medical Library Manuscript 18 [Herbarium Apuleii and other works] *see resources* Objectives: y Students will describe plants in detail and use those descriptions to identify their plant using primary source documents. y Students will learn than many common herbs still used today were believed to have medicinal properties by medieval and renaissance scholars. Lesson 2: Design Your Own Garden (approx 60-90min) Focus Objects: Images and ground plans for the Cuxa and Bonnefont Cloisters, Image of a medieval peasants garden, image of a pleasure garden Objective: y Students will learn that the need for gardens existed for all medieval people and that different types of gardens were planted for different purposes. y Students will design, illustrate, and write about a garden of their own invention. New York City Standards Covered Visual Arts: Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts Standard 2: Knowing and Using Art Materials and Resources Standard 3: Responding and Analyzing Works of Art Standard 4: Understanding Cultural Contributions to the Arts

Language Arts: Standard 1: Language for information and Understanding Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction Social Studies: Standard 2: World History

Paradise in Four Walls

Cloisters Tour

Cloisters Medieval Gardens Tour


Objectives: y Students will describe what they see using multiple details. y Students will learn that gardens played an important role in the lives of medieval peoples and that gardens provided many useful products including medicines, spices, and dyes. Introduction: Main Hall or Romanesque Hall T: I want to welcome everyone to the Cloisters, our very own medieval building in Manhattan. Has anyone heard the story of how the cloisters came to be in Manhattan? A sculptor named George Gray Barnard traveled all throughout France and collected bits and pieces of medieval buildings, especially monasteries. John D. Rockefeller Jr., who also donated to the Metropolitan museum, decided he wanted a place where everyone could see George Gray Barnards collection, so he donated the land and had an architect design the building were in now bit to show not only the art, but the architecture of the buildings that were collected as well. T: I know that youve all been studying the medieval cultures in school. What have you been learning about? Has your teacher told you why youve come to the Cloisters today? y Today were going to talk about medieval gardens and why they were important to medieval people. Stop 1: Cuxa Cloister Goal Students will understand that gardens played an essential role in the lives of medieval people. Objective Students will describe the garden in detail. Students will learn that medieval peoples planted different types of gardens for different purposes. Inquiry question: What types of gardens did medieval people plant? Dialouge T: Lets take a look around this garden. How would you describe it? If you were to go home today and someone asked what was that garden like? what would you tell them? T: What purpose do you think this garden had? Introduce Information y This garden is arranged with typical cross shaped paths quartering the garden and a columned portico surrounding the garden. What reasons can you think of for this arrangement? (symbolic of the cross, allowed people to get to the fountain) y Many cloister plans feature a fountain at the center such as the one here from the monastery of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines. What reasons can you think of to include a fountain at the center of the garden? y The word paradise comes from the Latin word paradisus or the Greek word paradeisos meaning park or garden.

Paradise in Four Walls

Cloisters Tour

Stop 2: Bonnefont Garden Exploration Goal Students will understand that gardens played an essential role in the lives of medieval people. Objective Students will learn that medieval gardens served different purposes such as providing food, medicine and dyes. Students will learn that many plants were believed to have medicinal properties and that some in fact did have such properties. Inquiry question: What was grown in a medieval garden and why? Dialogue T: So here we are in a different type of garden. I want everyone to look around for a bit and then tell me what you notice about the garden. S: Lots of kinds of plants. Walls around the garden. Some plants are in pots, some are in the ground. T: Everyone will need a partner for this next bit. (Hand out small sheets of paper and pencils) I want you to walk around the gardens with a partner and find three plants you know of or recognize and write their names down on your papers. I also want you to find three plants you dont recognize and write down their names. Youll have five minutes to look around. I will get your attention when its time to come back. Remember not to touch the plants. T: So what plants did everyone recognize? S: Strawberries, oranges, peppers, carrots T: What plants did you find that you didnt recognize? S: Feverfew, mugwort, quince, vervain T: Did anyone notice anything new about the garden while you were walking around? S: Lots of birds in the garden. Some of the fruits are really small. Plants are in groups based on how they were used. T: What groups did you notice? S: Medicinal plants, Poisonous plants, plants you can eat Introduce information: y This garden grows only plants that would have been used during the middle ages. It is organized into different beds based on what the plants were used for. y The medicinal bed: These plants here were all used to treat different diseases. Many of them were also used to create modern medicines until synthetics were developed. You might recognize some of them. Who likes licorice? How about marshmallows? Both take their flavors from the roots of plants originally used for medicinal purposes. y Kitchen plants: The plants in this bed are mostly still used today as seasonings. You might recognize some of them: thyme, mint, rosemary, and basil all grow here. Others are not as common anymore, like scotch broom, which is used to make brooms and brushes, and soapwort which was used as you guessed it soap for washing clothing. y Artists plants: The plants in this bed were all used to make various dyes or pigments. There are three plants here that well talk about a little later. The first is woad, which is

Paradise in Four Walls

Cloisters Tour

used to make a blue dye. The others are madder, which is used to make a red color, and weld which makes a yellow color. Stop 3: The Unicorn in Captivity Tapestry Goal: Students will understand that plants were both used in the production of and often portrayed in medieval art. Objective: Students will learn that tapestries were a common medieval art form and that plants often were a principal decorative motif in medieval art. Students will learn that plants provided the dyes for all types of fabrics and that different colors were obtained by combining dyes. Inquiry Question: How did medieval artists use plants in their art? Were going to start by looking at this tapestry for a minute and thinking about how the artists used plants in this image. How did the artists use plants in this image? Lets take a closer look at some of those plants now. Youre going to split up into groups of two. Im going to hand out drawing supplies. One person is going to draw first and the other will describe first. The drawer will stand with their back to the tapestry while the describer picks one plant to describe. Think about how you will need to describe your plant. How many stems does it have? What shape are the flowers? Drawers might want to listen for a little bit before they begin drawing. After a couple of minutes I will tell you when it is time to switch. Try to describe the plant the entire time so that you get a really good impression of it. (It will probably be necessary for students to spread out to other tapestries in the room for this activity) y Let's share some of the details we noticed. What did you notice? Encourage the students not to point, but rather to describe as precisely as possible where in the image what they are describing occurs. Introduce information: y This tapestry is known as the unicorn in captivity. It is woven of silk and wool with gold and silver threads for highlights. If you look closely you can see how the weavers used many different colors of threads to make the tapestry. In order to make the tapestries plain wool yarns were stretched between two beams of a large loom. These threads were called the warp. Weavers then took the dyed threads and wove them over and under the warp threads to add the color. It probably took three weavers a year or more to make this one piece of work. y Every single thread in this tapestry was dyed with plant materials, most of them with a combination of the three plants we saw outside: woad, which makes a blue color, madder, which produces a reddish color and weld, which makes a yellow color. These three colors were mixed together with the help of mordants, substances that make the dye stick to the thread, to make up all the colors used in the tapestry. I'm going to pass around cards with

Paradise in Four Walls

Cloisters Tour

examples - Pass around cards with dried dyes and silk thread samples - one card-woven image of a flower to show weaving process. Closure: Close the tour in either in front of the Unicorn Tapestries or back in the Cuxa cloister depending on time. Ask the students to reflect on their experiences. y y y At the beginning of the tour I asked you to think of different types of gardens. What do you know about gardens now that you didnt know when we started? Why do you think gardens were important to people in the middle ages? Did anything you learned today change your previous ideas about the middle ages?

Paradise in Four Walls

Lesson 1: Medieval Medicinals

Lesson 1: Medieval Medicinals


Description: In this lesson students work in small groups to describe and identify plants used by medieval herbalists. Students then consult primary source documents to identify some of the ways the plants were once used. Objective: Students will describe plants in detail and use those descriptions to identify their plant using primary source documents. Students will learn than many common herbs still used today were believed to have medicinal properties by medieval and renaissance scholars. Materials: *see end of unit plan for resources Unlabeled potted plants or stem and leaf samples of at least three of the following plants, enough for each group to have at least one sample: Parsley, Rosemary, Mint, Dill, Thyme, Chamomile, Comfrey, Germander Color copies of the five Italian Herbal pages one set for each group Herb names and descriptions sheet, cut into strips one set for each group Drawing paper, drawing pencils, colored pencils for each student Dialogue: T: Hello everyone, I hope you remember me from your tour of the cloisters gardens. Today were going to continue learning about how medieval people used plants. What were some of the uses medieval people had for plants that we talked about on the tour? T: Today were going to delve deeper into the world of the medieval herbalist, a person who studied all the uses of plants. I have with me several types of plants that were used by medieval doctors and herbalists to treat patients. The first thing we need to do is identify which plants we have. To do this we first need to observe the plants as closely as possible. Separate students into teams of 4-5 and place an unlabeled herb at each group. Ask the students to begin by describing the plants. Use one plant as an example and work as a class to describe leaves, color, flowers, one stem or many? Get students to be as specific as they can: not just many leaves, but many small, thin leaves that grow directly from the stem, ect. Then have students go around in thier groups and describe one aspect of their sample each. One person in each group should be the recorder and write down the descriptions each group comes up with. Allow enough time for groups to go around with descriptions twice. T: Would any group like to share what they observed about their plant? T: Excellent observations everyone. [Hand out drawing paper and pencils] I want everyone to spend about ten minutes drawing your samples. As you are drawing, see if there is anything you would add to your description.

Paradise in Four Walls

Lesson 1: Medieval Medicinals

T: Our next task is to identify our plants. To do this Ive brought in images from a 14th century Italian herbal, a book which depicts and describes the uses of herbs. Have students pass each illustration around their group noticing the similarities and differences between their plant and the image. Then have students think about which images match their plant most closesly. Consider how the leaves attach to the stems, what shapes the leaves are, what flowers the plant has, etcetera. Once the students have identified their plant, give that group the printout of Hildegard von Binhams herbal, and have the students start identifying uses for their plant and writing those next to their own illustration. When all groups have identified uses for their plants, ask each group to share what their plant is and what they learned about it.

Alternative: If color copies are an issue, one set may be used and students can be asked to compare and contrast their own drawings to the medieval illustration of their plant.

Extension: Have students research other historical herbalists such as Nicholas Culpepper (whose books are also available online) and compare the uses they describe for each plant.

Paradise in Four Walls

Lesson 2: A Garden of Your Own

Lesson 2: A Garden of Your Own


Description: In this lesson students view examples of other types of medieval gardens and compare and contrast them to the gardens they viewed on the tour. Students then design and illustrate a garden of their own based on what they have learned about gardens. Objective: Students will learn that the need for gardens existed for all medieval people and that different types of gardens were planted for different purposes. Students will design, illustrate, and write about a garden of their own invention. Materials: *see end of unit plan for resources Projector and computer to display focus images Graph paper, drawing paper, drawing pencils, colored pencils for each student Dialogue: T: Today we are going to compare different types of gardens and then you will all design a garden of your own. First lets take another look at images of the gardens we saw on our tour. Then well take a look at some other types of medieval gardens. Display images of the Cuxa and Bonnefont gardens and ask students to describe what they remember about the gardens. Introduce information y The Cuxa and Bonnefont gardens are examples of formal monastic gardens. The raised planting beds, wattle fences, and central fountains and wells of the gardens are all characteristics typically found in medieval monastic gardens. The fruit trees which surround the garden are also typical since many monasteries were surrounded by orchards. y [Display kitchen garden image] Other types of gardens also existed, although we know much less about what they looked like exactly. One type of garden was the peasants kitchen garden. This garden was strictly for growing food and herbs that the peasants might need. It was typically surrounded by a wattle fence made of woven willow branches to keep out wandering farm animals. Monasteries also had such gardens to provide food for the monks. [Display pleasure garden] The wealthy on the other hand could afford to plant huge beautiful pleasure gardens. These were usually flower gardens often with boxwood hedges in intricate designs like you see here. In the summer the pleasure garden was a place for the

Paradise in Four Walls

Lesson 2: A Garden of Your Own

nobles to relax outside, eat, play games, and great nobles and kings would even hold court in their extensive gardens. Activity: Before we set out to draw our gardens, lets do a little planning first. y What types of gardens have we talked about? What type of garden are you going to design? y What types of plants are going to go in your garden? y We saw some animals visiting the Bonnefont garden. What types of animals will visit your garden? What types of people would you find there? y What would it be like to visit your garden? What sounds would you hear? What would you smell? y Make two or three sketches of your garden on the scratch paper. Will you draw a ground plan or a garden scene? When you are ready go ahead and start drawing your garden. Summary/Reflection Close the class by asking some of the students to describe what it would be like to visit their gardens. Why did they choose that type of garden to draw?

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Resources: Lesson 1

Resources for Lesson 1 Because the following images are quite large, they have been included as hyperlinks. Hold down control and click the blue text to be taken to the images. Chamomile and Germander: http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/librarian?ITEMBREAK=YM18F17&SIZE=1.2&INUM=0 Thyme: http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/librarian?ITEMBREAK=YM18F39V&SIZE=1.2&INUM=0 Comfrey and Parsley: http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/librarian?ITEMBREAK=YM18F47&SIZE=1.2&INUM=0 Rosemary: http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/librarian?ITEMBREAK=VM2F78&SIZE=1.2&INUM=0 Mint and Dill: http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/librarian?ITEMBREAK=YM18F45V&SIZE=1.2&INUM=0

Some of the corresponding excerpts of Hildegard von Bingens Physica can be found here: Thyme: (begins middle of page)
http://books.google.com/books?id=wl6w2cfCKTgC&pg=PA95&dq=hildegard+von+bingen+thyme&hl=en &sa=X&ei=dIP_TqfTL-SJiALYxsmtDg&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Parsley:
http://books.google.com/books?id=wl6w2cfCKTgC&pg=PA42&dq=Hildegard+von+bingen+parsley&hl=e n&sa=X&ei=7oT_TreHIuSciQK87YiCCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Mint:
http://books.google.com/books?id=wl6w2cfCKTgC&pg=PA45&dq=hildegard+von+bingen+mint&hl=en& sa=X&ei=-4P_TqusCMOOiAKl5dGLBg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Dill:
http://books.google.com/books?id=wl6w2cfCKTgC&pg=PA41&dq=Hildegard+von+bingen+dill&hl=en&s a=X&ei=xoT_To-NPMSWiALmo7GXDQ&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

*Note* The rest of the plants used in this lesson also have listings in Hidegards book, however I have used up my allotted time on Google books looking at them and now cannot get the urls. If I were to actually do this lesson, I would photo copy each excerpt from the 2001 translation of the Physica which is available through most public libraries.

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Resources: Lesson 2

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Paradise in Four Walls Previous page Top Left: Cuxa Garden Bottom Left: Cuxa Garden Top Right: Bonnefont Garden Bottom Right: Bonnefont Garden Plan

Resources: Lesson 2

This Page Left: The Unicorn in Captivity, circa 1495-1505, Metropolitan Museum Collection Bottom: Example of a Peasant s Vegetable Garden Kitchen Garden, Sissingherst Castle, Kent England Next Page: Example of a Pleasure Garden Ladies Garden, Broughton Castle in England

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Resources: Lesson 2

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Additional Resources

Additional Resources The Cloisters Gardens: y The Medieval Garden Enclosed: The Cloisters Garden Blog http://blog.metmuseum.org/cloistersgardens/category/gardening-at-the-cloisters/ y List of plants in the Bonnefont Garden: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/medny/herbgdn1.html Medicinal Uses of Herbs y A Modern Herbal Online uses of herbs: http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/mgmh.html y More on medieval gardens http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/medievalgardens.htm y More on Hildegard von Bingen: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/hildegarde.asp y UCLA Archive of Medieval Medical Images includes the Italian Herbal used in Lesson 1 and several more http://digital.library.ucla.edu/immi/

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