The Flowery Mead in a Medieval Garden

The flowery mead is one of the essential components in all our perceptions of a medieval garden. Fourteenth century poet Giovanni Boccaccio (b. Paris, 1313; d. Certaldo 1375) in his Decameron of 1348 painted a vivid picture of what a villa and garden of a wealthy Florentine was like. The Cocharelli manuscript from the late fourteenth century shows members of the nobility standing beside a marble fountain in a garden planted with figs, oranges, pomegranates and grape vines resembling Boccacio’s description ‘in the midst of the garden a lawn of very fine grass, so green it seemed nearly black, coloured with perhaps a thousand kind of flowers…shut in with very green citrus and orange trees bearing, at the same time, both ripe fruit and young fruit and flowers so that they pleased the sense of smell as well as charmed the eyes with shade’. This description has its parallels in the tapestries produced during this period…known as the mille fleurs or thousands of flowers

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