Gardens at the Cloisters

Gardens at the Cloisters

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, often called “the Met,” is the United States’ largest museum of art. In addition to the museum’s large central location, the Met also maintains a smaller secondary location in Upper Manhattan. The Cloisters, which houses the museum’s collection of artifacts and art from Medieval Europe, is also a New York City landmark, as well as the site of a European herb garden based on historic landscape design.

The Significance of the Gardens

The gardens located at the Cloisters serve a unique purpose—not only are they a beautiful example of landscaping, they are also a historical exhibit in their own right. These gardens, as well as the other landscaping located on the Cloisters grounds, were planted according to the horticultural information found in several of the museum’s own Medieval manuscripts and artifacts. Thus, the herb gardens at the Cloisters serve not only to provide a visual complement to the building itself, which contains sections from five separate European abbeys as well as new construction in the same style, but also as an opportunity for visitors to experience a walk through an herb garden that would have been found throughout Medieval Europe as well.

The Plants in the Gardens

The herb gardens at the Cloisters are carefully cultivated to contain more than 250 plants that would have been found in European herb gardens at the time. Some of the plants that can be spotted in the gardens include Angelica archangelica, espaliered pear trees, forget-me-nots, coltsfoot, and rosemary. Throughout the year, the Met hosts garden events and exhibits that include talks and workshops on how these plants were used throughout history, as well as accurate Christmastide decorations made from fresh plants, often using those that grow in the gardens themselves.

You can find out more about the gardens at the Cloisters by visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s official website. We also invite you to check out the other articles in Santa Rita Landscaping’s blog series, The Most Spectacular Gardens in the World.

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