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In dock, out nettle: health and danger in the Early Modern garden

Cock, Emily ORCID: 2018. In dock, out nettle: health and danger in the Early Modern garden. Skinner, Patricia and Herbert McAvoy, Liz, eds. The Medieval and Early Modern Garden in Britain: Enclosure and Transformation, 1200-1750, Routledge, p. 70.

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This chapter explores how early modern gardeners identified, managed, and eliminated hazards to health in the enclosed garden. The agricultural reforms in England that followed the drought conditions of the 1590s and corresponding food shortages included the development of fruit orchards and productive and pleasurable home gardens that were supposed to prevent later deprivations. The first generation of printed garden manuals by Thomas Hill, William Lawson, and others encouraged and guided readers in how to design, manage, and enjoy ideal gardens of native and imported plants. The garden manuals engage with each of the key tenets of risk management. They advocate the elimination of hazards such as poisonous animals and draw from more overtly medical texts for remedies. They prescribe design elements such as boundary walls, pathways, and manageable garden bed sizes that will allow easy access for those working in and visiting the garden. Those laboring in the space will ideally be provided with equipment that is suitable for the purpose and of a proper size for the user and has drawn on the experience and ingenuity of the gardener and others to obtain and develop these tools. The manuals themselves served an important training function, while the expertise of the housewife in guiding her maids, or the professional gardener training his sons or apprentices, would similarly work to ensure safety and productivity.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781138484740
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 09:40

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