I have also found very little information on flowering plants and trees grown for aesthetic rather than practical purposes, such as are a common feature of modern Greek monastery courtyards (Fig. 18). There are some archaeological indications at the monastery of Khirbet-ed-Deir in the Judean desert that vines were grown on a trellis to provide shade for the courtyard,62 and the Lausiac History of Palladios describes a grapevine that grew all over the church at the Douka monastery near Jericho.63
The cypresses that adorned many monastery courtyards are interpreted by Theodore Metochites as symbolizing the spiritual ascent of monks: "the cypress, ... in rising even to the skies, . . . proclaims without artifice to those who meditate there the way in which they are to walk and strive upward, laying aside gradually as they go up the excess of their material part and growing thinner as they rise."64
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