James I of Scotland wrote a poem in 1413 while in prison in a tower at Windsor Castle. He described the view of a densely screened pleasure garden set in a corner of the castle wall, spreading shade over the lawn. Here it is:
Now was there made fast by the tower’s wall
a garden fair, and in the corners set,
an arbor green with flowers sweet and all
railed about: and so with trees set
was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knit.
Though not a one was walking past there
that might within sight anyone espy
so thick the boughs, and the leaves so green
be shaded all the alleys that there were.
And midst every arbor might be seen
the sharp, green sweet juniper
growing so fair, with branches here and there
that, as it seemed to anyone without,
the boughs spread the arbor all about.
The Romans are credited with bringing gardening to Britain, but they retreated in AD 410. In 1066, when the Normans came, only the Royals used the forests, and the monasteries were the only other places with gardens.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on an ancient poem.