Shakespeare lived when knowledge of plants and their uses was a given, but also at a time of unique interest in plants and gardens. His lifetime saw the beginning of scientific interest in plants, the first large-scale plant introductions from outside the country since Roman times, and the beginning of gardening as a leisure activity. Shakespeare's works show that he engaged with this new world to illuminate so many facets of his plays and poems.
This dictionary offers a complete companion to Shakespeare's references to landscape, plants and gardens, including both formal and rural settings. It covers plants and flowers, gardening terms, and the activities that Shakespeare included within both cultivated and uncultivated landscapes as well as encompassing garden imagery in relation to politics, the state and personal lives. Each alphabetical entry offers a definition and overview of the term discussed in its historical context, followed by a guided tour of its use in Shakespeare's works and finally an extensive bibliography, including primary and secondary sources, books and articles.