A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious
with a feeling of serenity and joy.

– Luis Barragan

Gardening is as old as, well, dirt. And gardens have always beguiled the eye.

During the Renaissance and the Middle Ages, illuminated manuscripts showed how people thought about, used, and imagined gardens. Gardens, and what they grew, took firm root in the manuscripts of the time. Edible gardens were as much about pleasure as they were about sustenance.

Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta

Joris Hoefnagel illuminated The Model Book of Calligraphy, written by Georg Bocskay. The flamboyant forms dance on the page, twisting and spiraling letters pairing with spiders and mosquitos. The book is arabesquely beautiful. Feast your eyes.

Insect, Tulip, Caterpillar, Spider, and Pear / Joris Hoefnagel

Insect, Tulip, Caterpillar, Spider, and Pear in Mira calligraphiae monumenta, 1561–62, Joris Hoefnagel, illuminator, with calligraphy added by Georg Bocskay, 1591–96. Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment, 6 9/16 x 4 7/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 20, fol. 25

See some of these in a garden.

Visit the Getty Exhibition.








Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace.

– May Sarton


Toni 7/26/13