In the seventeenth century, even the most elaborate and fashionable gardens had areas set aside for growing herbs, fruit, vegetables and flowers for domestic use, while those of more modest establishments were vital to the survival of the household. This was also a period of exciting introductions of plants from overseas.
Using manuscript household manuals, recipe books and printed herbals, this book takes the reader on a tour of the productive garden and of the various parts of the house – kitchens and service rooms, living rooms and bedrooms – to show how these plants were used for cooking and brewing, medicines and cosmetics, in the making and care of clothes, and finally to keep rooms fresh, fragrant and decorated. Recipes used by seventeenth-century households for preparations such as flower syrups, snail water and wormwood ale are also included.
A brief herbal gives descriptions of plants that are familiar today, others not so well known, such as the herbs used for dyeing and brewing, and those that held a particular cultural importance in the seventeenth century.
Featuring exquisite coloured illustrations from John Gerard’s herbal of 1597 as well as prints, archival material and manuscripts, this book provides an intriguing and original focus on the domestic history of Stuart England.