·  Page 8
Technical Terms dealing with Medieval period gardens
by Lauren Stier · All Zones · Terminology · 0 Comments · April 21, 2012 · 19,525 views


Statuary doesn't appear to have been a major part of early medieval gardens, except in the cases of fountains, and in abbeys, elaborate fountain-type handwashing arrangements.

However, in the Renaissance, interest in statuary, specifically Greek and Roman statuary, boomed. From "museum" gardens designed to display and highlight one's collection of Greek and Roman statues (or copies thereof), the idea of statues as focal points for gardens and grottos took hold.

Generally, statues were in the form of people (Greek, Romman, or Christain characters), mythical animals, or birds, horses, and occasional putti (cherubim types), medusas, or heraldic beasts on the walls seem to be typical. River gods, water nymphs, goddesses with or without fountain outlets in their bosoms, children pouring water from jars, muses, mountain giants, were all popular as statuary and fountains in the last part of the 16th century. Many major English gardens from the Elizabethan period had references to Elizabeth as Diana or Cybele, or as the Rose.

Hampton Court, one of Henry VIII of England's principal seats, was enlivened by sundials and "The Kinges bestes made to be sett vp in the privie orchard...vij of the Kinges Bestes. That is to say ij dragons, ij greyhounds, i lyon, i horse and i Antylope..." (1531 household accounts, quoted by R. Strong). This fashion of having heraldic beasts appear in other places; there were also topiary beasts appearing in gardens of the period. These beasts might be painted in heraldic colors or gilded, either on appropriate parts or all over.


  • covered walks, either as part of a main structure (as in the cloister) or even as seperate buildings with or without upper storeys.
  • arbored walks covered in vines
  • allee of pleached (interwoven) trees
  • banqueting houses...Eating out of doors in summer was apparently quite popular; special banqueting houses were created. Some were very odd, such as the 'Mouth of Hell' cavern in a renaissance garden, and another one constructed on a platform built on the branches of an enormous linden tree. No major landowners pleasure park was complete without one.
  • Grottos...Artificial caves cut into a hillside, or in a walled building, generally with fountains, hydraulic toys, statuary, carvings and/or paintings were the mode at the very end of the period, a trend that continued into the seventeenth and 18th centuries.
Lauren Stier

Meet The Author

Lauren Stier - I have a medieval garden which has been an ongoing project

Gardenality Bloom · More Articles By Lauren »


Resources, Terminology, Medieval


View All My Gardenaltiy Updates »