Medicine, Magic and Art: The Bonnefont Garden at The Cloisters
Wikimedia Commons If you live in New York and haven’t visited The Met Cloisters I urge to. The Cloisters are a unique calm space where you can transport yourself from the business of New York to the calmness of a medieval monastery. Located in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, …
If you live in New York and haven’t visited The Met Cloisters I urge to. The Cloisters are a unique calm space where you can transport yourself from the business of New York to the calmness of a medieval monastery. Located in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, the Cloisters are a compound formed by four cloisters: Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem, Bonnefont and Trie. They work as keepers of an impressive medieval art collection. Armor, tombs, ornaments and gold can be seen all around the museum, however in the Cloisters also lives another kind of wonder.
The Bonnefont Cloister houses a collection of 300 species of plants were grown and used during the Middle Ages. The garden is laid out in different plots. Each plot belongs to an aspect of medieval life, and houses the plants that belonged to each. Vegetables, arts and crafts, brewing, housekeeping, medicine, and magic. For example in the Arts and Crafts section you can find golden Marguerite, Weld, Agrimony, Greater Celandine, Our – Lady’s Bedstraw, Madder, Woad, Dyer’s Greenweed, Alkanet, and Boxwood. You can actually find the three plants that were used to dye the entirely of the famous The Unicorn In Captivity: woad, used for blues; madder used for reds; and weld used for yellows. In the magic section you can find Bear’s Foot, Ragged – Robin, Cornelian Cherry, Herb Robert and English Ivy, which is said to has a wide range of magical uses. Its main powers are for protection and healing, and it brings luck to women if they carry it with them. Ivy wards against negativity and disaster wherever it is grown.
The Bonnefont might look like any other garden but is carefully taken care of to resemble a Medieval garden. Each plant has been carefully selected and imported from different place around the world, to give New Yorkers and tourists a little taste of the Medieval plant tradition.
You can visit the Cloisters all year long, but it’s better to visit the gardens during spring or summer. Visit their website to learn more.