Renaissance Garden Project

Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies Garden Project Website

Click here to watch a short video about the Renaissance Vegetable Garden

Have you ever wondered what the garden of an English commoner might look like during William Shakespeare's time? Well a group of University of Massachusetts and Mt.Holyoke College students did- and they learned quite a lot- often not what they expected! This project, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies and the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture asked six undergraduate students to investigate what an English commoner’s garden might look like pre- and post-1492. Once the research was completed, we planned to design and build demonstration gardens at the Renaissance Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. See the link below for additional detail:

Creating a Renaissance Era Cottage Garden in New England


Perennial Plants (26)

  1. Angelica archangelica/Angelica (P)
  2. Artemesia vulgaris/Mugwort (P)
  3. Ruta graveolens/Rue (P)
  4. Artemesia absinthium/Wormwood (P)
  5. Borago/Borage (P)
  6. Viola tricolor/Heartsease (P)
  7. Tanacetum parthenium/Feverfew (P/A)
  8. Levisticum officinale/Lovage (P)
  9. Carthamus tinctora/Safflower (P)
  10. Hyssopus officinalis/Hyssop (P)
  11. Oenothera biennis/Primrose (P)
  12. Salvia officinalis/Green Sage (P)
  13. Matricaria recutita/Chamomile (P)
  14. Achiillea millefolium/Yarrow (P)
  15. Alcea rosea/Nigra Hollyhock (P)
  16. Marriubium vulgare/White Horehound (P)
  17. Tanacetum vulgare/Tansy (P)
  18. Thymus vulgaris/Thyme (P)
  19. Fragaria vesca/Alpine Strawberry (P)
  20. Mignonette F. vesca/Strawberry (P)
  21. Woodland F. vesca/Strawberry (P)
  22. Ruegen F. vesca/Strawberry (P)
  23. Pinapple F. vesca/Strawberry (P)
  24. Moschata F. vesca/Strawberry (P)
  25. Humulus lupulus/Fuggle Hops (P)
  26. Humulus lupulus/ Kent Hops (P)

Annual Plants (22)

  1. Echium vulgare/Bugloss (A)
  2. Beta vulgaris/Early Blood Turnip (A)
  3. Daucus carota/St. Valery Carrot (A)
  4. Petoselinum hortensis/Triple Curled Parsley (A)
  5. Cichorium endive/Marachere Tresfine Endive (A)
  6. Coriander sativum/Long Standing Coriander
  7. Satureja hortensis/Summer Savory (A)
  8. Brassica oleracea/Winterbor Kale (A)
  9. Brassica oleracea var.capitata/Bravo Cabbage (A)
  10. Foeniculum vulgare/Bronze Fennel (A)
  11. Allium ampeloprosum/Giant Musselburgh Leek/Scotch Flag(A)
  12. Anethum graveolens/Dill Bouquet (A)
  13. Allium cepa/Alissa Craig Onion (A)
  14. Phaseolus vulgaris/Vermont Dry Cranberry Bean (A)
  15. Phaseolus vulgaris/Dry Bush Bean Mix (A)
  16. Cicer arientinum/Tan Garbanzo Bean (A)
  17. Cichorium endivia/Flat Leaf Endive/Escarole (A)
  18. Brassica rapa/ Purple Top Turnip (A)
  19. Vicia faba/Fava/Bell Bean (A)
  20. Raphanus sativus/Helios Radish (A)
  21. Pisum sativum/Champion of England Pea (A)
  22. Ocimum basilicum/Lettuce Leaf Basil (A)

Check out the Botanical List for the 2015 Renaissance Kitchen Garden!

Wattle fence being constructed      

Read the Daily Hampshire Gazette article in the Gazette and Amherst Bulletin: Garden like it's 1499!

Revisiting the Renaissance: A 16th-century garden brings insights for the future of gardening

(September 30th, 2013 Feature story from the UMass Amherst gateway website.)