terraced garden
The Garden of Senex Caecilius

Since the villa is situated on a hillside, the garden for vegetables and herbs has been terraced to take advantage of the good soil. It is also much more accessible to the kitchen. My mother has medicinal plants on the bottom terrace so that they are within easy reach.

We have planted asparagus, beans, beets, cabbage, garlic, lentils, lettuce, melons, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, and squash. The gardener has his hands full!

Here is some additional information about vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants.

  • Specific plants mentioned in ancient pharmacopoeias include anise, cardamom, crocus, gentian, mandrake, parsley, poppy, rhubarb, rue, spikenard, and terebinth.
  • Pliny the Elder devoted 7 volumes of his monumental work Natural History to plants and their medicinal uses as antidotes, balms, poultices, salves, and tisanes.
  • Other Roman writers on agriculture are Marcus Porcius Cato, Marcus Terentius Varro, Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella, and Rutillius Taurus Æmilianus Palladius.


    Some of the preceding information comes from Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome, written by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins and published in1994 by The Oxford University Press (New York).

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