Despicable cottages

Laura Miller

Laura Miller
New York, New York, USA
Senior Writer
I work for Salon, mostly writing about books, and occasionally about TV and film. I edited The Salon Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors and am the author of the new book, "The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia."


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MARCH 20, 2010 9:38AM

Medieval gardens

Rate: 10 Flag

I decided to take advantage of a spell of balmy weather to visit the Cloisters in uptown Manhattan. This museum of medieval art features several rooms that recreate period chapels and cloisters, embedding authentic architectural fragments in a neo-medieval building.

The Unicorn Tapestries are here, but I'm especially partial to the gardens, which, on the right day, can make you feel as if you've been transported to Italy. Unfortunately, March is way too early for there to be anything but brown, dried-up husks and leaves in the Cloisters' gardens, but in the internal cloisters, the gardeners have done their best to brighten things up with some potted plants.

While waiting for the real spring, you can visit the museum's horticultural blog, The Medieval Garden Enclosed, and read about such pleasant subjects as turf benches, boxwood and books of days. The gardens at the Cloisters are themselves museums; one contains all the plants represented in the Unicorn Tapestries, others exhibit traditional methods of cultivation and herbs.

There's a passage in The Magician's Book about the image of the walled garden in Medieval allegory and, by extension, in the Chronicles of Narnia. Because even the tiniest aspects of the world were regarded as elements of God's plan, Medieval art often depicts everyday flora and fauna, as well as ordinary activities like harvesting and cooking, with reverence and meticulous attention. Hundreds of years later and minus the religion, I still find these images immensely tender and touching.

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I have many happy memories of visiting the Cloisters as a child. It was an annual school field trip. Your post makes me want to jump on the A train and head up there right now.
I haven't been there in years, thank you for sharing this special, magical place.
I must tell you that I have been captivated by your MMA link. There is an image of froth on a Tansy plant and the explanation of what they thought it was back in the middle ages (the spittle from a cuckoo) and what it is (spittlebug secretions.) Fascinating - thank you.
What a great garden blog, thanks for the link!
I love the cloisters! When I was new to NYC from Montana(!) in the 80s, I lived 5 feet from the J train in Queens. Going to the cloisters with my 5 year old daughter Molly and to-be-wife Deborah ,eat finally breathing deep.

I can recommend Susan Wise Bauer's The History of the Medieval World. An immersion that satisfies. There is something to be said for not having TV.
I never knew you posted here. I read you on Salon's front page, and enjoy the post.
I am banned from commenting @ Salon. Boo Boo. Two full-pain-up gold star names`
Both are denied comment permission access. Then I began another avatar. I was
kicked-off too.
goat gouda blueberry
If I saw this when you first posted -
I may have mentioned I enjoy your Narnia "Magician' Book. I think back to the early Springtime Beauty.
William Wordsworth - Daffodils -
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly glance,

The waves behind them danced,but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee;
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon the inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances wth the daffodils.
Daffodils then were more resembling
yellow and full peonies (heirloom - many petals), and one day in the late 70's I dug up many heirlooms along
abandoned shacks along the Potomac River. The C & O Canal is a beautiful walk in the springtime. You feel like a merry monk or lonely nun. But, when you see daffodils I bet a lonely nun becomes one with `
Who knows?
A merry monk.
The bulbs bloom.
No tell a park ranger.
I think one may just look.
I'd hate to be jailed for theft.
W.W. was at` Gowbarrow Park.
He never saw daffodils s beautiful.
They grew among mossy stones.
The flowers bloomed by water.
Strollers saw resting places.
I read moss stones were
light green pillows.
Thanks for a post.
I miss so much.
I swear I break my vows , but not intentionally.
This was found accidently, and I miss so much.
There are so many bloggers I have never read.
I can't sleep. Yesterday was one birthday feast.
We ate and giggled hard at the farm. Ribs ache.
We celebrated my sons birthday. Children play.
I forgot this post and thought I'd write howdy.
I browse your good magic book now and then.
I dreamt Salon's editor whispers 'I hate you.'
He hates?
I hope not.
That is rot.
He hate who?
He hates self?
No self loathe.
I just banters.
He must love you. I mean he hates critiques.
I write this with a smile and I am happy too.
I'll clean up my home mess and go wander.
It is time to focus on beauty and seagulls.
To stroll along a beach restores deep joy.
None should blog all day if we stay sane.
is my first time to visiting you, wow is a nice garden....
luv the columns in the sunlight
Gads. I saw you as a Favorite on the last Post I commented on about how much Tip to give.
Tip beggars. Tip good.
Tip gardeners in beets.
Tip or get beer mugged.
Tip so bum buys wine.
I remember this post.
You don't comment?
Comments get deleted?
I have your great book.
I gotta take a good nap.
I drank and had brussels.
Two beers knock me outs.
Tip Kerry so he no fight.
He fight in boxer shorts.
He mug bum in N.Y.C.?