Beginning in the 14th or 15th century the garden pond came into vogue. These ponds, shallow and lined with a clay water barrier, not only supplied a water source for the renaissance garden but were also “appreciated (for) their ornamental value” (Campbell, 38). Manure was often added to these ponds as a fertilization method.
Water was also diverted from town sewer and drainage systems, into kitchen gardens, creating a closed-loop system that recycled “night-soil”(Campbell, 36).
Campbell also mentions the use of capillary watering methods, which I find very interesting and hope to implement in our Renaissance Garden. This method, in use as early as 1385, involves hanging a pot of water that has been perforated with many small holes, over any plant that requires water. A feather, a piece of straw or a bit of cloth was often inserted into the small holes of the pot, allowing the water to gently reach the plants below (36). This method is more interactive that the passive watering system I have previously mentioned, but less time-consuming than constant manual watering, and could be particularly useful with plants that require constant moistness. Perhaps this was a precursor to our modern-day drip irrigation systems.
The website Old & Interesting (http://www.oldandinteresting.com/medieval-watering-pot.aspx ) offers this photo, of a similar watering system, and provides some interesting information. Check it out!