Climb on the M4 bus on Madison Avenue and follow it to the end for a fascinating look at less familiar parts of the city. The ride culminates at one of the City’s gems – The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Located in northern Manhattan in Fort Tryon Park, the Cloisters celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/visit-the-cloisters
The collection was formed from Medieval work collected by George Gray Barnard, who had his own museum nearby. Rockefeller purchased Barnard’s museum and land and combined it with his own collection which is most famous for the Unicorn Tapestries.
This mostly herb garden overlooks the Palisades of New Jersey a similar cliff face which Rockefeller bought to preserve the view from the Museum. Beautiful and sturdy willow structures are used for climbing plants.
They are used her for Mandrake, Mandragora autumnalis, a favorite herb of Medieval gardners. A member of the nightshade family, it was used for fertility, as an aphrodisiac, to relieve pain and as a sleep aid. Pretty versatile until you discover it can also cause delerium and madness!
In another courtyard, campanula blooms. Check out a charming blog about the Cloister gardens at http://blog.metmuseum.org/cloistersgardens/
Horseradish, Amoracia rusticana, grows with a pretty mass of long leaves. In the Middle Ages it was used as a medicine but soon became a condiment – maybe to disguise the taste of less fresh meat? Oddly it is poisonous to horses.
Due to technical problems, still not solved, it has taken three days and constant logging on and off to post this. Let’s hope it clears up. Cheers!