For gardeners with a sense of history

OE wyrtig, adj: Garden-like, full of plants;
On anum wyrtige hamme, Homl. Skt. ii. 30:312




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Zwiefalten Monatsbilder
 Zwiesel Monastery, Stuttgart, Germany,
c. 1145 CE

The Zwiefalten Monatsbilder, or labors of the months, was made in what is now Germany, around the year 1145 CE. Annus, the year, is portrayed as a hairy, bearded man in a skimpy mantle, sitting in the center of the page. He holds the moon in his right hand and the sun in his left, while day hovers just below the sun; and night, below the moon.


The twelve signs of the zodiac fill the innermost circle around the year, each with the name of the month above it. Surrounding these in a second concentric circle are the twelve labors of the months. These start with January, just above and to the left of mid-circle, showing a rabbit hunter with his dog, in pursuit of a hare.


Zwiefalten calendar, from Wikimedia Commons


The twelve winds appear as half-heads arranged around the outer edge of the months' circle, with gentler winds in Spring and Autumn, no breeze at all in Summer, and gusty winds in Winter.

In the four outer corners are the seasons. Spring is lightly clothed, and holds flowering branches in each hand.

Summer wears nothing at all in a nod to the hot weather, and clutches a raised sickle, a reference to the harvest.




Autumn is more warmly dressed, with a tunic, hat, and shoes; and holds a cluster of grapes in one hand and a full basket of grapes in the other.

Winter, bundled up in a warm mantle over his tunic, with shoes and hat, warms  one cold foot over a roaring fire.                            





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Botanists are among those who know that, in spite of the rude shocks of life,
it is well to have lived, and to have seen the everlasting beauty of the world.
F.D. Drewitt


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