Wyrtig

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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Latimer Villa

By 300 CE, the Roman villa at Latimer, once an Iron Age farm, had developed into a corridor villa that bounded the western end of a large, rectangular courtyard. This courtyard also enclosed two smaller outbuildings to the south.

The courtyard was walled, and in the center of the eastern wall was a sturdy gate though which passed a banked, paved road. This road bisected the courtyard and continued on to the main entrance of the house. A planting hole suggests that the gate may have been flanked by a tree on at least one side.

The courtyard was divided roughly into quadrants:

  • The northwest and southwest portions of the courtyard were probably rectangular gardens, divided by the road that ended at the front door.

  • The southeast quadrant contained planting beds made up of six parallel bedding trenches, each about 20’ long. This area was bisected by a broad path leading south from the main roadway to the outbuildings in the southeast corner of the courtyard. Stake holes found around these beds suggest that these gardens were fenced.

  • A large area in the northeast quadrant may have been an orchard.

Archaeologists found iron knives, pruning tools, and spade shoes at Latimer, much like these found at similar sites:

Roman spade with iron shoe, photo by W. Sauber, Wikimedia Commons

Pruning hook from an Italian mosaic at Latium, Italy, photo by M, Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons

Roman knife
Spade with iron tip, or "shoe" Pruning hook Knife

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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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