For further information, « Plantes et couleurs » association organizes various plant transformation workshops (inks, dyes, cosmetics…).
Intro voix off : « To evoke the gardens of Bénévent abbey, Marc Bricard, from the association « Plants and colours », set up a garden planted upon 3 terraces, just below the church. In order to resemble medieval horticulture, especially as far as the first terrace’s medicinal plants were concerned, he used a list of 88 plants mentioned in the Capitulary de Villis, a list of rules written up by Charlemagne in 795, to administrate his properties.”
Marc Bricard : « There are six small squares with indications, plants used to treat women’s ailments, to get rid of fevers, chills etc, as well as other types of plants that were used back then, mainly wild plants, but no plants acquired between then and now.
So, back then, they used common plants which can be found in fields, woods and along paths. Common hedgenettles for example, which are a type of panacea and meadowsweets were used for similar purposes. But they were often used for different purposes since they didn’t have the same degree of knowledge back then. The problems they had were also quite different from ours.
For example, there were many plants for intestinal problems, since worms used to be a common problem. They had problems we no longer have. But nowadays, people would not be able to handle treatments which were used at the time. As for the medicinal plants, we’ll see how ointments, syrups, tinctures, doctor Bach flowers were made, as well as herbal teas, which are of course, the basis of what plants are used for.
On the second terrace are the colourful plants. These ones are used for dyeing, ink-making , cosmetics and food colouring as well.
Now for the third terrace : this terrace is being remodeled. Here, there will be old, traditional grains, what we call population grains, in order to present the world’s great grains, if that is possible. We can have a little rice over here for example, different types of wheat, rye, sorghum, as to show and explain what people depended on as far as nutrition goes.»
The monastic gardens
Meet Marc Bricard, a man who created terraced gardens just below Bénévent abbey church, much like monastic gardens back in the Middle Ages. In this interview, he explains the different plants’ medicinal properties as well as how some were used for their colours.