Medieval garden - Antico Spedale Bigallo | English

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It was the famous medieval herbalist Hildergard of Bingen’s collection of herbs from which the specimens of the aromatic and medicinal sort for the medieval Bigallo herb garden were chosen.

The herbalist’s collection was complete with descriptions of the virtues and powers of every species, other than their pharmacological qualities.

The plants at Bigallo are cultivated in raised rectangular beds, 1.2 by 9.3 m in dimension, bordered by woven chestnut branches, just as was used in the Middle Ages.

The plants present include the Rubia Tinctorum (dyer’s madder), called such because of the purplish red color that can be extracted from its roots, still used today for dying hair and fabric and was once used by painters. We can also find the Saponaria officinalis (soapword), from which an excellent soap for delicate fabrics can be extracted from the roots.



In the garden, the monk grows flowers for the church, herbs for the pharmacy and vegetables for the kitchen.

The walls of each garden are the limit of each cell and this reminds us particularly of the meaning of Hortus Conclusus.

The gardens, which previously served only to provide vegetables to the community, began to be adorned with flowers and flower beds and the monks tended to gather there outdoors on beautiful summer days, when walking and intimately conversing with God



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