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The Domestic Herbal: Plants for the Home in the Seventeenth Century presented by author Margaret Willes

Recent times have seen a robust, renewed interest in gardening – from urban rooftops and plots to backyard orchards. These gardens are not solely for beauty, but for the practical and rewarding process of growing one’s own food and herbs.

New Canaan Library welcomes Margaret Willes, author and former publisher at The National Trust, to speak about the history of the home garden and her latest book, The Domestic Herbal: Plants for the Home in the Seventeenth Century. Ms. Willes will speak via Zoom from England on Tuesday, February 8 at 11 AM EST. Please register online at newcanaanlibrary.org for sign in information.

In seventeenth century England, household gardens were commonplace and existed across the societal divides. These gardens were not merely ornamental; even the most elaborate and fashionable gardens had areas set aside for growing herbs, fruit, vegetables, and flowers for domestic use. Working class households considered a functional garden to be a vital tool for the survival of the house and family. Ms. Willes will speak about these topics and how this time period saw introductions of plants and herbs from overseas, which could be used for medicinal purposes and in more exotic recipes.

Margaret Willes is the former Publisher at The National Trust. Educated at Oxford University, she spent her career in book publishing before taking up writing full time. Her previous books include Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books (Yale, 2008), The Making of the English Gardener and The Gardens of the British Working Class, as well as Pick of the Bunch: The Story of Twelve Treasured Flowers (Bodleian Library, 2009). She cultivates her own garden in East London.

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