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Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1801 William Henry Seward "Sue-erd", an American politician who served as United States Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869, is born. He was also featured in the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin called Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, in which she wrote about William as a naturalist. He loved his garden. This little passage offers so many insights into William as a nature lover. As a gardener and just to set this up, this is taking place during the civil war when there's a little break in the action for Seward, and he accompanies his wife Frances and their daughter, back to Auburn, New York, where they were planning to spend the summer. Seward accompanied Frances and Fanny back to Auburn, where they planned to spend the summer. For a few precious days, he entertained old friends, caught up on his reading, and tended his garden. The sole trying event was the decision to fell a favorite old poplar tree that had grown unsound. Frances could not bear to be present as it was cut, certain that she "should feel every stroke of the axe." Once it was over, however, she could relax in the beautiful garden she had sorely missed during her prolonged stay in Washington. Nearly sixty years old, with the vitality and appearance of a man half his age, Seward typically rose at 6 a.m. when first light slanted into the bedroom window of his twenty-room country home. Rising early allowed him time to complete his morning constitutional through his beloved garden before the breakfast bell was rung. Situated on better than five acres of land, the Seward mansion was surrounded by manicured lawns, elaborate gardens, and walking paths that wound beneath elms, mountain ash, evergreens, and fruit trees. Decades earlier, Seward had supervised the planting of every one of these trees, which now numbered in the hundreds. He had spent thousands of hours fertilizing and cultivating his flowering shrubs. With what he called 'a lover's interest," he inspected them daily. Then I love what Doris writes next because she's contrasting Seward with Abraham Lincoln in terms of their love of working outside. [Seward's] horticultural passion was in sharp contrast to Lincoln's lack of interest in planting trees or growing flowers at his Springfield home. Having spent his childhood laboring long hours on his father's struggling farm, Lincoln found little that was romantic or recreational about tilling the soil. When Seward "came into the table," his son Frederick recalled, "he would announce that the hyacinths were in bloom, or that the bluebirds had come, or whatever other change the morning had brought." 1809 Martha Ballard recorded her work as an herbalist and midwife. For 27 years, Martha kept a journal of her work as the town healer and midwife for Hallowell, Maine. Today Martha's marvelous journal gives us a glimpse into the plants that she regularly used and how she applied them medicinally. And as for how Martha sourced her plants, she raised them in her garden or foraged for them in the wild. As the village apothecary, Martha found her own ingredients and personally made all of her herbal remedies. Here's what the writer, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Wrote about Martha's work back in May of 1809. Martha's far more expansive record focused on the mundane work of gardening, the daily, incremental tasks that each season exacted. In May of 1809, she "sowed," "sett," "planted,' and "transplanted" in at least half dozen places, digging ground "west of the hous" on May 15 and starting squash, cucumbers, muskmelons and watermelons on "East side house" the same day. She planted "by the hogg pen" on May 16 and 18 on May 23 sowed string peas "in the end of my gardin," and on May 26, planted "south of the hous." The plots she defined by the three points of the compass were no doubt raised beds, rich with manure, used for starting seeds in cool weather. The garden proper had a fence, which Ephraim mended on May 12. Whether it included the plot near the "hogg pen," we do not know. All of these spots, managed by Martha, were distinct from the "field." which Jonathan plowed on May 15, and DeLafayette and Mr. Smith on May 27 and May 31. Martha's was an ordinary garden, a factory for food and medicine that incidentally provided nourishment to the soul. "I have workt in my gardin, she wrote on May 17, the possessive pronoun the only hint of the sense of ownership she felt in her work. The garden was hers, though her husband or son or the Hallowell and Augusta Bank owned the land. "I have squash & Cucumbers come up in the bed East side the house," she wrote on May 22. The garden was hers because she turned the soil, dropped the seeds, and each year recorded in her diary, as though it had never happened before, the recurring miracle of spring. 1899 Luigi Fenaroli, the great Italian agronomist and botanist, is born. Luigi wrote a flora of the Alps, and he was an expert in forestry, but today we remember him for his work with chestnuts. Luigi wrote two books on chestnuts, and he was passionate about chestnuts as a good source of nutrition - especially for people who've lived in the mountains. Although today, of course, chestnuts are beloved in Italy, as well as other parts of the world. Chestnuts are unique in that they contain very little fat and protein compared to other types of nuts, but they are an excellent source of both carbohydrates and water. There is about a 50-50 ratio there. And so it's not surprising to learn that Roman soldiers were given porridge made of chestnuts before they went into battle. It gave them sustenance, that simple Chestnut porridge. Today chestnuts are known as a superfood. They are healthy and irresistibly tasty. And so they rank near the top of the list for most nutritious snacks. 1905 Herbert Ernest Bates (pen name H. E. Bates), English author, is born. He is remembered for his books Love for Lydia (1952), The Darling Buds of May (1958), and My Uncle Silas (1939). In his book, A Love of Flowers (1971), Herbert wrote, It is wonderful to think that one of the few unbroken links between the civilization of ancient Egypt and the civilization of today is the garden. Herbert also wrote, I shut my eyes it returns: the evocation of a whole wood, a whole world of darkness and flowers and birds and late summer silence... more than the mere memory of a wood, the first and the best wood. Herbert wrote about gardeners. He said, The true gardener, like an artist, is never satisfied. And he also once wrote this about gardens. Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises, and then still more curves. 1926 On this day, the state of Kentucky selected the Goldenrod for its Floral Emblem. Prior to 1926, Kentucky's floral emblem had been the Bluegrass (which seems more fitting still today), but Kentucky gardening clubs felt Bluegrass wasn't representative of the whole state. And here's a fun fact: Alabama and Nebraska also picked the native goldenrod to be the State Flower. Goldenrod has a lot of haters because many people confuse it for ragweed. I hate to even write that - because it makes people think they must look similar. But that's just not true. Once you see Goldenrod and Ragweed individually - you could never confuse them. Ragweed flowers are green and not eye-catching, while goldenrods are golden and very pretty. I saw an infographic a few years ago that said, Goldenrod Warning: if I'm here, so is ragweed. Stay indoors! Achoo! This is clearly maligning Goldenrod. It might as well say the black-eyed Susans are blooming, so is ragweed. Or the Joe Pye Weed is blooming - and so is ragweed - and so, by the way, are all the late summer bloomers - echinacea, helenium, oriental lily, asters, balloon flowers, sedums, tickseed, autumn crocus, Japanese anemones, blue mist shrub, hydrangeas, the list goes on and on. It's just an issue of timing. The genus name Solidago is taken from the Latin "in solidum ago vulnera" and it means "I make wounds whole." And so it's not surprising to learn that Native Americans and herbalists have long recognized the curative power of goldenrod when it comes to wound care. Now, If you want to plant some Goldenrod, keep in mind that it is an early autumn bloomer. It's also an important food source for honey bees and makes for a fantastic cut flower. Finally, the botanical painter Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden once painted the goldenrod and observed, Abundant it may be, but repugnant it is not. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Of Rhubarb and Roses by Tim Richardson This book came out in 2013, and the subtitle is The Telegraph Book of the Garden. Well, this is such a happy and fun book for gardeners in the summertime. I love the cover, which shows a gentleman sleeping on a garden bench with a little golden Tabby cat beneath him. There's also a lawnmower and a wheelbarrow full of produce. There are beautiful garden beds. There's a beautiful garden arbor. And then, of course, there's a newspaper of the daily Telegraph That's laid out on the wheelbarrow, right by the tomatoes and the carrots and the cabbage and so forth. But this is a book that the Telegraph put together, and it is a compilation book - an anthology of garden essays by garden writers And so in this book, you will find fantastic garden essays from the likes of Stephen Lacey, Mary Keen, Helen Yemm, Bunny Guinness, Monty Don, Rosemary Verey, and the like. Now here's what Tim wrote in the introduction to this book. I'm not sure quite what I was anticipating, but I know it was not diatribes against melon frappé or the best places to find wild chives on the Lizard peninsula. I'm not sure, either, that I was quite ready for the fact that a garden column appeared in the newspaper every single day from the late 1950s on. The result was bulging file after file brought up from the Telegraph's distant archive, each filled to bursting with carefully snipped clippings. Snow, drought, storm, new plants launched, old plants rediscovered, the latest furor at the Chelsea Show - the garden columnist falls upon everything that makes one year different from the last, for with a cyclical subject such as horticulture there is the ever-present danger of repeating oneself. The Telegraph's writers have avoided this for the most part, though I was amused to come across at least four versions of a 'May I introduce you to euphorbias?" piece by the same author. One of the fascinations of gardening is the way the same issues arise year after year while always seeming different, somehow - perhaps because of the vagaries of the seasons. Thomas walks us through some of the history of garden writing over at the Telegraph. And he concludes with these words. The best writers can achieve this balance between practical advice and lyrical appreciation - in the case of newspapers, all to a strict deadline. I suppose this theme of writing to order looms large for me today since the deadline for this introduction is suddenly upon me, and I find myself writing during a weekend away. As it happens, the place is Sissinghurst, and the borrowed desk I am sitting at was Vita's, my view through casement windows that of burnished orange echinacea, crimson salvias, clipped yew, and the beatific, wondering smiles of the visitors gliding by. Their expressions make me think, Does anything in life give as much pleasure as a beautiful garden?' Last night, the white garden at midnight was a revelation. But that is not a subject to be enlarged upon now; I am going to write it up in the next day or two. It will, I hope, become another garden article fit for publication in the pages of the Daily Telegraph. If you like garden writing and you love anthologies, this is the perfect book for you. Personally, I think this is a great summer gift for gardeners because this book has already been out for a decade already -it came out in 2013, and so used copies are readily available on Amazon for a song. But again, this is a beautiful and fun book. One reviewer wrote, [It's] an assorted box of chocolates. I happily skipped between essays by the likes of Vita Sackville-West, Germaine Greer, and Sir Roy Strong, greedily consuming one after the other in quick succession. For those with more restraint, this is a book that promises many hours of savoured delights. This book is 464 pages of funny and well-informed garden writing dating back to the 1950s. You can get a copy of Of Rhubarb and Roses by Tim Richardson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $2. Botanic Spark 1861 Jacob Ritner, a Union captain in the civil war, wrote to his wife Emeline. In fact, there's a great book that features all of the letters that he wrote to his wife Emeline during the Civil War, and it's called Love and Valor: Intimate Civil War Letters Between Captain Jacob and Emeline Ritner by Charles Larimer. Anyway, I stumbled on this letter that Jacob wrote on this day during the civil war when I was reading an excerpt from a book by DC Gill called How We Are Changed by War. In this excerpt, Gill reveals how soldiers survived the war, not only physically but also mentally, and quotes Kirby Farrell: "To preserve their sanity," writes Kirby Farrell, "soldiers [often] concentrated on a prosthetic "reality" by which to ground themselves" (Farrell 1998, 179). We already know that the garden is grounding. DC writes that mental images of happy places, like gardens, can mitigate bad environments, such as a war zone. An artificial image of home can substitute for the deficiencies of a present-day environment in a war zone. It allows soldiers to mentally project themselves into a more comforting geography. Soldiers' letters repeatedly ask for details to furnish these environments of the mind. "Now Emeline dear," writes Union Captain Jacob Ritner on May 16, 1861, "you must write me a great long letter next Sunday.. .. Tell me all the news, how the trees grow, the garden and grass, what everybody says" The power of the garden to anchor us extends past space and time, and even merely thinking of our gardens can lift our spirits and calm our worries. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1497 John Cabot, the Canadian Explorer, set sail from Bristol, England, on his ship, Matthew. He was looking for a route to the west, and he found it. He discovered parts of North America on behalf of Henry VII of England. And in case you're wondering why we're talking about John Cabot today, it's because of the climbing rose named in his honor. And it's also the rose that got me good. I got a thorn from a John Cabot rose in my knuckle and ended up having surgery to clean out the infection about three days later. It was quite an ordeal. I think my recovery took about eight months. So the John Cabot Rose - any rose - is not to be trifled with. 1519 Leonardo da Vinci, the mathematician, scientist, painter, and botanist, died. Leonardo once said, We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot. He also wrote, The wisest and noblest teacher is nature itself. And if you're spending any time outdoors, we are learning new lessons in spring. Isn't that the truth? There's always some new development we've never encountered - and, of course, a few delights. Leonardo continued to study the flower of life, the Fibonacci sequence, which has fascinated them for centuries. You can see it in flowers. You can also see it in cell division. And if you've never seen Leonardo's drawings and sketches of flowers, you are missing a real treat, and I think they would make for an awesome wallpaper. Leonardo once wrote about how to make your own perfume. He wrote, To make a perfume, take some rose water and wash your hands in it, then take a lavender flower and rub it with your palms, and you will achieve the desired effect. That timeless rose-lavender combination is still a good one. I think about Leonardo every spring when I turn on my sprinkler system because of consistent watering. Gives such a massive boost to the garden. All of a sudden, it just comes alive. Leonardo said, Water is the driving force in nature. The power of water is incredible, and of course, we know that life on Earth is inextricably bound to water. Nothing grows; nothing lives without water. Leonardo was also a cat fan. He wrote, The smallest feline is a masterpiece. In 1517 Leonardo made a mechanical lion for the King of France. This lion was designed to walk toward the king and then drop flowers at his feet. Today you can grow a rose named after Leonardo da Vinci in your garden. It's a beautiful pink rose, very lush, very pleasing, with lots of lovely big green leaves to go with those gorgeous blooms. It was Leonardo da Vinci who wrote, Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple, or more direct than does nature because in her inventions, nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous. 1803 On this day, Napoleon and the United States inked a deal for the Louisiana Purchase and added 828,000 square miles of French territory to the United States for $27 million. This purchase impacted the Louis and Clark Expedition because they had to explore the area that was bought in addition to the entire Pacific Northwest. To get ready for this trip, Meriwether Lewis was sent to Philadelphia. While there, he worked with a botanist, a naturalist, and a physician named Benjamin Smith Barton. He was the expert in Philadelphia, so he tutored Meriwether Lewis to get him ready because Lewis did not know natural history or plants. So he needed to cram all this information to maximize what he saw and collected. Now, in addition to all of this homework, all of this studying about horticulture and botany and the natural world, Meriwether made one other purchase for $20. He bought himself a big, beautiful Newfoundland dog, and he named him Seaman. It's always nice to have a little dog with you while exploring. 1806 The garden writer John Abercrombie died. The previous day, John had fallen down some steps. He had broken his hip a few weeks earlier, and so this last fall is what did him in. John was a true character. He loved to drink tea. He was a vegetarian. He was Scottish, and he was a lifelong gardener. His most significant success was his book, Every Man His Own Garden. John would go on to write other books on gardening like The Garden Mushroom, The Complete Wall and Tree Pruner (1783), and The Gardener's Daily Assistant (1786), but none of them rose to the level of popularity as Every Man His Own Garden. John and his wife had 17 children, and they all died before him - with his last child dying about ten years before he died on this day in 1806. 1867 Thomas Hanbury bought a property in the French Riviera that he called La Mortola. In 1913, The Botanical Journal shared the story of Thomas and his brother Daniel, and it also described the moment that Thomas saw his property for the first time. It had been the dream of Thomas Hanbury from his early youth to make a garden in a southern climate and to share its pleasures and botanical interests with his favorite brother. While staying on the Riviera, in the spring of 1867, after many years of strenuous work in the East, he decided to carry out his plan. He was first inclined to buy Cap Martin, near Mentone, but gave up the idea as soon as he became acquainted with the little cape of La Mortola. As he first approached it by sea, he was struck by the marvelous beauty of this spot. A house, once the mansion of a noble Genoese family, and at that time, though almost a ruin, known as the Palazzo Orego, stood on a high commanding position. Above it was the little village, and beyond all rose the mountains. To the east of the Palazzo were vineyards and olive terraces; to the west, a ravine whose declivities were here and there scantily clothed by Aleppo pines; while on the rocky point, washed by the sea waves, grew the myrtle, to which La Punta della Murtola probably owed its name. So Thomas purchased this incredible property in May of 1867, and by July, he returned with his brother, and together the two of them started to transform both the home and the garden. The article says that Thomas's first goal was to get planting because the property had been destroyed by goats and the local villagers who had come in and taken what they wanted from the property during all the years that it was left unoccupied now Thomas and Daniel went all out when it came to selecting plants for this property, and by 1913 there were over. Five thousand different species of plants, including the opuntia or the prickly pear cactus, along with incredible succulents (so they were way ahead of their time). Thomas loved collecting rare and valuable plants and found a home for all of them on this beautiful estate. Now, for the most part, Thomas and his brother Daniel did the bulk of the installations, but a year later, they managed to find a gardener to help them. His name was Ludwig Winter, and he stayed there for about six years. Almost a year after they hired him, Thomas's brother Daniel died. This was a significant loss to Thomas, but he found solace in his family, friends, and gorgeous estate at La Mortola - where Thomas spent the last 28 years of his life. Thomas knew almost every plant in his garden, and he loved the plants that reminded him of his brother. Thomas went on to found the Botanical Institute at the University of Genoa. The herbarium there was named in his honor; it was called the Institute Hanbury and was commemorated in 1892. As Thomas grew older, the Riviera grew more popular, and soon his property was opened to the public five days a week. The garden is practically never without flowers. The end of September may be considered the dullest time. Still, as soon as the autumnal rains set in, the flowering begins and continues on an ever-increasing scale until the middle of April or the beginning of May. Then almost every plant is in flower, the most marked features being the graceful branches of the single yellow Banksian rose, Fortune's yellow rose, the sweet-scented Pittosporum, the wonderful crimson Cantua buxifolia, and the blue spikes of the Canarian Echium.\ But Thomas knew that there were limitations, frustrations, and challenges even in that lovely growing zone. It was Thomas Hanberry who said, Never go against nature. Thomas used that as his philosophy when planning gardens, working with plants, and trying to figure out what worked and what didn't - Proving that even in the French Riviera, never go against nature. 1928 On this day, folks were lined up to see the lilacs in bloom at Hulda Klagers in Woodland, Washington. Here's an excerpt from a book by Jane Kirkpatrick called Where Lilacs Still Bloom. In it, she quotes Hulda. Beauty matters… it does. God gave us flowers for a reason. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment, have a piece of paradise right here on earth. Jane wrote, The following year there were two articles: one in Better Homes and Gardens and yet another on May 2, 1928, in the Lewis River News. The latter article appeared just in time for my Lilac Days and helped promote Planter's Day, following in June. They were covering the news, and we had made it! In the afternoon, a count showed four hundred cars parked at Hulda Klager's Lilac Garden in one hour, the road being lined for a quarter of a mile. It is estimated that at least twenty-five hundred people were there for the day, coming from points all the way from Seattle. In addition, there were several hundred cars during the week to avoid the rush. Today you can go and visit the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. It's a nonprofit garden, and of course, it specializes in lilacs. The gardens are open from 10 to 4 pm daily. There's a $4 admission fee - except during lilac season when the admission fee is $5. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation A Gardener's Guide to Botany by Scott Zona This book came out in December of 2022, and the subtitle is The Biology Behind the Plants You Love, How They Grow, and What They Need. I think it's that last part - what they need - that most gardeners are intrigued by. If you're a true botany geek, you'll love every page of Scott's book. I wanted to share a little bit from the preface of Scott's book. Scott, by the way, is truly an expert. He's a research botanist by training, and his undergraduate degree is in horticulture, so he's a lifelong gardener and a trained expert. He's a conscious-competent. He knows exactly what he is writing about, Here's what he wrote in the preface of his book. As I sit down to write, I gaze at the windowsill near my desk. On it sits a dwarf sansevieria forming little rosettes of deep green leaves above. It hangs a slab of cork on which is mounted a tiny air plant that is pushing out oversized violet flowers, one at a time. Nearby are two plants, an agave, and an aloe, that have similar forms, but one evolved from Mexico and the other in South America. Above them, a furry-leaved and a hybrid philodendron both grow contently in the diffuse light that reaches the shelf next to the window. My most curious visitors might ask a question about a plant or two, and when that happens, I can barely contain my delight. There is so much to tell. Well, this book starts out with a chapter called Being a Plant, and if you are a bit of an empath, you may feel that you understand what it's like to be a plant, but Scott is going to tell you scientifically what does it mean to be a plant. He writes in chapter one, For most people, the plant kingdom is a foreign land. It's inscrutable. Inhabitants are all around us, but they communicate in a language that seems unintelligible and untranslatable. Their social interactions are different. Their currency doesn't fit in our wallet and their cuisine. Well, it's nothing like what we eat at home in the plant kingdom. We are tourists. So I would say this book is for the very serious and curious gardener- and maybe you. This book was a 2023 American Horticulture Society Award winner. I love the cover. It's beautiful, and of course, I love the title, A Gardener's Guide to Botany. This is the perfect book to round out your collection. If you have the Botany in a Day book, it looks like a big botany workbook. I love that book. This book is a great companion to that. There's also a book called Botany for Gardeners, and when I think about Scott's book here, I will be putting it on the shelf beside both books. This book is 256 pages that will amp up your understanding of plants - No more mystery -and provide all of the answers you've been looking for. You can get a copy of A Gardener's Guide to Botany by Scott Zona and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $20. Botanic Spark 1772 Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, better known by his pen name Novalis, is born. He was an 18th-century German poet and writer, mystic, and philosopher of early German romanticism. All last week I was watching videos about Novalis. He led such an exciting but short life. He had a tragic romance after falling in love with a girl who tragically died of tuberculosis, and then Novalis himself died young. He died at 28 of tuberculosis as well. But in his concise life, he accomplished so much, including the fact that during his life, he had three moments of mystical revelation, which led to a deeper understanding of the world and time, and humanity. This is partly what makes him such a fascinating person to examine. One of the things that we remember Novalis for is his fascination with blue flowers. He made the blue flower a symbol of German romanticism. To Novalis, the blue flower represented romantic yearning. It also meant a point of unification between humanity and nature. It represented life, but it also described death. And if you are a gardener who the blue flower bug has bitten (and who hasn't? I mean, who does not love a blue flower?), you know what I'm talking about. Blue blossoms are so rare. They're so captivating. Most people can relate to Novalis' love of Blue Flowers and why it became so significant in his writing. Now the book where Novalis wrote about the Blue flower is a book called Henry of Ofterdingen, and it's here where we get these marvelous quotes about the blue blossom, which some believe was a heliotrope and which others believe was a cornflower, But whatever the case, the symbolism of the blue flower became very important. Novalis wrote, It is not the treasures that have stirred in me such an unspeakable longing; I care not for wealth and riches. But that blue flower I do long to see; it haunts me, and I can think and dream of nothing else. And that reminds me of what it was like to be a new gardener 30 years ago. A friend got me onto growing Delphinium, and I felt just like Novalis; I could not stop thinking about the Delphinium and imagining them at maturity around the 4th of July, standing about five to six feet tall, those beautiful blue spikes. And, of course, my dream of the Delphinium always surpassed what the actual Delphinium looked like, and yet, I still grew them. I loved them. And I did that for about ten years. So there you go, the call and the power of the blue flower. Novalis writes later in the book, He saw nothing but the blue flower and gazed at it for a long time with indescribable tenderness. Those blue flowers command our attention. Well, I'll end with this last quote. It's a flower quote from Novalis, and it'll get you thinking. Novalis was a very insightful philosopher and a lover of nature, and he believed in the answers that could be found in nature. And so what he does here in this quote is he asks a series of questions, and like all good philosophers, Novalis knows that the answer is in the questions and that the questions are more powerful than the answers. Novalis writes, What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed? And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven and plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then? Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1772 Karl Friedrich von Gaertner, German botanist, is born. Karl Friedrich von Gaertner had a fantastic last name; Gaertner translates to mean gardener. Karl was a second-generation gardener. His dad was Joseph Gaertner, the great German botanist and horticulturist, so Karl essentially stepped in his father's footsteps. Karl's claim to fame was his work with hybrids with hybridizing plants. Along with other botanists, he laid the foundation for Gregor Mendel, who discovered the basic principles of heredity through his experiments with peas in his garden at the Augustinian monastery he lived in at Brno ("BURR-no") in the Czech Republic. 1890 Phebe Holder's poem, A Song of May, appeared in newspapers this month. In addition to her religious poems, Phebe wrote about the natural world. Gardeners delight in her poems for spring and fall. Phebe is a fabulous New England Victorian poet and gardener I love and admire. She loved the delicate plants of springtime and wrote a poem called A Song of May. What song hast thou, sweet May, for me, My listening ear what song for thee? A song of life from growing things, The life thy gentle presence brings; The tender light of budding spray. The blooming down on willow grey, The living green that earth overspreads, The creamy flowers on mossy beds. From blossoms pure with petals white As pressed from out the moonbeam's light. The fragrant lily of the vale, The violet's breath on passing gale: Anemones mid last year's*leaves, Arbutus sweet in trailing wreaths, From waving lights of forest glade The light ferns hiding neath the shade. A song of joy from wood and plain, From birds in old-time haunts again; The silvery laugh of tuneful rill O'er rocky bed, down craggy hill; Soft coming of warm dropping showers, The sighing wind in piney bowers; The music breathed by low-voiced waves, For listening, from ocean caves, A plaintive strain doth memory sing, A breathing of departed Spring: An unseen Presence in the home, A spirit voice-"The Master's come!". While hearts in tender sorrow wept O'er one beloved who silent slept, Who in the May-time long ago Passed the pearl gates of glory through. A grateful song, our God, to Thee For treasures of the earth and sea; For all the beauty Thou hast given; A dream to loving hearts, of heaven; A song of life, of joy, of love, Of trust, of faith in light adore This offering on thy shrine I lay; This song hast thou for me, sweet May. Phebe's A Song of May recalls the flowers of spring. In the second verse, she's touching on many great spring beauties: the Lily of the Valley, violets, anemones, The Mayflower (also known as the trailing arbutus), and then, of course, ferns. In May, fern fronds cover the woodlands and understories. All of these spring plants emerge very quickly once they get growing. The ground transforms from leaf-littered - brown, drab, and dreary - to excellent with beautiful little blossoms. 1822 Thomas Hoy, English gardener, horticulturist, and botanist, died. Thomas was a dedicated gardener and head gardener for the Duke of Northumberland for over four decades - so he worked with plants his entire life. Thomas was a fellow of the Linnaean Society and liked to show his work at various plant societies And outings. Thomas is remembered as an experienced botanist and a capable cultivator. He was very good at his job. In fact, he was so good that the botanist Robert Brown named a popular plant genus for Thomas Hoy. Can you guess what it is? Well, if you were thinking Hoya, you are correct. The Hoya is a beautiful way to be remembered and honored. I love Hoyas. I picked up a couple of variegated Hoyas over the winter, and I'm so excited to see what the flower looks like. Overall the Hoya is a gorgeous plant named for the intelligent, thoughtful, and dedicated gardener Thomas Hoy, who died on this day when he was 72. 1867 Ralph Waldo Emerson inscribed a copy of his book, May Day, to Sophie Thoreau, the devoted sister of Henry David Thoreau. May Day is a collection of Emerson's writing and poems and includes the line, "Why chidest thou the tardy spring?" from his May Day poem. Why chidest thou the tardy Spring? The hardy bunting does not chide; The blackbirds make the maples ring With social cheer and jubilee; The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee, The robins know the melting snow; The sparrow meek, prophetic-eyed, Her nest beside the snow-drift weaves, Secure the osier yet will hide Her callow brood in mantling leaves; And thou, by science all undone, Why only must thy reason fail To see the southing of the sun? In other words, why be upset that spring is late? Spring has everything in hand. Don't be angry about nature's timing. A library first shared this inscription with Ralph Waldo Emerson's beautiful handwriting. About a decade after receiving the book, Sophie gifted the book to her friend Mabel Loomis and inscribed the transfer in the book. If you're looking for a sentimental month of May gift or have a May birthday and want to give something unique, look for an old copy of May Day by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's a beautiful gift. Well, it turns out that May 1st is a great day to release a brand new gardening book, and so I thought I'd wrap up today's botanical history with three great garden books released on May 1st. 2001 The Himalayan Garden: Growing Plants from the Roof of the World by Jim Jermyn. If you're into growing mountain plants, Alpine plants, wildflowers, etc., and if you have a cold climate, you'll enjoy this book. 2015 Monet's Palate Cookbook: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden At Giverny by Aileen Bordman 2018 Herbal Medicine for Beginners: Your Guide to Healing Common Ailments with 35 Medicinal Herbs by Katja Swift Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Emily's Fresh Kitchen by Emily Maxson This book came out in January of 2022, and the subtitle is Cook Your Way to Better Health. I must be honest and let you know that I stumbled on this book at my local Goodwill and was immediately taken with it. I think it's fantastic. And I can't believe I missed it last year, so I'm playing catch up here. But the cover captivated me because it features a great soup - Her Roasted Butternut with Sage Soup infused with Coconut Cream. I bet it's fantastic. It sure makes for a pretty cover. And I must say that all of the pictures in this book are beautiful. I wanted to share a little bit about Emily because her story has inspired so much of her work, and she writes, After a Crohn's disease diagnosis at age 28 and over a decade of unsuccessful traditional treatment, Emily Maxson discovered the specific carbohydrate diet's positive effects and food's transformative power to improve health. She's a trained chef who poured her heart into creating delectable dishes that meet her diet's rigorous guidelines. So the diet that she's following is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. If you haven't heard about it, Emily is an expert. And for her, the diet has led to a healthier and happier life. Now, if you're curious about this and can't wait to get the book, head over to her website Emily's Fresh Kitchen - it's the same name as the book title. You will find incredible recipes, inspiring stories, and photos there. She does a top-notch job. I also want to share more about this Specific Carbohydrate Diet because you're probably curious. This is a primarily plant-based diet, which is great for gardeners who want to eat fresh from the garden. And here's what Emily writes about on page nine of her book. Following this diet, I cooked myself out of disease and into good health. While the diet was strict, the results were miraculous. It was such a blessing not to have to take medications or to spend time in hospitals, my gut was healthy again, and I was able to start introducing foods that were not allowed while following the diet. Today, I strive for my diet to be 80% plant-based. I focus on fiber and try to get a variety of plant foods in my diet daily, including some gluten-free whole grains. This diet and way of life are working for her. Consequently, Emily has written a great cookbook with lots of ideas. I thought what I would do is walk you through the chapters here. First, she does a quick overview of what's in her pantry. Then, she talks about her favorite kitchen tools. I love the gadgets, and I love her tips on this. Emily has an excellent section on salads, main dishes, soups, sides, breakfast, and smoothies. That's a critical section for me because I always feel like if I can nail down what I'm having for breakfast, the rest of the day goes well. Then she shares appetizers and savory snacks, which is a good section, too. I've been looking for delicious things I can eat in the evenings. I will check this out. The next chapter covers sweets, treats, condiments, dressings, and spice blends. This is an essential tool, especially if you're going to a plant-based diet because you don't want to lose the flavor. And then drinks and cocktails. Emily is pretty thorough, and it's easy to tell that this is an entire lifestyle for her. She's mastered this, and she can use her own story as a testament to the fact that it does work; to cook your way to better health. This book is 284 pages of nutritious and flavorful dishes that will help heal your body and get you back on the road to health. You can get a copy of Emily's Fresh Kitchen: Cook Your Way to Better Health by Emily Maxson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $25. This is a great gift book if you're looking for an excellent garden-to-table cookbook. Botanic Spark 1859 On this day, Calvin Fletcher, American attorney, banker, farmer, and state senator in Indianapolis, wrote these words in his diary: This a most delightful Sabbath morn and the anniversary of my leaving Westford, Massachusetts in 1817 forty two years ago. [It's] also the anniversary of my alliance to my sainted wife in 1821 thirty eight years ago to day. Both days are of great beauty & loveliness. This morn I worked my garden & retrospected on the past. Brought up the enumerable reasons for gratitude to Almighty God for the undeserved blessings have enjoyed. All nature seemed to accord to my strain of thought. Bless the Lord O! my soul & all that is within me say Amen! Mrs. F. & I went to Westly Chapel to hear E. preach from the Canticles (Solomon's Songs): "The winter is past & the time of singing of birds has come..." Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1766 John Mulso writes to his friend English naturalist, Gilbert White, in Selborne Gilbert White was born in 1720, So he was 46 when he received this letter from John. At the time. Gilbert had been keeping a journal about the goings on in his garden. Gilbert kept a journal for about three decades, and it was eventually published to the delight of readers everywhere. Today people still love reading through Gilbert White's notations, drawings, and comments. Gilbert had a knack for observing the natural world and describing in a relatable way all the goings on outdoors. Gilbert was very curious. He was also really personable. When John Mulso begins his letter with a comment on the garden, he finds a point of agreement. Vegetation thrives apace now, and I suppose you are quite intent on your new study. You will not perhaps relish a Prospect the worse when we force you to look up, as presume you will go with your eyes fixed on the ground most part of the summer. You will pass with country folks as a man always making sermons, while you are only considering a Weed. John makes a very astute observation - Gilbert liked gardening more than anything else on Earth. Gilbert was like many pastors or reverends of his time who also pursued their hobbies as naturalists or gardeners. During the growing season, it was coming for a naturalist parson to get distracted by their gardens. 1809 A retired Thomas Jefferson enjoyed spending most of his time in his garden. (Finally!) In the spring of this year. Thomas was no longer consumed with the duties of being president. We know that in the last year of his presidency, he spent many hours pining for his garden and accumulating plants from his friend Bernard McMann and other plantsmen. So in April of 1809, Thomas Jefferson was living his dream and his best life as a gardener. He wrote to his friend, Etienne Lemaire, on this day, I am constantly in my garden or farms. And am exclusively employed out of doors as I was within doors when I was at Washington. I find myself infinitely happier in my new mode of life. Isn't that an interesting observation? Comments like that may pass unnoticed, but this change in seasons, the warmer weather, and getting outdoors is powerful medicine. Spending time outdoors plays a role in our attitudes and our moods. We get more vitamin D we feel more energy. This time of year, we eat the fresh green offerings from our gardens, whether microgreens or asparagus. The rhubarb is popping. You can even eat some hosta leaves, little tiny rolled-up cigars, as they emerge from the Earth. You can cut and fry them up in a pan the same way you would asparagus. (If they're good enough for the deer, they're good enough for us.) They're pretty tasty. The key is to harvest them early - just like you would the fiddleheads. The joys of spring... 1851 George Herbert Engleheart, English pastor and plant breeder, was born. Like Gilbert White, George Herbert Engleheart was a gardener and a pastor. In 1889, George began breeding daffodils - some 700 varieties in his lifetime. Sadly many of them have been lost to time, but we know that some survived. Fans of 'Beersheba,' 'Lucifer,' or 'White Lady' owe a debt of gratitude to Reverend Engleheart. Engleheart spent every spare minute breeding, and his parishioners would often find a note tacked to the church door saying, "No service today, working with daffodils." Engleheart's charming note reminds me of the little notes that gardeners hang on their porches or somewhere on their front door saying something sweet, like, " in the garden." And if you don't have one of those signs, you can grab a little chalkboard and a little twine And make your own. 1905 On this day, David Fairchild, the great botanist, married Marian Graham Bell, the daughter of Alexander Graham Bell. Marian and David Fairchild had a long and happy marriage. When David went on his plant explorations, Marian would often accompany him. Together the couple had three children. David Fairchild is considered American botanical royalty for all his collecting and the sheer quantity of his plant introductions, including items like pistachios, mangoes, dates, soybeans, flowering cherries, and nectarines. Without David Fairchild, we would not have cherry trees blooming in Washington, DC. We also might not have kale at Trader Joe's. (David Fairchild is the man who brought kale to the United States.) David also got the avocado here as well. David Fairchild had a fair amount of luck in his life. He had a generous benefactor in a wealthy woman named Barbara Latham, who funded many of his adventures. Of course, by marrying Marian, David had access to the connections of his famous father-in-law. Today you can continue to learn about David Fairchild and see his legacy at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida. It is filled with many of the plants that David himself collected. And, of course, it's named in his honor. 1911 Harry Radlund, a gardener from Kilborne, Wisconsin, shared his garden successes with a plantsman named Henry Field. In 1911, Henry announced a garden contest for his customers to encourage good gardening. Later, he put their stories together in The Book of a Thousand Gardens. In the forward, Henry wrote, I requested them to send in the stories of their gardens, true unvarnish- ed stories telling what they grew, how they grew it, what paid best, how big the garden was, what troubles they had, and how they overcame them. Also asked them to send in some pictures if possible. These letters are the result. And they are the most interesting batch of letters I ever read. They are real heart to heart talks, told in their own language and in their own way. And the pictures, well you can look at them for yourself. Every garden was a real garden not a paper garden. The people were real people like you and I and our neighbors. There were men and women and boys and little girls and old bachelors. They were all garden cranks and garden lovers. You can learn more by a study of these letters than by reading all the text books in creation. You get the real stuff here. Real experience. The only trouble was, I run short of room in the book. It would have taken a book as big as Webster's Unabridged to hold them all in full. Here's Harry's garden story from 1911: On April 23d, I planted some kale seed from you. We tried to raise kale for ten years but never had any success. This year, the best is about 3 1/2 feet high and about three feet wide without spreading the leaves. On the same day planted some dill, parsley, onion seed and onion sets. The dill grew good and went to seed, the parsley didn't grow very good. My early cabbage grew good and all the heads were used. The first planting of radishes was on April 25th, and I have had radishes all summer. The Shenandoah tomatoes in the garden are dandies, the best we ever had. So are the cucumbers. My cauliflower didn't grow very well in the warm weather, but is growing fine now. 1948 Leslie Young Carrethers, American poet & artist, died. So much about Leslie has been lost to time. But one of his accomplishments is little garden poetry books that are very challenging to find nowadays. I got my copies on eBay, and I love them. I think they're so precious and filled with little poetry about various garden plants, trees, and nature. Now, these books are tiny little pamphlets. Leslie produced about half a dozen or so. They've got adorable little titles, like These Shady Friends (about trees), blooming Friends, and More Blooming Friends. Now Leslie's friends called him Reggie. I didn't realize this until recently when I stumbled on some more research about him. But this clue leads me to think that one of the little books I bought on eBay was one of Reggie's copies because he signed it, making it even more precious to me. But I thought I would share a few little snippets from Leslie to give you a taste. He's whimsical when he writes and coves the garden and plants. Here's a little poem that he wrote about Lemon Verbena. If I were allowed only to grow One fragrant herb I know I'd choose Lemon Verbena. Oh yes, my views Are prejudiced, I'll admit ts so. But I love the way She scents my garden At close of day On a silver plate, In a crystal bowl A spray of her leaves Delights my soul. And then here's a poem that he wrote about the Foxglove. The fox-glove in the garden Is very, very sly. She always looks at the earth below- Not at the passer-by. But I will tell her secret, Known only to birds and trees When no one is near With her spotted lips She eats the bumble-bees. Finally, here's his poem about Monkshood. Beware of the Monkshood- His deep purple cowl Is a tricky disguise- He's as wise as an owl. You may think that he bends his head over to pray- He doesn't he brews fearful poisons all day. He's a wicked magician, by evil obsessed Don't be tricked by his acting nor how he is dressed. I hope this gives you a tiny sampling of the charming poetry of Leslie Young Carrethers. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation The Gardener's Guide to Prairie Plants by Neil Diboll and Hilary Cox This book came out this year. It's another brand-new book for gardeners and an invaluable reference for Prairie plants. So, if you are working with native plants, putting together a tiny meadow, as we discussed with yesterday's book, Tiny and Wild. or if you want to add to your garden reference collection, then this book is truly a gem. Here's what Doug Tallamy wrote about this book. If you are looking for the complete- and I do mean complete - guide to than this much-needed book. Diboll and Cox cover not only what prairie species look prairie ecosystems, you will not do better like each of their growth stages (a first!), they also dive deep into their historical and ecological roles in prairie ecosystems. So overall, this book is an excellent book and reference guide. One feature I love about this book is how they produced the cover. Even though it's a paperback, it's a little more firm plastic-coated cover, making it wipable. So I imagine having this book in the car with me or in the garden and handling the use and abuse. Now I want to take a second and say, have you ever seen Neil Diboll? (Maybe you are lucky enough to have attended one of his workshops or presentations.) But I want to say he is the friendliest-looking guy, and he is so approachable in how he shares information. I've watched some videos of him on YouTube, and he is frank and genuinely passionate about plants. In short, He is an excellent, very generous speaker and expert in the area of native plants, Prairie plants. Meadows wildflowers and the like, so the minute I saw that he was one of the authors of this book, I immediately put a little heart by it, and I was like, yes, I need to see this copy so that I can see what he did - And now I can also tell you about it. Now I will walk you through how the book is structured, But I won't get too deep in the weeds here. No pun intended. I will walk you through each of the chapters. So the book starts with the history and ecology of the Prairie. They also talk about understanding your soil, which is essential for growing anything, much less Prairie plants. Then they discuss how to design, plant, and maintain Prairie gardens. Chapter five is significant because it talks about all the different types of plants; it's a Prairie species field guide. They go into great detail about monocots and dichotomy. Grasses and sedges. This is about 300-plus pages worth of data here. Chapter Six is all about establishing a flourishing Prairie meadow. And so that dovetails nicely with yesterday's book, Tiny and Wild. So this would be a great companion piece to that book. I would say that book is more artistic and design oriented. This book is more of a reference. Chapter Seven talks about burning your Prairie safely. Chapter eight is about propagating Prairie plants from seed, which is pretty easy to do, and also a great way to save money because if you're creating a Prairie, you need to have plants in mass. Chapter Nine is about propagating plants vegetatively. So two excellent chapters on propagation there. Then Chapter 10 is an excellent addition to this book;l It's the Prairie food web. So there's a deep dive into that. And then there is a superb Chapter 11 at the back of the book that goes through the various Prairie seed mixes you might be intrigued by. So, if you are considering growing a Prairie - I had a friend do this a couple of years ago, and they did a beautiful job - but anyone who's raised a Prairie will tell you there is a science of growing a Prairie, which is precisely what is covered in this book - And then there is the art of developing a Prairie and maintaining a Prairie. So it's a little bit of both. It's the yin and yang of Prairie's, but this book will be an indispensable guide. If you are serious and curious about Prairie plants and native plants, especially if you're doing some restoration work, Maybe you are a landscaper, and you need to work with a lot of native plants; maybe you're just a gardener who has a passion for Prairie's Meadows, wildflowers and that type of thing, whatever your scenario, this is a great guide. It's also a heavy book - but it's not so heavy that it's cumbersome or unusable. This book is 636 pages- although it doesn't feel like it - of Prairie plants. Everything you need to know and A truly definitive guide. "A one-stop compendium" is what they say about this book on Amazon. You can get a copy of The Gardener's Guide to Prairie Plants by Neil Diboll and Hilary Cox and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $25. It is a worthy investment. Botanic Spark 1917 On this day, Maurice Baring writes about flying over the Fourth Army among some nature entries in his WWI diary. Maurice was a soldier with the Royal Flying Corps, and I think Maurice would be surprised and delighted to know that his diary is part of a gardening podcast here in 2023. I found a lovely little review of his diary, which became a book called A War Diary by Maurice Baring. The reviewer wrote: The remarkable thing about his book is that although it has an objective quality, it is also extraordinarily personal. It is far from being a history of the work of the R.F.C. during the war. It attempts nothing of the kind. It is rather an account of the author during the war, and by noting down whatever interested him at the moment, whether it was the book he happened to be reading or a talk he had had, he conveys to us what the war was in reality to him. His irrelevancies are relevant to that. An enormous number of these entries might have been made in his diary if there had been no war going on. Yet their inclusion is precisely what conveys to us the sense of actuality. He has endless details to attend to, news and odd rumours pour in from all sides, men are fighting and being killed (often he stops to record the death of a friend), yet his other interests persist. He is not always thinking about the war he copies out passages from the books he reads, quotes the poets, translates Horace; speculates about this and that, trusting that if he puts down all these things without emphasis, picture of what the war was actually like IS an experience to live through at H.Q. will be left in the reader's mind. Entries follow each other pell-mell. These are typical pages. Dip in anywhere and you will find the same drift of unconnected observations and unaccentuated records, noted down simply and quickly, by a man sensitive to many sides of life. Read the whole book and a curious ineffaceable impression remains of a confused process of human activity and emotion rushing on, on, on, in a definite direction, like a train which carries its passengers, now looking out of the windows, now talking together, now occupied with their own memories, on to a terminus. Such is Mr. Baring's record of the war. As a gardener, I am delighted by the number of times Maurice mentions some plant or something happening in nature. The natural world was an anchor for him amid wartime chaos and heartbreak. Here's what Maurice wrote: On April 25th, 1917: We heard two shots in the air on the way there on the way back, just as we were this side of the Somme, a kite balloon was shot down and floated down into the river. We were looking at this; at that moment a scout appeared in the sky, and came swooping towards us. I thought it was a German, and that we were going to land looking down at the shelled condition of the ground. I was terrified. It turned out to be an S.E.It was bitterly cold : the earth looked like was a photograph: a war photograph. April 26th. I cannot read any more, not another line of the Golden Bowl by Henry James. April 28th. The garden full of oxlips and cowslips. The trees are red with sap. The hedges are budding. April 20th. We went to Vert Galant to see Harvey Kelly, who commands No. 19 Squadron... He always took a potato and a reel of cotton with him when he went over the lines. The Germans, he said, would be sure to treat him well if he had to land on the other side, and they found him provided with such useful and scarce commodities. He was the first pilot to land in France. A little look back at WWI through the eyes of a nature lover, a gardener, and a pilot. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1575 Birth of Jakob Böhme, German original thinker. Jakob Böhme did a great deal of thinking and writing, not only about theology and Christianity but also about the natural world. Here's what Mary Oliver wrote about Böhme. I read Jacob Boehme and am caught in his shining web. Here are Desire and Will that should be (he says) as two arms at one task; in my life they are less cooperative. Will keeps sliding away down the hill to play when work is called for and Desire piously wants to labor when the best season of merriment is around me. Troublemakers both of them them. And another writer I admire and enjoy is Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth wrote about Jakob Böhme in her book, The Signature of All Things. The title of her book is from something that Jakob Böhme had written. Jacob Boehme was a sixteenth-century cobbler from Germany who had mystical visions about plants. Many people considered him an early botanist. Alma's mother, on the other hand, had considered him a cesspool of residual medieval superstition. So there was considerable conflict of opinion surrounding Jacob Boehme. The old cobbler had believed in something he called the signature of all things"- namely, that God had hidden clues for humanity's betterment inside the design of every flower, leaf, fruit, and tree on earth. All the natural world was a divine code, Boehme claimed, containing proof of our Creator's love. 1766 Robert Bailey Thomas, founder, editor, and publisher of The Old Farmer's Almanac, is born. Robert made his first edition - his very first copy of The Old Farmer's Almanac -back in 1792. 1889 Paul George Russell, American botanist, is born. Paul George Russell was born in Liverpool, New York. He worked as a botanist for the United States government for over five decades. Paul George Russell went on collecting trips in Northern Mexico. He's remembered in the names of several different plants, including the Verbena russellii, a woody flowering plant that is very pretty. And he's also remembered in the naming of the Opuntia russellii, which is a type of prickly pear cactus. Now during his career, Paul George Russell could identify plants based on what their seeds looked like. One of the ways that he developed this skill is he compiled a seed bank of over 40,000 different types of sources. Today Paul George is most remembered for his work with cherry trees. He was a vital part of the team that was created to install the living architecture of Japanese cherry trees around the Washington Tidal Basin. Paul George Russell put together a little bulletin, a little USDA circular called Oriental Flowering Cherries, in March 1934. It was his most impressive work. His guide provided all kinds of facts and detailed information about the trees just when it was needed most. People were curious about the cherry trees and fell utterly in love with them once they saw them blooming in springtime. Paul George Russell passed away at the age of 73 after having a heart attack. On a poignant note, he was supposed to see his beloved cherry trees in bloom with his daughter. They had planned a trip to go to the tidal basin together. But unfortunately, that last visit never happened. So this year, when you see the cherry trees bloom, raise a trowel to Paul, George Russell, and remember him and his fine work. And if you can get your hands on a copy of that 72-page circular he created in 1934, that's a find. It's all still good information. 1841 Charles Sprague Sargent, American botanist, is born. He was the first director of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum. Charles was known for being a little curmudgeonly. He was pretty stoic. One of my favorite stories about Charles was the day he went on an exploration of mountains. The botanist accompanying him could hardly contain himself when they stopped at a spot of singular beauty. The botanist was jumping around and shouting for joy, and he looked over at Charles Sprague Sargent and said something to the effect of "How can you stand there and say and do nothing amidst this incredible beauty?" That's one of my favorite stories and a glimpse into the personality of Charles Sprague Sargent. 1914 James M. Bates observed a deep violet patch of blooming flowers in an alfalfa field in Arcadia Valley County in Nebraska. James wrote about the experience in a publication called The American Botanist. The plant that James was writing about was Chorispora tenella, which is in the mustard family. It is known by several common names, including purple mustard, Musk mustard, or the cross flower - because it's a crucifer meaning the flowers are in a cross shape. Now the name Musk flower has to do with the fragrance, the smell;, on a website for Colorado wildflowers, the author wrote, I think they smell of Crayola crayons, warmed and melting in the sun. And so I called this plant, the crayon plant. So purple mustard or Muskflower, however, you call it, is edible, in case you were wondering. The backyard forger writes that You can snip the top four to six inches off of each plant. Including the flowers, which are not only edible, but pretty, now you might be asking yourself, how could I use purple mustard And feast magazine says this purple mustard can be used much the same way as you would. Other mustards Spread some on your next arugala sandwich. Serve it alongside pickles and crusty bread with charcuterie. Whisk a teaspoon into your vinaigrettes instead of Dijon. So there are some uses for your purple mustard. 1916 Today Vassar College honored Shakespeare on the 300th anniversary of his death by planting pansies. Students from Winifred Smith's Shakespeare class and Emmeline Moore's botany class planted the pansies in a garden on the school grounds. And, of course, Shakespeare referred to pansies as the flower for thoughts. A flower that can withstand the cold, pansies have a chemical, essentially nature's antifreeze, that allows it to fight those cold temperatures. The Canadian naturalist Charles Joseph Sariol once said that pansies should be grown from seed. Beatrix Potter liked Pansies. And the happy poet Edgar Albert Guest wrote about pansies in verse from his poem To Plant a Garden. If you'd get away from boredom, And find new delights to look for, Learn the joy of budding pansies, Which you've kept a special nook for. Pansies are a happy flower and a great way to honor Shakespeare. 1919 Ernest H. Wilson worked at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and received a shipment of Kurume azaleas from Japan. Ernest wrote, "104 azaleas were unpacked at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard, and all were found alive. Considering the length of their journey. They were in good condition." Ernest also alludes to the fact that he had to work on nurturing his relationship with his growers and gardeners. The Kurume azaleas were grown by a Japanese gardener who had "a reluctance to part with them". And so the fact that these azaleas made it to America was in no small measure due to the relationship building and people skills of Ernest Henry Wilson - something that doesn't often get enough attention when we think about plant explorers. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Tiny and Wild by Graham Laird Gardner Graham has the perfect last name for a garden author - Gardner. I mean, how'd that happen? In any case, this is a beautiful book. It's one of the prettiest books for gardeners this year. And the subtitle is Build a Small-Scale Meadow Anywhere. So, of course, we're talking about creating tiny Meadows on your property. The cover of this book had to be appealing; there are a lot of attractive purple flowers in the meadows, of course. The cover illustrates how you can integrate wildflowers - flowers you will find in Meadows that you can use in your outdoor living spaces and garden designs- and how those flowers play an essential role in our ecosystems. Now Graham kicks things off in this book by asking, "Why a mini meadow?" (I will share my thoughts on why a mini meadow might be just the ticket for your garden after Graham's appeal.) Graham writes, You've heard the calling for a more resilient biodiverse garden, full of flowers and movement that's inspired by natural plant communities and the wild spaces around you. Perhaps you feel a sense of nostalgia for the wilderness of your childhood? Or need to invite wild places home. Do you have a balcony or an underperforming section of yard? Maybe you have an area of lawn you'd like to convert or a section of your veggie plot you'd like to devote to attracting more pollinators and other beneficial insects; however, you're not quite sure where to begin. And so, of course, many Meadows might be the solution that you've been looking for. Now, when I think about answering the question, "Why mini-meadows?" I think the timing is correct in terms of design trends and acceptance. We've all been exposed to Piet Oudolf's gardens, and he's been incorporating plants like grasses and wildflowers for so long. He's been painting our public spaces with his version of Meadows - beautiful, beautiful Meadows - that are handpicked and planted to maximize beauty. So I think gardeners are ready for this book. The other day, I talked to my neighbor across the street, and she shares a common pond area with other neighbors. And for most of the year, it can be rather unsightly, especially if we're going through a drought. And so she was wondering what they could do, what they should be planting, and I think the answer is found in this book with many of the plants that would go in a meadow. Think of all kinds of grasses, wildflowers, and of course, incorporating lots of native plants - embracing the wildness that you find along so many of our waterways, whether it's a river, a brook, or a pond, for instance. Now the chapters in this book are as follows: First, find inspiration in your parks and the plant communities that are around you. The second chapter talks about the importance of site selection. Don't underestimate this because, as the saying goes for real estate and houses when you're going to home your plants, you need to think about location, location, location. Then the third chapter talks about design tips for your mini meadow -how to combine the beauty and the function of a field in your garden. The next couple of chapters get into the nitty-gritty of installing a meadow, which isn't as complicated as it sounds, but it's great to have a detailed guide like this to help you remember all the little details. Chapter Six talks about how to maintain your meadow, which is Probably the most crucial chapter in the book, and it's where the bulk of your annual laborers will come into play. And then, chapter seven is the fun chapter - What to Plant. Here Graham shares a bunch of different plant lists and charts so that you can pick the perfect plants for your tiny metal. I love that. So in the past couple of years, you've heard me talk about planting mini orchards, Reforesting with mini forests - and now we are here, building Tiny and wild Meadows In our gardens. You can get a copy of Tiny and Wild by Graham Laird Gardner and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $17. Botanic Spark 1916 On this day, a small garden known as Foundation Stone was installed at Farm Leigh house in Phoenix Park. A man named Patrick Pearse helped christen the garden with a commemorative speech. This unique garden was a reflection of the solar system on that very day. So the planets and their alignment were perfectly represented by nine lichen-covered boulders positioned to orbit a granite bowl, representing the sun. This simple garden with nine boulders and a granite bowl also incorporated circular ripples of grass around the boulders, accentuating their perfect placement in the garden, which mirrored the night sky. To me, this garden perfectly illustrates that there is no end to the amount of creativity we can use when it comes to garden design. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1597 On this day, The Herbal, by the English herbalist John Gerard, was first published. Today the book is considered a plagiarization of Rembert Dodoens's herbal published over forty years earlier. In his book, John shared over 800 species of plants and gorgeous woodcut illustrations. His descriptions were simple and informative. For instance, in his description of Self-heal or Brownwort (Prunella Vulgaris), he wrote, There is not a better wound herb to be found. In other instances, his descriptions gave us a glimpse into life in the 17th century. Regarding Borage blossoms, which he called Boragewort, he wrote, Those of our time use the flowers in salads to exhilerate and make the mind glad. During his life, John was allowed to garden on land at Somerset House, and for a time, he served as the herbalist to King James. In 1578, John was the first person to record and describe the Snakeshead fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris "mel-ee-aye-gris") thought to be native to parts of Britain but not Scotland. Today John is remembered in the botanical genus Gerardia. Today, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sells Christmas cards featuring John Gerard's woodcuts of Holly, Pears, and Mistletoe. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust cares for Shakespeare's family homes and shares the love of Shakespeare from his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. Anyway, if you'd like to support a great organization and enjoy the John Gerard Christmas cards and gift wrap, head on over to https://shop.shakespeare.org.uk/. 1826 Birth of Sereno Watson, American botanist & curator of the Gray Herbarium at Harvard University in Boston. He's remembered for succeeding Asa Gray at the herbarium and continuing much of his work from 1873 until his death. A great master of botany in the American west, he also wrote Botany of California. Modern botany students easily identify Sereno for his extremely impressive beard. Sereno was admired and respected by his peers for his great attention to detail. For instance, in 1871, Sereno named a new plant genus Hesperochiron for two little wildflowers only found in the western part of the United States. Hespero means west, and Chiron is a nod to the Centaur and the first herbalist who taught humanity about the healing powers of plants. When Sereno named this genus, he rejected the classification of these plants as members of the snapdragon family. But, after dissecting them, Sereno was convinced they belonged with the gentians. This type of due diligence and careful study made Sereno Watson a great botanist. Today, Sereno is remembered with a very cool plant: the saw palmetto or the Serenoa repens palm. This small palm which only grows to 8-10 feet tall, is the only species in the genus Serenoa. 1833 Birth of Ellsworth Jerome Hill, Presbyterian minister, writer, and American botanist. When Ellsworth was only 20 years old, one of his knees stopped working. A doctor attempted to help him figure out a way to make a living and suggested he study botany. Ellsworth pursued the suggestion and crawled from his house to the orchard, where he would pick a few flowers and then crawl back to the house to identify them. The following year, Ellsworth was using canes to walk, and he moved to Mississippi, where the climate was warmer. After Ellsworth met and married a young woman named Milancy Leach, she became his daily helpmate. When Ellsworth felt especially lame or lacked strength, Milancy would step in and finish the work for him. When Ellsworth was 40, he somehow put his lameness behind him. In the back half of his life, he seemed to be better able to manage his physical challenges and cope with the symptoms. In a touching tribute to Ellsworth after his death, the great botanist and grass expert Agnes Chase wrote: Most of these collections were made while Ellsworth walked on crutches or with two canes. Ellsworth told me that he carried his vasculum over his shoulder and a camp stool with his crutch or cane in one hand. To secure a plant, he would drop the camp stool, which opened of itself, then he would lower himself to the stool and dig the plant. Ellsworth recovered from his lameness but often suffered acute pain from cold or wetness or overexertion. But this did not deter him from making botanical trips that would have taxed a more robust man. In the Dunes, I have seen him tire out more than one able-bodied man. Ellsworth recognized the value in revisiting places that had been previously botanized. It was Ellsworth Jerome Hill who said, In studying the flora of a restricted region, no matter how carefully it seems to have been explored, one is frequently surprised by new things... No region can be regarded as thoroughly explored until every acre of its wild areas at least has been examined. Some plants are SO rare or local or grow under such peculiar conditions that a few square rods or even feet may comprise their range. 1945 Birth of Bette Midler, American singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer. She was born in Honolulu. In 1979, Bette starred in her first movie called The Rose. She didn't win an academy award for her Rose performance; that award went to Sally Field for Norma Rae. But forty years later, in 2019, Bette was honored by the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) with a rose named in honor of her stage persona: The Divine Miss M. On June 19th, 2019, the NYBG introduced Bette's white-yellow rose with a fragrance of mint and lime at the New York Restoration Project Spring Picnic at the Botanical Garden in New York City. After receiving the honor, Bette commented, I didn't win the Oscar for The Rose. Of course, I never think about it. But I do want to say right now, and there's no Norma Rae rose. In 1995, Bette started the New York Restoration Project, a nonprofit that renovates and restores neglected NYC parks to ensure green space for all New Yorkers. By the end of the event, Bette led the crowd in a rose song sing-a-long: Lyn Anderson's "Rose Garden," Bette's "The Rose," and "Everything's Coming Up Roses." Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Punk Ikebana by Louesa Roebuck This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is Reimagining the Art of Floral Design. The great American naturalist, writer, and illustrator, Obi Kaufmann wrote the forward and he clearly is a huge fan of this book. He wrote, I will gush. When asked by Louesa to write the foreword to this dangerous and monumentally beautiful book, I howled a perfectly contradictory mix of terror and delight. I've been bewitched by the magic that is Louesa and her art for years. I identified her long ago as the very best kind of revolutionary, and I signed up. As an intrepid peace punk, Louesa presents a world to her audience that heals as it wounds. In her writing, in her ikebana, and through her punk ethos, she reverses the polarity of so many expectations, and the effect is effortless, aesthetic alchemy in which the silent is transformed into the loud, the ugly is made to be beautiful, and the empty is found to be surprisingly full. Ikebana is simply the art of Japanese flower arrangement. Louesa's take on Ikebana is unique and extraordinary - and people have described her work as punk for over a decade. Louesa wrote in the introduction, When I'm asked what punk ikebana means to me, my gut response is I'm not completely sure yet. I do recall friends and colleagues casually referring to my work as "punk ikebana" as far back as 2008. They perhaps saw something new and iconoclastic in my work before I did. Now you may be wondering, "What is punk ikebana?" Louesa shares her musings on some key precepts like silence, minimalism, harmonious forms and lines, names, humanity, and composing in situ. She writes, Silence: In ikebana, this particularly refers to a quiet appreciation of nature, free of noise or idle talk. Minimalism: Here's where my punk aesthetic comes in. I'm a bit of a rebel and a maximalist more often than not. I do strive for harmony and balance in my compositions always, but I also love the glam, the sexy, the louche, even. Harmonious form and line: When you gather and glean seasonal and local flora and compose naturally, you will find that harmony comes effortlessly. The longer, deeper, more studied, or more expansive your search becomes, the more treasures you find just outside your doors. Mother Earth contains all of the multitudes where they need to be; there's no need to fly flora in from anywhere else. Names: One traditional precept of ikebana is to know the names of the flora you use, as naming is a form of respect. For me, this is complicated. I absolutely acknowledge the power of naming something, the inherent respect of saying, "T see you; I know your name and some of who you are." However, naming is also charged and complex. I often speak of flora in inconsistent terms, because that's how I've come to know them. Sometimes the common name rolls more easily off the tongue. This is art and, in the way of art, often an inexact science. Sometimes it's as simple as, say, preferring the word Nepenthes to describe any one of this genus of over 170 species. Which one should you use in your arrangement? With most choices I lean toward a less literal interpretation. I could prescribe you use only Nepenthes rafflesiana, the Malaysian pitcher plant, but why? Instead, I offer you thoughts on my flora friends under the names by which I have come to love them and encourage you to call them what makes sense to you, always with respect. Composed in situ: When we bring our newfound or long-loved flora friends into our homes or otherwise carry these gifts inside, the dialogue with place continues. It evolves each time I arrange scented geraniums with the recently discovered wild peonies on our land; or datura and passionflower with an outlier of, say, cactus flower. Each time I compose, I am in dialogue with the room (or any other space): the color story; the textiles; the vessel; the totems; books; art; furniture, even. The arrangement does not exist in a vacuum; it lives, breathes, and communicates with the space as a whole. This is in keeping with the idea of animism: each object, stone, feather, and vessel has a life force. Energy is porous, interconnected, animated, and never static. When we begin to see, feel, and live this way, time and space expand. Louesa sees her beautiful work and this incredible book as a source of inspiration for you in your work with arranging flowers. She does not want her readers to approach her work rigidly. She writes, Punk rejects human hierarchies, so reject the mantle of "expert" or "sensei." Adhering to "the heart of the novice" as a guiding principle requires it. We are all learning, and learning is most fruitful when we do it together. I would add that in our increasingly beleaguered world, my learning doesn't solely come from other humans but from our nonhuman relatives and ancestors. Every time I engage in this medium of floral arranging or let us say, punk ikebana I hope to learn, not to teach or instruct. Teaching is only a byproduct of learning; they are one and the same, are they not? This book is 256 pages of the way of flowers and the rules you need to master in order to bend them and make your own punk ikebana wonders and enjoy them in your home. You can get a copy of Punk Ikebana by Louesa Roebuck and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $40. Botanic Spark 1955 On this day, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, after a bus driver ordered her to give up her bus seat to another passenger and she refused. That Thursday had started pretty uneventfully for Rosa. She was a seamstress for a department store, and in her bag was a yellow floral Sunday dress that she was sewing for her mom. Rosa had learned to sew from the women in her family. Both her mother and grandmother sewed. Her grandmother made quilts. Rosa had attended the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. She subsidized her income as a tailor's assistant and seamstress, with sewing work for private clients, friends, and family members. Rosa's yellow dress was a wrap dress with a small shawl collar and a v-neck made of fabric featuring brown and yellow flowers and leaves. The flared skirt had six gores, three pleats, and full-length sleeves. The dress also had a fabric belt. Today that floral dress is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1791 On this day, Martha Ballard recorded her work as an herbalist and midwife. For 27 years, Martha kept a journal of her work as the town healer and midwife for Hallowell, Maine. In all, Martha assisted with 816 births. Today, Martha's marvelous journal gives us a glimpse into the plants she regularly used and how she applied them medicinally. As for how Martha sourced her plants, she raised them in her garden or foraged them in the wild. As the village apothecary, Martha found her ingredients and personally made all of her herbal remedies. Two hundred twenty-nine years ago today, Martha recorded her work to help her sick daughter. She wrote, My daughter Hannah is very unwell this evening. I gave her some Chamomile & Camphor. Today we know that Chamomile has a calming effect, and Camphor can help treat skin conditions, improve respiratory function, and relieve pain. 1835 Birth of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (known by his pen name Mark Twain), American writer and humorist. Samuel used the garden and garden imagery to convey his wit and satire. In 1874, Samuel's sister, Susan, and her husband built a shed for him to write in. They surprised him with it when Samuel visited their farm in upstate New York. The garden shed was ideally situated on a hilltop overlooking the Chemung ("Sha-mung") River Valley. Like Roald Dahl, Samuel smoked as he wrote, and his sister despised his incessant pipe smoking. In this little octagonal garden/writing shed, Samuel wrote significant sections of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, and many other short works. And in 1952, Samuel's octagonal shed was relocated to Elmira College ("EI-MEER-ah") campus in Elmira, New York. Today, people can visit the garden shed with student guides daily throughout the summer and by appointment in the off-season. Here are some garden-related thoughts by Mark Twain. Climate is what we expect; the weather is what we get. It was a soft, reposeful summer landscape, as lovely as a dream and as lonesome as Sunday. To get the full value of joy You must have someone to divide it with. After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the garden with her than inside it without her. 1874 Birth of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian writer and author of the Anne of Green Gables series. Lucy was born on Prince Edward Island and was almost two years old when her mother died. Like her character in Ann of Green Gables, Lucy had an unconventional upbringing when her father left her to be raised by her grandparents. Despite being a Canadian literary icon and loved worldwide, Lucy's personal life was marred by loneliness, death, and depression. Historians now believe she may have ended her own life. Yet we know that flowers and gardening were a balm to Lucy. She grew lettuce, peas, carrots, radish, and herbs in her kitchen garden. And Lucy had a habit of going to the garden after finishing her writing and chores about the house. Today in Norval, a place Lucy lived in her adult life, the Lucy Maud Montgomery Sensory Garden is next to the public school. The Landscape Architect, Eileen Foley, created the garden, which features an analemmatic (horizontal sundial), a butterfly and bird garden, a children's vegetable garden, a log bridge, and a woodland trail. It was Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote, I love my garden, and I love working in it. To potter with green growing things, watching each day to see the dear, new sprouts come up, is like taking a hand in creation, I think. Just now, my garden is like faith, the substance of things hoped for. 1875 Birth of Frank Nicholas Meyer, Dutch-American plant explorer. Frank worked as an intrepid explorer for the USDA, and he traveled to Asia to find and collect new plant specimens. His work netted 2,500 new plants, including the beautiful Korean Lilac, Soybeans, Asparagus, Chinese Horse Chestnut, Water Chestnut, Oats, Wild Pears, Ginkgo Biloba, and Persimmons, to name a few. Today, Frank is most remembered for a bit of fruit named in his honor - the Meyer Lemon. Frank found it growing in the doorway to a family home in Peking. The Lemon is suspected to be a hybrid of a standard lemon and mandarin orange. Early on in his career, Frank was known as a rambler and a bit of a loner. Frank once confessed in an October 11, 1901, letter to a friend, I am pessimistic by nature and have not found a road which leads to relaxation. I withdraw from humanity and try to find relaxation with plants. Frank was indeed more enthusiastic about plants than his fellow humans. He even named his plants and talked to them. Once he arrived in China, Frank was overwhelmed by the flora. A believer in reincarnation, Frank wrote to David Fairchild in May 1907: [One] short life will never be long enough to find out all about this mighty land. When I think about all these unexplored areas, I get fairly dazzled... I will have to roam around in my next life. While China offered a dazzling landscape of new plant discoveries, the risks and realities of exploration were hazardous. Edward B. Clark spoke of Frank's difficulties in Technical World in July 1911. He said, Frank has frozen and melted alternately as the altitudes have changed. He has encountered wild beasts and men nearly as wild. He has scaled glaciers and crossed chasms of dizzying depths. He has been the subject of the always-alert suspicions of government officials and strange peoples - jealous of intrusions into their land, but he has found what he was sent for. Frank improved the diversity and quality of American crops with his exceptional ability to source plants that would grow in the various growing regions of the United States. He was known for his incredible stamina. Unlike many of his peers who were carried in sedan chairs, Frank walked on his own accord for tens of miles daily. And his ability to walk for long distances allowed him to access many of the most treacherous and inaccessible parts of interior Asia - including China, Korea, Manchuria, and Russia. Frank died on his trip home to America. He had boarded a steamer and sailed down the Yangtze River. His body was found days later floating in the river. To this day, his death remains a mystery. But his final letters home expressed loneliness, sadness, and exhaustion. He wrote that his responsibilities seemed "heavier and heavier." The life of a Plant Explorer was anything but easy. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel This book came out in 2019, and the subtitle is The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood. John Lewis-Stempel is a farmer and a countryside writer - he prefers that title to 'nature writer.' The Times calls him Britain's finest living nature writer. Country Life calls him "one of the best nature writers of his generation.' His books include the Sunday Times bestsellers The Running Hare and The Wood. He is the only person to have won the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing twice, with Meadowland and Where Poppies Blow. In 2016 he was Magazine Columnist of the Year for his column in Country Life. He lives in Herefordshire ("heh-ruh-frd-shr") with his wife and two children. And The Wood was a BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' The Wood is written in diary format, making the whole reading experience more intimate and lyrical. John shares his take on all four seasons in the English woodlands, along with lots of wonderful nuggets culled from history and experience. And I might add that John is a kindred spirit in his love of poetry and folklore. John spent four years managing Cockshutt wood - three and a half acres of mixed woodland in southwest Herefordshire. The job entailed pruning trees and raising livestock (pigs and cows roam free in the woods). John wrote of the peace and privacy afforded him by his time in the woods. Cockshutt was a sanctuary for me too; a place of ceaseless seasonal wonder where I withdrew into tranquility. No one comes looking for you in wood. The Woods covers John's last year as the manager of Cockshutt. The publisher writes, [By then], he had come to know it from the bottom of its beech roots to the tip of its oaks, and to know all the animals that lived there the fox, the pheasants, the wood mice, the tawny owl - and where the best bluebells grew. For many fauna and flora, woods like Cockshutt are the last refuge. It proves a sanctuary for John too. To read The Wood is to be amongst its trees as the seasons change, following an easy path until, suddenly the view is broken by a screen of leaves, or your foot catches on a root, or bird startles overhead. This is a wood you will never want to leave. The Wood starts in December - making it the perfect holiday gift or winter gift. John writes about the bare trees and the gently falling snow. The landscape becomes still and silent. John writes, Oddly aware, walking through the wood this afternoon, that it is dormant rather than dead. How the seeds. the trees and hibernating animals....are locked in a safe sleep against the coldand wet. By January, the Wood stirs to life with the arrival of snowdrops. If snowdrops are appearing, then the earth must be wakening. Of all our wildflowers the white hells are the purest, the most ethereal. the most chaste... Whatever: the snowdrop says that winter is not forever. As The Wood takes you through an entire year, the book ends as another winter approaches. The trees are losing their leaves. Animals are preparing for their long sleep. John is preparing to leave the woods for his next chapter as well. Looking back, he writes, I thought the trees and the birds belonged to me. But now I realize that I belonged to them. This book is 304 pages of a joyful, poetic, and soul-stirring time in the woods with the elegantly articulate John Lewis-Stempel as your guide - he's part forest sprite with a dash of delightful nature-soaked tidbits. You can get a copy of The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $6. Botanic Spark 1936 On this day, the Crystal Palace in London was destroyed by fire. The spectacular blaze was seen from miles away. Joseph Paxton, the English gardener, architect, and Member of Parliament designed the Crystal Palace, aka the People's Palace, for the first World's Fair - the Great Exhibition of 1851. Joseph had built four elaborate glass greenhouses for the Duke of Devonshire in Chatsworth, which provided valuable experience for creating the Crystal Palace. The Joseph Paxton biographer Kate Colquhoun wrote about the immensity of the Palace: "[Paxton's] design, initially doodled on a piece of blotting paper, was the architectural triumph of its time. Two thousand men worked for eight months to complete it. It was six times the size of St Paul's Cathedral, enclosed 18 acres, and entertained six million visitors." The Crystal Place was an extraordinary and revolutionary building. Joseph found extra inspiration for the Palace in the natural architecture of the giant water lily. Instead of creating just a large empty warehouse for the exhibits, Joseph essentially built a massive greenhouse over the existing Hyde Park. The high central arch of the Palace - the grand barrel vault you see in all the old postcards and images of the Crystal Palace - accommodated full-sized trees that Joseph built around. Another innovative aspect of the Crystal Palace was the large beautiful columns. Joseph designed them with a purpose: drainage. By all accounts, the Crystal Palace was an enormous success until the fire started around 7 pm on this day. The manager, Sir Henry Buckland, had brought his little daughter, ironically named Chrystal, with him on his rounds of the building when he spied a small fire on one end of the Palace. Newspaper reports say the flames fanned wind through the Handel organ as the Palace burned to the ground. A sorrowful song to accompany the end of an era in plant exhibition. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1627 Birth of John Ray, English naturalist and writer. In 1660, he published a catalog of Cambridge plants. John developed his own system for classifying plants based on their observed similarities and differences. So he was clearly thinking about ways to distinguish one plant from another. And in his book, History of Plants, John was the first scientist to use the terms petal and pollen. John also wrote a Collection of English Proverbs. In one for summer, John wrote: If the first of July be rainy weather, It will rain, more or less, for four weeks together. 1799 Birth of Amos Bronson Alcott, American teacher, writer, Transcendentalist and reformer. In most aspects of his life, Amos was ahead of his time. He was also an abolitionist and an advocate for women's rights. He also advocated a plant-based diet. Amos once wrote, Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, Perennial pleasures, plants, and wholesome harvest reaps. In 1830, Amos married pretty Abigail May, and together they had four daughters; the second-oldest was Louisa May, born on this day in 1832. 1832 Birth of Louisa May Alcott, American writer, and poet. She grew up in the company of her parents' friends and fellow Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow In 1868, she wrote Little Women. In it, she wrote, Jo had learned that hearts, like flowers, cannot be rudely handled, but must open naturally... Louisa could be witty. She once wrote, Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes. 1978 Death of Edward C. Hummel, American plantsman and hybridizer. Edward and his wife Minnie ran Hummel's Exotic Gardens of southern California for 43 years. They specialized in cacti, succulents, bromeliads ("brow·mee·lee·ads"), and orchids. In 1935, Edward and Minnie were featured in a Quaker State Motor Oil advertisement. The young Hummel family is in their home cactus garden. Edward is examining a cactus specimen while his daughter Marquetta and son Edward gather around. Mother Minnie is standing behind them, looking on. The ad garnered plenty of attention, and soon Edward was fielding requests from American gardeners for more information about his cactus garden. The letters gave Edward and Minnie the idea to start a mail-order business for their plants. In 1943, during WWII, Edward published Hummel's Victory Picture Book. The cover featured a photo of two 6-foot-tall Barrel cacti at the base, leaning away from each other at the top in a perfect V formation for victory. The book was a smash hit, and subsequent editions were quickly put together. In the first edition, Edward wrote a note to his customers in the forward. Perhaps you will wonder at receiving this free picture book which contains no prices of plants. If you enjoy a few minutes of interest and relaxation in looking it over, it will have fulfilled its obvious purpose. If your interest and curiosity are stirred to the point that you write us for further information, it will have fulfilled its hidden purpose. After the War, the fumes from LAX drove the Hummels to find a new home for their nursery. They settled in Carlsbad and purchased an existing nursery after the founder Dr. Robert W. Poindexter, died unexpectedly. The nursery was a perfect fit. Robert Poindexter shared the Hummel's passion for cacti and succulents. Robert's son John finalized the sale. Edward was especially interested in propagating and selling drought-resistant plants in his nursery. He won many awards for his plants and was primarily known for his work with Bromeliads ("brow·mee·lee·ads"). Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Flower Flash by Lewis Miller This book came out in 2021, and Lewis Miller is a celebrated floral designer and "Flower Bandit." The publisher writes, Before dawn one morning in October 2016, renowned New York-based floral designer Lewis Miller stealthily arranged hundreds of brightly colored dahlias, carnations, and mums into a psychedelic halo around the John Lennon memorial in Central Park. The spontaneous floral installation was Miller's gift to the city an effort to spark joy during a difficult time. Nearly five years and more than ninety Flower Flashes later, these elaborate flower bombs - bursts of jubilant blooms in trash cans, over bus canopies, on construction sites and traffic medians - have brought moments of delight and wonder to countless New Yorkers and flower lovers everywhere, and earned Miller a following of dedicated fans and the nickname the "Flower Bandit." After New York City entered lockdown, Miller doubled down, creating Flower Flashes outside hospitals to express gratitude to frontline health workers and throughout the city to raise spirits. This gorgeous and poignant visual diary traces the phenomenon from the first, spontaneous Flower Flash to the even more profound installations of the pandemic through a kaleidoscopic collage of photos documenting the Flower Flashes, behind-the-scenes snapshots, Miller's inspiration material, fan contributions, and more. Lewis begins his story this way. When pressed to define my own vision, a few words come to mind: Abundance. Contrast. Joy. Folly. Energy. Flowers are a medium like no other. They exist to be beautiful, to attract butterflies and bees. It's a simple but astounding life's mission. Yet all too often this profound essence is suffocated under the weight of other meaning. We humans assign arbitrary significance to almost everything and in the process snuff out the true purpose of that thing; flowers are not spared this imposition. Gladiolas can be dismissed as ghastly, lilies as rancid, and carnations as tacky. Such horrible words to describe flowers, and it doesn't stop there. The cacophony of derogatory remarks is endless: cheap, garish, weedy, "too country," gaudy, pretentious ... It can make the most ambitious flower lover hesitant to create anything for fear of damnation from the Taste Gods. The Flower Flash is my antidote to all that! Flower Flashes celebrate all the good that flowers embody and have to offer us mortals. In a Flash, every flower benefits equally from a sort of floral democracy and like most democracies, the Flash's success is largely dependent on the hardworking, unsung flowers that support the more delicate and fashionable blooms. Precious sweet peas share company with unloved carnations, chrysanthemums make nice with English garden roses. And it makes sense that this is the recipe for a successful Flash, because New York City, the birthplace of these random acts of beauty, is built on the same principle. Like a true Flower Flash, Gotham City is a glorious mash-up of all kinds of people and personalities. Since the roads aren't lined with roses, the Flower Flashes will be. This book is 240 pages of Flower Flash Flower Power with the Bandit himself - Lewis Miller - flower lover, flower advocate, and joyous bringer of random acts of beauty. You can get a copy of Flower Flash by Lewis Miller and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $16. Botanic Spark 1843 Birth of Gertrude Jekyll ("Jee-kul"), British horticulturist, garden designer, photographer, writer, and artist. Gertrude Jekyll was one of the most influential garden designers of the early 20th century. She created a spectacular garden at her property called Munstead Wood in England. She also created over 400 gardens in Europe and the United States. Today the Gertrude Jekyll pink rose is considered a gardener favorite, and the rose 'Munstead Wood' honors Gertrude's garden and is one of the most splendid wine red roses. In her book, On Gardening, Gertrude wrote, The Dahlia's first duty in life is to flaunt and to swagger and to carry gorgeous blooms well above its leaves, and on no account to hang its head. and When I pick or crush in my hand a twig of Bay, or brush against a bush of Rosemary, or tread upon a tuft of Thyme… I feel that here is all that is best and purest and most refined, and nearest to poetry ...of the sense of smell. Finally, Gertrude once wrote, The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but grows to the enduring happiness that the love of gardening gives. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1660 On this day, the first meeting occurred of what would become The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge. The Royal Society's Latin motto, 'Nullius in verba,' translates to "Take nobody's word for it." The motto reminded the Society's members to verify information through experiments and not just based on authority. 1694 Death of Matsuo Basho ("Bash=oh"), Japanese poet. He is remembered as the most famous poet of the Edo period and the greatest master of haiku. In one verse, Matsuo wrote, The temple bell stops But I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers. And in another poem from his book on traveling, he wrote, Many things of the past Are brought to my mind, As I stand in the garden Staring at a cherry tree. 1854 Birth of Gottlieb Haberlandt, Austrian botanist. His father was a pioneer in 'soybean' work, and his physiologist son is now regarded as the grandfather of the birth control pill. As for Gottlieb, he grew plant cells in tissue culture and was the first scientist to point out the possibility of the culture of Isolated & Plant Tissues. In 1902 he shared his original idea called totipotentiality ("to-'ti-pe-tent-chee-al-it-tee"), which Gottlieb defined as "the theory that all plant cells can give rise to a complete plant." Today we remember Gottlieb as the father of plant tissue culture. During the 1950s scientists proved Gottlieb's totipotentiality. Indeed, any part of a plant grown in nutrient media under sterile conditions can create a whole new plant. Today, the technique of tissue culture is a very efficient tool for propagating improved plants for food, hardiness, and beauty. 1881 Birth of Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer. During the 1920s and 1930s, at the peak of his career, Stefan was one of the most widely translated writers in the world. In The Post-Office Girl, Stefan wrote, For this quiet, unprepossessing, passive man who has no garden in front of his subsidised flat, books are like flowers. He loves to line them up on the shelf in multicoloured rows: he watches over each of them with an old-fashioned gardener's delight, holds them like fragile objects in his thin, bloodless hands. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation English Cottage by Andrew Sankey This book came out in 2022, and it is a master guide to cottage-style gardening. The chapters in this book cover: The History of the Cottage Garden, Creating the "Cottage Garden Style, Cottage Planting Style, Cottage Flowers, Companion Planting, Green Structure, and Traditional Features. In the Preface, Andrew shares a bit about his background and how he came to master English Cottage Gardening. My first introduction to the style of the English cottage garden came when I was given a copy of Margery Fish's book, We Made a Garden. Having been enthralled with the book, I then traveled down to Somerset to see her wonderful cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor. Shortly after this, Geoff Hamilton started to construct his cottage gardens for the BBC Gardeners' World programs and it soon became apparent that this was the style of gardening I myself wished to adopt. Not long after this I moved to Lincolnshire and started my own garden design/landscaping business, and I soon realized it was difficult to obtain the more unusual plants required for number of my garden designs, in particular plants for dry shade positions. This encouraged me to look for a larger garden with the potential to run a small specialist nursery. This resulted in purchasing Grade II listed cottage (built in 1852) with a good-sized old cottage garden. Although the original garden (like many in Lincolnshire) had once been an extremely long strip stretching back to the village pond, the plot that came with the cottage was much reduced. Nevertheless, at almost half an acre it was more than enough for me to manage. Luckily the garden was pretty much a blank canvas, having a couple of large old fruit trees, a vegetable patch, various outbuildings and a chicken hut; and this afforded me the opportunity to make something special of the garden. It was here that my love for cottage gardens blossomed. Over time I re-designed the garden, I created different rooms/areas, spring and summer borders, and began experimenting with colour schemes and companion planting. I joined the Cottage Garden Society and then helped form the Lincolnshire branch, eventually becoming chairman. Within a few years I opened the garden under the National Gardens Scheme; I then started writing articles and lecturing on different aspects of the cottage garden. This book is the culmination of my years working on my own cottage gardens, designing and creating cottage gardens for clients, experimenting with companion planting and lecturing widely on the subject. I very much hope you enjoy it. This book is 192 pages of cottage garden style in all its glory, with many lovely and inspiring photographs. You can get a copy of English Cottage by Andrew Sankey and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $25. Botanic Spark 1757 Birth of William Blake, English poet. During his lifetime, William wrote in relative obscurity. Today, he is an essential poet of the Romantic Age. He wrote, In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. In his poem, Auguries of Innocence, he wrote, To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. In his poem, A Poison Tree, William wrote about anger as a tree that grows as it gets tended. I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe; I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I water'd it in fears, Night & morning with my tears; And I sunned it with smiles And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright; And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine, And into my garden stole, When the night had veiled the pole: In the morning glad I see My foe outstretched beneath the tree. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1714 Birth of William Shenstone, English poet, and landscape gardener. In the early 1740s, Shenstone inherited his family's dairy farm, which he transformed into the Leasowes (pronounced 'lezzoes'). The transfer of ownership lit a fire under Shenstone, and he immediately started changing the land into a wild landscape - something he referred to as an ornamented farm. Shenstone wisely bucked the trend of his time, which called for formal garden design (he didn't have the money to do that anyway.) Yet, what Shenstone accomplished was quite extraordinary. His picturesque natural landscape included water features like cascades and pools and structures like temples and ruins. What I love most about Shenstone is that he was a consummate host. He considered the garden's comfort and perspective from his visitors' standpoint. When he created a walk around his estate, Shenstone wanted to control the experience. So, Shenstone added seating every so often along the path to cause folks to stop and admire the views that Shenstone found it most appealing. Then, he incorporated signage with beautiful classical verses and poems, even adding some of his own - which elevated the Leasowes experience for his guests. After his death, his garden, the Leasowes, became a popular destination - attracting the likes of William Pitt, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. It was William Shenstone who said, Grandeur and beauty are so very opposite, that you often diminish the one as you increase the other. Variety is most akin to the latter, simplicity to the former. 1806 Birth of Charles Leo Lesquereux, Swiss botanist. Leo was born with a naturalist's heart. A self-described dreamer, Leo loved going out into the forest, collecting all kinds of flowers and specimens for his mother. Sadly, when Leo was seven years old, he fell off the top of a mountain. He was carried back to his home completely unconscious, with multiple injuries to his body and head trauma. He remained motionless and unconscious for two weeks. His survival was a miracle, yet the fall resulted in hearing loss that would eventually leave Leo utterly deaf by the time he was a young man. Despite the fall, nature still ruled Leo's heart. As Leo matured, he tried to provide for his family as a watchmaker. But, he found himself returning again and again to the outdoors. Eventually, Leo began to focus his efforts on peat bogs, and his early work protecting peat bogs attracted the attention of Louis Agassiz of Harvard, who invited Leo to bring his family to America. When he arrived, Leo classified the plants that Agassiz had discovered on his expedition to Lake Superior. Then, on Christmas Eve, 1848, Asa Gray summoned Leo to help William Starling Sullivant. Asa predicted the collaboration would be successful, and he wrote to his friend and fellow botanist John Torrey: They will do up bryology at a great rate. Lesquereux says that the collection and library of Sullivant in muscology are magnifique, superbe,and the best he ever saw. So, Leo packed up his family, traveled to Columbus, Ohio, and settled near the bryologist, William Starling Sullivant. Bryology is the study of mosses. The root, bryos, is a Greek verb meaning to swell and is the etymology of the word embryo. Bryology will be easier to remember if you think of the ability of moss to expand as it takes on water. Mosses suited Leo and Sullivant's strengths. They require patience and close observation, scrupulous accuracy, and discrimination. Together, Leo and Sullivant wrote the book on American mosses. Sullivant funded the endeavor and generously allowed Leo to share in the proceeds. In 1873, Sullivant contracted pneumonia - ironically, an illness where your lungs fill or swell with fluid - and died on April 30, 1873. Leo lived for another 16 years before dying at the age of 83. It was Leo Lesquereux who said, My deafness cut me off from everything that lay outside of science. I have lived with Nature, the rocks, the trees, the flowers. They know me. I know them. 1810 Birth of Asa Gray, American botanist. As a professor of botany at Harvard University, Asa interacted with the top scientific minds of his time, including Charles Darwin. In 1857, Asa Gray received a confidential letter from Charles Darwin. In the letter, Darwin confided: I will enclose the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species....[but] I ask you not to mention my doctrine. Darwin revealed his concept of natural selection two years later in his book, On the Origin of Species. Asa and Darwin mutually admired each other. Although Asa's masterwork, Darwiniana, deviated from Darwin's because Asa purported that religion and science were not mutually exclusive. Asa was a prolific writer. His most famous work was his Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, from New England to Wisconsin and South to Ohio and Pennsylvania Inclusive, known today simply as Gray's Manual. During his long tenure at Harvard, Gray established the science of botany and guided American botany into the international arena. He also co-authored 'Flora of North America' with John Torrey. When the botanist Joseph Trimble Rothrock arrived at Harvard, he worked every day in the private herbarium of Asa Gray. And, of Dr. Gray, Rothrock said, [He] was kindness personified, though a strict disciplinarian and a most merciless critic of a student's work. I owe more to him than to any other man, and I never think of him without veneration. 1939 Birth of Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. In Bluebeard's Egg (1986), Margaret wrote, Gardening is not a rational act. What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth, that ancient ceremony of which the Pope kissing the tarmac is merely pallid vestigial remnant. In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich This book came out in 1942 (a 2007 reprint), and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces. Louise Dickinson Rich (14 June 1903 - 9 April 1991) was a writer known for fiction and nonfiction works about the New England region of the United States, particularly Massachusetts and Maine. This autobiographical book was her first and is regarded as her most famous and well-known work. Louise once wrote, I feel displaced in towns and cities; although have never found myself in an uninhabited place where I did not at once feel perfectly at home. We Took to the Woods is set in the 1930s when she and her husband Ralph, and her friend and hired help Gerrish, lived in a remote cabin near Umbagog Lake. It was described as "a witty account of Thoreau-like existence in a wilderness home." In a 1942 review of the book in The Boston Globe, the story of how Louise met her husband Ralph came to light. [Louise] taught school. She went on a holiday canoe trip to Maine and saw a man cutting wood. He saw her, too, for he asked the girls to stay and eat. Wasn't it lucky the wood lasted that long, for that is how Miss Dickinson met Mr. Rich. Back in Massachusetts, she couldn't bear the distance between them. Neither could he, and pretty soon she was married and setting up housekeeping in a neighborhood of deer and bear and wildcats, a clearing on the Rapid River, a carry between two lakes. The nearest community is Middle Dam, five miles away. A 1987 review of We Took to the Woods shared the daily life of Louise and her younger sister Alice, When other girls were spending cold winter afternoons stewing in the house, we were down at the pond skating, or out in the woods tracking rabbits ...or on hot summer afternoons, we were in the sun-drenched fields or shadowy woods, looking, listening, tasting, smelling. [To be part of the natural world is] a thousand times more thrilling and beautiful than watching the most elaborate man-made spectacle on the biggest stage in the world. A 1942 review in the Hattiesburg American revealed [Louise] (who speaks of herself as an "obscure Dickinson' because she is distantly related to the late and famous Emily) has found content in the Maine woods. She describes herself, her family and her contentment in 'We Took to the Woods." ...she is so deep in the Maine woods that strangers practically never reach her house. And she likes it. The cabin is in the Rangeley Lake Section. There were two cabins when Mrs. Rich wrote her book-- one for summer, and one for winter. The winter cabin looks like some- thing out of a fairy tale, imbedded as it is in snow too deep and too fluffy to be anything but a stage setting. There are animals all about deer and wildcats and foxes and skunks. Once she befriended a little skunk, and found it made perfect pet, gradually growing a bit wilder, however. Finally it took to the woods. But when by chance it saw Mrs. Rich it always trotted up to her to be fondled and talked to a bit. Mrs. Rich's first baby was born in the deep woods with only the father as attendant-the doctor couldn't get to the house on time. A more poetic review was featured in The Harding Field Echelon: [Louise once] received a letter from a friend exclaiming, "Isn't it wonderful that you're at last doing what you always wanted." [At that moment, Louise realized with a start that she was living her... dream. There is nothing at all on the hills but forest, and nobody lives there but deer and bear and wildcats. The lakes come down from the north like a gigantic staircase to the sea. Thisis the background for Mrs. Rich's unique and enchanting story. Her friends are always asking her questions, the kind of questions anyone would put to a woman who lives in a remote wilderness out of choice: How do you make a living? Do you really live there all year round? Isn't housekeeping difficult? Aren't the children a problem? Don't you get terribly bored? Here the whole panorama of life in the wilderness unfolds: the drama of the spring drive when the logs are brought down the river from the upper lake; the fun of wood-cutting and ice-cutting; the zest of hunting and fishing when one is dependent of the results for food. There are amusing sidelights on everyday events - [like] the time Mrs. Rich felt she was being watched and in spite of her husband's amusement, went to the door and saw a wildcat eyeing her, no more than three feet from where she had been knitting. We Took to the Woods is more than an adventure story, more than a simple nature study; it is a shining, refreshing picture of an entirely new way of life. Written with warmth and enthusiasm and great charm, it is a book to stir the imagination of every reader and kindle his heart with envy. This book is 368 pages of Louis Dickenson's precious life in the Maine woods. You can get a copy of We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $2. Botanic Spark 2000 On this day, The Indianapolis Star shared an editorial called November Garden Work Inspires by Jean L. McGroarty. Jean lives in Battle Ground with her husband and three teenagers. She is the director of education at the Tippecanoe Humane Society She wrote, I can't remember a Thanksgiving when I haven't been able to go to my garden and dig carrots or pull scallions for my after-holiday turkey soup. My garden, SO often neglected in July and August, still gives what can in November. I am not a good gardener, but I enjoy doing what little I do. My favorite chore is digging my little plot, a pleasure I have twice a year, once in March and once in November. I have a tiller but never use it. I prefer to use a garden fork, with wide, flat tines, a short stem, and a bright red handle. Digging my small garden is a lesson in patience, in small and gradual accomplishment. It gives me time to stop and reflect. It's a thinkless job. There IS no mental work involved, just the rhythm of tapping soil with the tines to find the right spot, pushing the fork Into the soil, lifting it up, and turning it over again and again and again. I can easily see my progress, for each fork full takes me closer to the garden put to bed for winter or ready for spring planting. I like this. I can't do it all at once and only work a little bit at a time, doing as much as I can, measuring my success, loving the feeling of inching my way to the goal. When I do this, I can turn my mind to other thoughts, listen to other sounds, see other things than the fork and the soil. It's a time to reflect, on seasons and work and growth deferred but growth that will come again someday. I count the earthworms because they give me an inkling of how fertile my soil will be in the spring. I listen to squirrels rustling in the dry leaves, the neighbors calling the wayward dog, and the sound of the wind In the bare trees. During the summer, when the weather is hot and it's easier to stay indoors than work and sweat in the sun, the weeds grow foxtails, plantain, dandelions, and crabgrass. In November, they're still in the garden, sand-colored and dry and spiky and full of seeds. I turn them into the soil and put them on my scraggly compost pile. Either way, there are thin stems sticking out of the soil or the top of the pile. I turn and turn, giving more to the worms, in the hope that more will come to wind their way through my garden so I can grow bigger and better tomatoes and foxtails next summer. There are still green things. There are the carrots and the onions that I didn't harvest in the summer. There are chamomile plants, their new growth leaves creeping along the ground, unaware that snow and ice and below zero are coming. I let my lettuce go to seed last spring, and lo, there are some tiny pale green lettuce plants hoping to grow bigger before the snow comes. My snow peas are up and beautiful and blooming with a dozen colors of purple, but I know won't find any pea pods before Christmas. There's still a little bit of parsley left and will pick sprigs of it until it's covered with snow. Most of these green things are turned under, to feed the worms, to feed the soil, and green manure to make the garden better. There are two stubborn trees that continue to live In my garden, despite my efforts: a mulberry and a hackberry. They are ruthless survivors and I've learned to leave them where they are. There's the aster that plunked in the middle of the beets, not knowing what else to do with it. If it returns in the spring, I'll decide then. I turn one row at a time, moving from left to right, then back from right to left, tapping, plunging, turning, and thinking. About time. About the sadness of summer lost. About gray skies and cold weather. About the little miracles found in a November garden. I listen and sniff the air and feel the moisture of the dirt under my fork. In three afternoons of work, all the soil in the garden is turned, except for that holding the carrots, scallions, peapods, parsley, and one little lettuce plant. The carrots, scallions, and parsley are useful. The snow peas are beautiful. The lettuce gives me hope that spring will come again. The garden is ready. Ready for sleep. Ready for snow. Ready to wake up in the spring and start again. I pull some of those carrots for vegetable soup, along with a small onion and a bit of parsley. My November garden keeps giving me gifts, and for that, I'm grateful. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1771 On this day, heavy rains caused the ancient raised peat bog known as the Solway Moss to burst over its earthen banks and flowed down into a valley covering four hundred acres of farmland. The next day, Solway Moss covered the surrounding land with 15 feet of thick feculent mud. Solway Moss was a one-by-two-mile-long moss land growing since the end of the last Ice Age. The raised bog was an estimated 50 feet higher than the surrounding farmland. The living surface of the Solway Moss was a unique mix of bog cotton, sphagnum, and heather. The porous soupy surface hosted a few shrubs and standing pools of water. But the rotting vegetation created a dangerous predicament that no man or cattle would dare traverse throughout the year. Over two hundred years before the Solway Moss burst, the English and the Scots fought over the land surrounding the bog in the Battle of Solway Moss. After the English victory, hundreds of Scots drowned in the bog as they tried to return home by crossing the moss hillside. Like a sponge, peat expands to absorb moisture when it gets wet. And, during wet months like November of 1771, the peat swells; in this case, the peat swelled until it bursts. The incredible event was recorded in a journal: A farmer who lived nearest the moss was alarmed with an unusual noise. The crust had at once given way, and the black deluge was rolling toward his house. He gave notice to his neighbors with all expedition; others received no other advice but... by its noise, many by its entrance into their houses.... some were surprised with it even in their beds. [while some] remaining totally ignorant…until the morning when their neighbors with difficulty got them out through the roof. The eruption burst… like a cataract of thick ink... intermixed with great fragments of peat... filling the whole valley... leaving... tremendous heaps of turf. 1785 Birth of Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg, American Lutheran Pastor and botanist. He was always referred to by his second name Heinrich. The Muhlenberg family was a founding family of the United States, and Heinrich came from a long line of pastors. His father, Pastor Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg, was known as the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America. His brother was a major in the Revolutionary War, and his other brother was a Congressman. Muhlenberg's journals are a treasure trove of his thoughts on botanical self-improvement. He would write: How may I best advance myself in the knowledge of plants? And Muhlenberg would set goals and reminders to challenge himself, writing: It is winter, and there is little to do . . . Toward spring I should go out and [put together] a chronology of the trees; how they come out, the flowers, how they appear,. . . . I should especially [take not of] the flowers and fruit. The grass Muhlenbergia was named for Heinrich Muhlenberg. Muhly grasses are beautiful native grasses with two critical strengths in their plant profile: drought tolerance and visual punch. In addition, Muhly grasses are easy-going, growing equally well in harsh conditions and perfectly manicured gardens. The Muhly cultivar 'White Cloud' offers gorgeous white plumes. When the coveted Pink Muhly blooms, people often stop and ask the name of the beautiful pink grass. Lindheimer's Muhly makes a fantastic screen, and Bamboo Muhly commands attention when it is featured in containers. All Muhly grasses like well-drained soil and full sun. If you plant them in the fall, be sure to get them situated and in the ground at least a month before the first frost. And here's an interesting side note: Muhlenberg also discovered the bog turtle. In 1801, the turtle was named Clemmys muhlenbergii in his honor. 1818 Death of England's Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III. Charlotte is remembered as the patroness of the arts, an amateur botanist, and a champion of Kew Gardens. In addition to the astounding fact that Charlotte gave birth to 15 children, she was a fascinating royal. Born in Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany, Charlotte was the first person in England to bring a Christmas tree indoors to celebrate the holiday season. Charlotte had gotten the idea from her home country of Germany. In December 1800, Charlotte selected a yew which was brought inside Windsor Castle and festively decorated. Charlotte and her husband, King George, both loved botany. After his mother died, George gained control of Kew and Charlotte set about expanding Kew Gardens. On the property, Charlotte had a little cottage installed along with a rustic cottage garden. Her daughter Elizabeth likely painted the attic room ceiling with nasturtium and morning glory. Charlotte was quite serious in her pursuit of botany. She collected plants and had a personal herbarium to help with her studies. The President of the Linnean Society, Sir James Edward Smith, personally tutored Charlotte in botany, along with her four daughters. And. George and Charlotte both became close friends with the botanical tissue paper artist Mary Delaney. At the end of Mary's life, George and Charlotte gave her a house at Windsor along with a pension. When plant hunters in South Africa discovered the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) flower, it was sent to England and named for Charlotte's birthplace, Strelitz. The botanical name for the Bird of Paradise is Strelitzia reginae, "stray-LIT-zee-ah REJ-in-ee." The early part of Charlotte's reign occurred before the American Revolution, which is why so many American locations were named in Charlotte's honor. Eleven cities are named Charlotte, the most famous being Charlotte, North Carolina. It's no wonder that Charlotte, NC, has the nickname The Queen's City," and there's a 25-foot tall bronze statue of Charlotte outside the Charlotte airport. Mecklenburg County in North Carolina and Virginia are both named in honor of Charlotte's home in Germany. Charlotte died at 74 in the smallest English royal palace, Kew Palace, at Kew Gardens. She reigned for 57 years. Today, gardeners love the Japanese Anemone Queen Charlotte. It's the perfect plant for adding late color to the garden with light pink petals and golden-yellow centers. 1889 Birth of Ethel Zoe Bailey, American botanist. Ethel graduated from Smith College in 1911 after majoring in zoology. Ethel was the daughter of the American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey. Her father instilled in her a love for botany, adventure, and archiving. Liberty brought Ethel along on his travels to Latin America and Asia in his quest for new plant discoveries. One of her obituaries shared a story from one of their more daring trips: One of the pair's most daring expeditions was to the wild jungle island of Barro Colorado in the Panama Canal Zone. Disregarding warnings about disease and boa constrictors, Miss Bailey her father, then 73, and a few other botanists trekked through hip-deep water of the Mohinja Swamp in search of a rare palm. They found it growing in the swamp, as Bailey had predicted, and photographed it in the pouring rain with the camera tripod almost submerged in water. In turn, Ethel became the curator of the Bailey herbarium above the Mann Library at Cornell University - a position she held for over two decades until 1957. For Ethel, maintaining the collection was her personal mission. She was essentially the steward of her father's work after he donated his private plant collection to Cornell University. For Ethel, Cornell was home. In fact, she was one of the few people to have the honor of being born on the Cornell campus on the spot where Phillips Hall now stands. One biography of Ethel noted that She continued to volunteer on a daily basis at the Hortorium, until her death in 1983. Still driving herself to and from work, Miss Bailey had reached the auspicious age of 93. Driving had always been an important part of Miss Bailey's life. She was the first woman in Ithaca to receive a chauffeur's (driver's) license. Ethel's remarkable ability to organize and catalog large amounts of information led to an impressive notecard filing system of every single plant that had been listed in most of the published plant catalogs during Ethel's lifetime. This massive indexing project on simple 3" x 5" cards helped Ethel's father with his research and became an invaluable resource to other researchers and plant experts worldwide. The catalog was later named the Ethel Z. Bailey Horticultural Catalogue in her honor. Ethel received much well-deserved recognition for her work during her lifetime, including the George Robert White Medal in 1967 from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Smith College Medal in 1970. 1916 Birth of Shelby Foote, American writer, historian, and journalist. He is remembered for his massive, three-volume, 3,000-page history of the Civil War - a project he completed in 1974. Shelby lived in Memphis and loved to spend days in his pajamas. He did most of his writing in his home study with a view of his small and tidy garden. Shelby was old-fashioned. He took to writing with hand-dipped pens, which slowed the pace of his writing - a practice he felt made him a better writer. One of his favorite books was The Black Flower by Howard Bahr, an acclaimed historical fiction book set during the Civil War. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Rosa by Peter Kukielski ("Kooh-KEL-ski") This book came out in 2021, and the subtitle is The Story of the Rose. Peter is a world-renowned rosarian or rose expert. He has written many popular books on roses, including Roses Without Chemicals. He spent twelve years as the curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. During that time, he oversaw a $2.5 million redesign of a massive rose collection in a garden designed by Beatrix Farrand. He helped lead the launch of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario. He also promotes disease-resistant roses as a leader on the National EarthKind team. A review in Maine Gardener by Tom Atwell raved that this book is a beauty with lavish illustrations and the long, fascinating history of the rose. In chapter one, Kukielski lists all the plants other than roses in the Rosacea family (surprising ones include mountain ash, apples, raspberries and strawberries.) He also shows, with pictures (the book has 256 color illustrations in total), the many different classes of roses. Modern roses, defined as those introduced since 1867, get their own section. Tom Atwell's review also revealed the origin story of this book. Three or four times, editors and publishers at Yale University Press asked Portland resident and rose expert Peter E Kukielski to please write a history of the rose. Kukielski kept saying no. The last time they asked, he responded, "Perhaps you should ask why I am saying no." When they did, he told them he'd had read many rose histories, and they all said the same thing. The world didn't need another one, he said. What Kukielsk wanted to do was tell stories about roses. Yes, include some history, but also encompasses the rose's role in religion, literature, art, music and movies. He wanted to offer true plant geeks a bit about the rose's botany, too. In the end, that's the book he was able to write. In Rosa, Peter takes us on a chronological journey through the history of the rose, including a close look at the fascinating topic of the rose water or rose oil industry. These rose-based products were an essential part of life in the middle east and Asia, with entire population centers springing up around the craft. In a 2007 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Peter shared that, the only way to know a rose is to grow roses. [Peter] grew up watching his grandmother tend her rose garden in Stone Mountain, Ga. Little did she know that she was planting the seed for her grandson's future career. And in a 2008 article featured in the Red Deer Advocate, Peter shared great insights into why roses reign supreme in the fall. It turns out, as many gardeners will attest, roses often save their best blooms for fall. All year long, roses store energy, which is ultimately released at the end of their season, resulting in gorgeous showy blossoms in autumn. Peter advised, "In my opinion, late September into October is a very close second to June as far as beauty. The days are nicer, the nights are cooler and the sunlight is better, coating everything with a golden glow." Summer is hard on roses, which require a lot of energy to flower. "It's hot, humid and exhausting. Roses have their fabulous spring, shut down a bit in summer and then display another burst of glorious colour in the fall when they're less stressed." And in a 2021 interview with Margaret Roach, Peter shared his tip regarding what rose to plant. Talk to the local rose society, Kukielski suggests, and neighbours who garden: "If the person down the street is growing Queen Elizabeth and it looks great, take that as a cue. And that passion and pragmatism made Peter Kukielski the perfect author for this book on roses. This book is 256 of the story of the rose, the Queen of flowers, and her long reign through human history. You can get a copy of Rosa by Peter Kukielski and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $7. Botanic Spark 1861 Birth of Archibald Lampman, Canadian poet, and naturalist. Archibald loved camping and the countryside. The natural world inspired his verse, and he became known as "The Canadian Keats." As a result of contracting rheumatic fever in his childhood, Archibald's life was cut short, and he died at 37. Archibald's poem Knowledge compares our quest for wisdom to a garden. What is more large than knowledge and more sweet; Knowledge of thoughts and deeds, of rights and wrongs, Of passions and of beauties and of songs; Knowledge of life; to feel its great heart beat Through all the soul upon her crystal seat; To see, to feel, and evermore to know; To till the old world's wisdom till it grow A garden for the wandering of our feet. Oh for a life of leisure and broad hours, To think and dream, to put away small things, This world's perpetual leaguer of dull naughts; To wander like the bee among the flowers Till old age find us weary, feet and wings Grown heavy with the gold of many thoughts. Archibald is buried at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, and a plaque near his grave is inscribed with his poem "In November," which ends with these words: The hills grow wintery white, and bleak winds moan About the naked uplands. I alone Am neither sad, nor shelterless, nor grey, Wrapped round with thought, content to watch and dream. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1643 Birth of Sir Jean Chardin, French jeweler and traveler. Jean is remembered for his ten-volume work, The Travels of Sir John Chardin, which is considered one of the most important early accounts of Persia and the Near East. In Travels, Jean wrote about the Persian love language of tulips. When a young man presents a tulip to his mistress he gives her to understand, by the general color of the flower that he is on fire with her beauty, and by the black base of it that his heart is burnt to a coal. 1845 Death of Elizabeth Fox, also known as Baroness Holland, English political hostess and flower lover. When she was 15, Elizabeth married Sir Godfrey Webster, who was twenty years her senior. After having five children in six years, Elizabeth began an affair with a Whig politician named Henry Fox, the 3rd Baron Holland. When she had his child, she divorced Godfrey and quickly married Mr. Fox. Together they had six more children. Elizabeth is remembered for her strong will and domineering nature. She was a zealous socialite and highly passionate about flowers. In garden history, Elizabeth is remembered for introducing the Dahlia to England. In 1804 during a visit to Madrid's Royal Botanic Gardens, Elizabeth received Dahlia pinnata seeds from the botanist Antonio José Cavanilles ("Cah-vah-nee-yes"). When she returned to England, the little seeds were successfully cultivated in her gardens at Holland House. Twenty years later, Elizabeth's beloved second husband, Henry Fox, was so proud of her effort to share the Dahlia with England that he wrote these words in a little love note: The dahlia you brought to our isle Your praises forever shall speak; 'Mid gardens as sweet as your smile, And in color as bright as your cheek. 1964 Death of Denys Zirngiebel, Swiss-born naturalist, florist, and plant breeder. After establishing a home in Needham, Massachusetts, Denys sent for his wife and little boy. Denys and Henrietta had four children. Their only daughter (also named Henriette) married Andrew Newell Wyeth, and their son was NC Wyeth, the Realistic Painter. During the 1860s, Denys worked for the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. He later bought a 35-acre tract of land along the Charles River in Needham and started his floral business. An excellent businessman, Denys expertly marketed his inventory. Denys shipped flowers to the White House and the State Department each week. In a nod to his Swiss heritage, Denys was the first person in America to cultivate the Giant Swiss Pansy successfully. Denys's Needham nursery grew so many Giant Swiss Pansies that the town adopted the flower as their floral emblem, and Denys became known as the "Pansy King." 2001 On this day, the French Film Amelie was released in the United States. In the movie, Amélie steals her father's garden gnome to help him escape his depression after losing his wife. Amélie gives the gnome to an airline stewardess. Her father starts receiving photos of his garden buddy visiting iconic travel destinations like Monument Valley, The Empire State Building, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, The Blue Mosque in Instanbul, and The Sphinx in Cairo, Egypt. In the end, Amélie's plan works. In the last scene, her dad sets off on his own adventure inspired by a little garden gnome. On a historical note, one of the earliest mentions of garden gnomes I could find was from July 9, 1928, in the Liverpool Echo. The article announced: Quaint Garden Ornaments... a quaint littie tribe of people - garden gnomes, sixty in number - [were] sold by auction, in Liverpool. They were imported from the Continent. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso This book came out in 2018, and the subtitle is A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior. The Wall Street Journal raved about this book in their review: In this thought-provoking, handsomely illustrated book, Italian neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso considers the fundamental differences between plants and animals and challenges our assumptions about which is the 'higher' form of life. The editor wrote, ...world-renowned scientist Stefano Mancuso reveals the surprisingly sophisticated ability of plants to innovate, to remember, and to learn, offering us creative solutions to the most vexing technological and ecological problems that face us today. Despite not having brains or central nervous systems, plants perceive their surroundings with an even greater sensitivity than animals. They efficiently explore and react promptly to potentially damaging external events thanks to their cooperative, shared systems; without any central command centers, they are able to remember prior catastrophic events and to actively adapt to new ones. Stefano introduced the controversial topic of plant memory this way, After years spent investigating the many aspects of plant intelligence, I have been consistently surprised and fascinated by plants' clear capacity for memory. Maybe that sounds strange, but think about it for a moment. It isn't too difficult to imagine that intelligence is not the product of one single organ but that it is inherent to life, whether there is a brain or not. Plants, from this point of view, are the most obvious demonstration of how the vertebrate brain is an "accident," evolved only in a very small number of living beings-animals-while in the vast majority of life, represented by plant organisms, intelligence-the ability to learn, understand, and react successfully to new or trying situations--has developed without a dedicated organ. All plants are capable of learning from experience and therefore have memorization mechanisms. If you submit a plant, for example an olive tree, to a stress such as drought or salinity, it will respond by implementing the necessary modifications to its anatomy and metabolism to ensure its survival. Nothing unusual in that, right? If, after a certain amount of time, we submit the same plant to the exact same stimulus, perhaps with an even stronger intensity, we notice something that is surprising only on the surface: this time, the plant responds more effectively to the stress than it did the first time. It has learned its lesson. Somewhere it has preserved traces of the solutions found and, when there was a need, has quickly recalled them in order to react more efficiently and accurately. In other words, it learned and stored the best answers in its memory, thereby increasing its chances of survival. Stefano's clarity and conversation tone take these scientifically modern concepts and help us to see plants on a new plane of understanding. This book is 240 pages of the latest plant research and gorgeous botanical photographs to illustrate some wild ideas about the plant world. You can get a copy of The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $4. Botanic Spark 1890 Death of Shirley Hibberd, English journalist and garden writer. He is remembered as one of the most successful gardening writers of the Victorian era. Shirley edited three enormously popular gardening magazines, including Amateur Gardening, which is still published today. Shirley's life story was lost to time until the garden historian Anne Wilkinson wrote his biography after fifteen years of painstaking research. Anne shares a wonderful timeline of what she could piece together about Shirley's life. The result is a wonderful and poignant mix of gardening passion and personal tragedy, as evidenced by the events between 1877 and 1885. 1877 The Amateur's Kitchen Garden. 1878 Home Culture of the Watercress leads to Shirley Hibberd being awarded a gold medal by the RHS. 1879 'Water for Nothing Every House its own Water Supply'; Familiar Garden Flowers starts to be issued. 1880 Shirley Hibberd and Sarah move to Brownswood Park, Highbury. Sarah dies of heart disease and is buried in Abney Park Cemetery. 1881 Feud between Shirley Hibberd and William Robinson generated by Shirley Hibberd's criticism of William Robinson's asparagus competition. Shirley Hibberd invited to edit Amateur Gardening, a new cheap paper, published by Collingridges. Marriage to Ellen Mantle, his cook. 1884 They move to Priory Road, Kew. Shirley Hibberd works for the RHS on renovating their garden at Chiswick; is a member of the Floral Committee and the Garden Committee. 1885 Birth of Shirley Hibberd's daughter Ellen, and death of Ellen, his wife; she is buried in Abney Park. The Golden Gate and Silver Steps. Shirley Hibberd organises a Pear Conference. Shirley was a champion of amateur gardening during an era when it was thoroughly rebuked by horticultural high society. But Shirley's curiosity and passion for gardening and its ancillary interests overpowered any scorn. When it came to gardening, Shirley was a conscious competent, and he was eager to educate others about gardening, a topic of many of his books. Shirley's topics ranged from town gardening and aquariums to beekeeping and conservation. Shirley was ahead of his time. Shirley Hibberd once wrote, ...the social qualities of flowers [are so many] that it would be a difficult ... to enumerate them. ... [Upon] entering a room, [we always feel welcome when] we find a display of flowers on the table. Where there are flowers about, the hostess appears glad, the children pleased, the very dog and cat are grateful... the whole scene and [all souls seem] more hearty, homely, and beautiful, [in the presence of] the bewitching roses, and orchids and lilies and mignonette! Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1791 On this day, Australia's first thriving grapevine was planted. The First Fleet's Captain Arthur Phillip brought grape cuttings from South America and South Africa and produced a small vineyard at Farm Cove. Today, Farm Cove is the location of the Sydney Botanical Gardens. When the plants did not bear, they were transplanted to Parramatta. Arthur Philip served as the first Governor of New South Wales when his Crimson Grapes flourished in the warm Australian fertile soil. Today Crimson Grapes can also be found in Victoria and southeastern Queensland. Australian Crimson Grapes enjoy a long harvest period from November to May. 1869 Birth of Charlotte Mary Mew, English poet. In her poem, In Nunhead Cemetary, she wrote, There is something horrible about a flower; This, broken in my hand, is one of those He threw it in just now; it will not live another hour; There are thousands more; you do not miss a rose. And in The Sunlit House, she wrote, The parched garden flowers Their scarlet petals from the beds unswept Like children unloved and ill-kept But I, the stranger, knew that I must stay. Pace up the weed-grown paths and down Till one afternoon ... From an upper window a bird flew out And I went my way. 1887 Birth of Georgia O'Keeffe, American modernist artist. During her incredible career as a painter, Georgia created over 900 works of art. She is remembered for her iconic paintings of skulls and flowers. In 1938 Georgia's career stalled. Yet she was approached by an advertising agency about creating two paintings for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Food Company) to use in their advertising. Georgia was 51 years old when she took the nine weeks, all-expense-paid trip. Georgia never did paint a pineapple. And gardeners will enjoy this obscure fact: Of all the floral paintings that O'Keeffe created in Hawaii, exactly NONE were native to the island. Instead, Georgia loved the exotic tropicals imported from South America: Bougainvillea, Plumeria, Heliconia, Calliandra, and the White Bird of Paradise. It was Georgia 0'Keeffe who said all of these quotes about flowers - a subject for which she held strong opinions. Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time ...like to have a friend takes time. I hate flowers. I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move! If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment. I decided that if I could paint that flower on a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty. 1930 Birth of James Graham Ballard (pen name J.G. Ballard), English novelist. James was part of the New Wave of science fiction in the 1960s. Yet, he is most remembered for his 1984 war novel, Empire of the Sun. In The Unlimited Dream Company, James wrote, "Miriam - I'll give you any flowers you want!' Rhapsodising over the thousand scents of her body, I exclaimed: "I'Il grow orchids from your hands, roses from your breasts. You can have magnolias in your hair... In your womb I'll set a fly-trap!" And in The Garden of Time, James wrote, "Axel," his wife asked with sudden seriousness. "Before the garden dies ... may I pick the last flower?" Understanding her request, he nodded slowly. James once wrote, I believe in madness, in the truth of the inexplicable, in the common sense of stones, in the lunacy of flowers. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake This book came out in 2021, and the subtitle is How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. This book has won all kinds of recognition: The Wainwright Prize, the Royal Society Science Book Prize, and the Guild of Food Writers Award • Shortlisted for the British Book Award Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. The publisher writes, In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web," to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. Entangled Life is a fascinating read. Merlin's passion for fungi (fun-ghee) knows no bounds. Fungi are often referred to as a neglected kingdom of life. Compared to other kingdoms like plants and animals, we know very little about fungi, and only six percent has thus far been described. And Fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants. Today most plant life depends on relationships with mycorrhizal fungi or fungi that live in their roots. These fungi help plants acquire water and nutrients. They also protect the plants from disease. But its not just plants that need fungi. All Life on earth depends on fungi. Most fungi are mycelium - the branching fusing networks of tubular cells that feed and transport substances around themselves. Fungi have a unique way of organizing themselves. Mycelium cover the earth in a chaotic, sprawling way. Mycelium can be stretched out end to end up to ten kilometers from a single teaspoon of soil. This book is 368 pages of the mysterious and miraculous world of fungi. You can get a copy of Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $9. Botanic Spark 1909 On this day, the orange blossom was designated as the official state flower of Florida. This gesture inspired the poet William Livingston Larned to write a poem called Florida's State Flower. The last little bit goes like this: Whenever you see the spotless bud, You know tis Florida the fair. And wafted to you comes the scent Of all the blissful regions there. The rose may have its followers, The violet its standard, too; The fleur-de-lis and lily fair In tints of red and pink and blue; But just a scent, On pleasure bent, Of orange sweet, The nostrils greet, And from our dreams, the castles rise, Of groves and meadows 'neath calm skies. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1771 Birth of Xavier Bichat ("bee'shah"), French anatomist and pathologist. Remembered as the father of modern histology, or the study of tissues. In his work, Xavier did not use a microscope and still discovered 21 distinct types of tissues in the human body. His work accelerated and transformed the way doctors understood disease. Sadly, Xavier died accidentally in his early thirties in 1802 after falling down the steps of his hospital. Today, Xavier Bichat's name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. A lover of nature, Xavier's work was grounded in observations from the natural world. Charles Darwin quoted Xavier in his book The Descent of Man. The great botanist Bichat long ago said, if everyone were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty. If all our women were to become as beautiful as the Venus de' Medici, we should for a time be charmed; but we should soon wish for variety; and as soon as we had obtained variety, we should wish to see certain characteristics in our women a little exaggerated beyond the then existing common standard. The beauty of nature and the secret to that beauty is in nature's diversity and the ephemeral nature of all things - the seasons, flowers, the weather, etc., Xavier also wrote, Life is the sum of forces resisting death. 1776 Birth of Henri Dutrochet, French physician, botanist, and physiologist. After studying the movement of sap in plants in his home laboratory, Henri discovered and named osmosis. Henri shared his discovery with the Paris Academy of Sciences on October 30th, 1826. Like the cells in our human bodies, plants don't drink water; they absorb it through osmosis. Henri also figured out that a plant's green pigment, chlorophyll, is essential to how plants take up carbon dioxide. Hence, photosynthesis could not happen without chlorophyll. It turns out chlorophyll helps plants gather energy from light. And if you've ever asked yourself why plants are green, the answer is chlorophyll. Since it reflects green light, chlorophyll makes the plant appear green. As for Henri, he was a true pioneer in plant research. He was the first to examine plant respiration, light sensitivity, and geotropism (How the plant responds to gravity, i.e., roots grow down to the ground.) Geotropism can be confusing at first, but I think of it this way: The upward growth of plants - fighting against gravity - is called negative geotropism, and the downward growth of roots, growing with gravity, is called positive geotropism. And there's a tiny part of the plant at the very end of the root that responds to positive geotropism, and it's called the root cap. So, what makes the roots grow downward? The small but mighty root cap - responds to positive geotropism. 1907 Birth of Astrid Lindgren, Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. Astrid is remembered for several children's book series, including Pippi Longstocking. She wrote more than 30 books for children and has sold 165 million copies. In January 2017, Astrid's prolific work made her the fourth most translated children's author trailing Enid Blyton, Hans Christian Andersen, and the Brothers Grimm. Astrid was a flower lover. In her book, Mio, My Son, Astrid wrote, He turned to the Master Rose Gardener and said something even more peculiar, "I enjoy the birds singing. I enjoy the music of the silver poplars." In her book, Most Beloved Sister, Astrid wrote, Then the flowers stopped singing and the trees stopped playing, and I could no longer hear the brook's melody. "Most Beloved Sister," said YlvaLi. "When Salikon's roses wither, then I will be dead.' And in Astrid's story Bullarbyn, the maid Agda tells a group of girls that if on Midsummer night, they climb over nine fences and pick nine different flowers in complete silence, without speaking a single word, and then return home to put the flowers under their pillow, they will dream of their future husband. On Social Media, there's a marvelous photograph of Astrid climbing a pine tree. In the photo, Astrid is 67 years old. She apparently climbed the tree in her front yard after being dared by her 80-year-old friend Elsa. Astrid later quipped, There's nothing in the Ten Commandments forbidding old ladies to climb trees, is there? Astrid once wrote, In our unknown past we might have been creatures swinging from branch to branch, living in trees. Perhaps in the deepest depths of our wandering souls we long to return there... perhaps it is pure homesickness that makes us write poems and songs of the trees... 1908 Birth of Harrison Salisbury, American journalist. After World War II, Harrison became the first regular New York Times correspondent in Moscow. He went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Harrison once wrote, My favorite word is 'pumpkin.' You are a pumpkin. Or you are not. I am. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation The Heirloom Gardener by John Forti This book came out in 2021, and the subtitle is Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World. "Part essay collection, part gardening guide, The Heirloom Gardener encourages readers to embrace heirloom seeds and traditions, serving as a well-needed reminder to slow down and reconnect with nature." - Modern Farmer The publisher writes: In The Heirloom Gardener, John Forti celebrates gardening as a craft and shares the lore and traditional practices that link us with our environment and with each other. Charmingly illustrated and brimming with wisdom, this guide will inspire you to slow down, recharge, and reconnect. In the preface, John shares how he came to be a gardener. Of his early experience, he wrote: Work at a garden center in my teens further ignited my interest in horticulture; it also helped me save up enough money to travel to Japan as an exchange student, far from my river and deep pine woods. There I saw the Japanese veneration of the land made manifest in regional artisanal foods, historic preservation, and the Zen-like devotion to the craft of gardening, the art of placing a single stone in a garden wall or a budding branch in an ikebana arrangement. I witnessed firsthand how much we are all shaped by place. When I returned, I explored garden history and ethnobotany with deep interest. John introduces the art and practice of heirloom gardening this way: Things like an old rhubarb patch, the remnants of an orchard, or a lichen-covered stone wall are talismans that help us read the landscapes we inherited. Through them, we catch a glimpse of how someone applied craftsmanship and the environmental arts to live in accord with nature. As heirloom gardeners in our shared backyard, we remember the work our hands were born to do, intuitively, like a bird follows its migratory path or a newly hatched turtle scrambles to the sea. I may be a romantic, but I do not romanticize the past. In my work as a garden historian and herbalist, I am not blind to the shortcomings, biases, and errors of earlier times, but I also see families connected to seeds and soil, people connected to place, and a deep value for living in concert with our environment. This book is an alphabetical collection of brief essays and artisanal images, each a seed, a way in to a different element of an heirloom gardening lifestyle; I see each entry as a point of connectivity-hand to hand, ancestor to descendant, seed to table. It's a love poem to the earth... a guidepost for gardeners... who want to cultivate common ground and craft new possibilities from local landscapes. Here is a sample entry regarding Angelica; John writes, A majestic herb is Angelica archangelica, cultivated through the ages for its flavor, fragrance, and stately beauty. In the garden, the hollow and resinous stems of this regal herb, covered in broad leaves, can easily tower three to five feet, and the enormous flower umbels rise up to seven feet toward the heavens - perhaps one of the reasons that the plant was dedicated to the archangels in Medieval times. Early each spring in centuries past, Europeans and Colonial Americans would harvest the tender stalks and simmer them in a simple syrup; eventually the stalks would become the translucent light green of sea glass, and the syrup would take on the color and herbaceous balsam flavor so unique to angelica. As lovers of spring have done long since, I repeat the process and candy the stalks until they become tender; I then either slice the stems lengthwise, into short segments, or braid the long strands together before rolling them in finely ground sugar...They are excellent served like membrillo or marmalade with cheese and dessert platters... Like an herbal equivalent to candied ginger, candied angelica was often served as digestive at the end of feasts. Throughout the growing season, but especially in spring and summer, I enjoy serving gin and tonics and other cocktails with straws made from thinner angelica stems. I also save the syrup that results from the candying process; it's an amazing herbal elixir to add into cocktails or serve atop vanilla ice cream. John's book is 264 pages of marvelous garden essays and beautiful botanical art about traditional plants and skills for the modern gardener. You can get a copy of The Heirloom Gardener by John Forti and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $8. Botanic Spark 1805 Birth of Robert Buist (botanist) is born. Robert Buist came to America from Edinburgh "Edinburgh," where his dad was a professional gardener. He had trained at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and immigrated to Philadelphia when he was 23. One of his first jobs was working for a wealthy Philadelphia businessman named Henry Pratt, who had a tremendous summer estate named Lemon Hill. At the time, Lemon Hill was regarded as having one of the most beautiful gardens in the United States. Eventually, Buist bought the history Bernard McMahon nursery - one of the oldest nurseries in the country and the nursery that supplied plants to President Thomas Jefferson. Today, on the spot where the nursery used to be, is a large old Sophora tree known as the Buist Sophora. The tree was brought to the United States from France, and its origin can be traced to China. In addition to the nursery, Buist grew his company to include a seed division and a greenhouse. In 1825, the plant explorer Joel Poinsett sent some specimens of a plant he discovered in Mexico home to Charleston. Buist heard about the plant, bought himself one, and began growing it. Buist named it Euphorbia poinsettia since the plant had a milky white sap like other Euphorbias. The red bracts of the plant were so unusual and surprising to Robert that he wrote that the Poinsettia was "truly the most magnificent of all the tropical plants we have ever seen." Of course, Robert gave his friend and fellow Scot, the botanist James McNab a poinsettia when he visited in 1834. McNab brought the plant back to Scotland and gave it to the head of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Robert Graham. Graham promptly changed the botanical name of the plant to Poinsettia pulcherrima - a move that greatly upset Robert Buist for the rest of his life. And here's a fun little side note about Robert Buist; his gardening books were very popular. When Stonewall Jackson discovered gardening in middle age, he relied heavily on Robert Buist's book The Family Kitchen Gardener: Containing Plain and Accurate Descriptions of All the Different Species and Varieties of Culinary Vegetables, which became Jackson's gardening bible, and he wrote little notes in the margins as he worked his way through the guide. Like most gardeners still do today, he'd write, "Plant this" or "Try this" in the margins next to the plants he wanted to try the following year. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1802 Birth of George Pope Morris was an American editor, poet, and songwriter. George co-founded the daily New York Evening Mirror with Nathaniel Parker Willis. George and Nathaniel also started Town and Country magazine. Nathaniel once wrote that George was "just what poets would be if they sang like birds without criticism." In 1837, George wrote his popular poem-turned-song Woodman, Spare that Tree! The verse resonated with conservationists. Woodman, woodman, spare that tree Touch not a single bough For years it has protected me And I'll protect it now Chop down an oak, a birch or pine But not this slipp'ry elm of mine It's the only tree that my wife can't climb So spare that tree 1825 On this day, the English poet, literary critic, philosopher, and theologian Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, Nature is a wary wily long-breathed old witch, tough-lived as a turtle and divisible as the polyp. The polyp Coleridge refers to is the water plant discovered by Abraham Trembley in 1740. That year, Abe was walking along a pool of water and saw what he called a polyp or a hydra. Abe was astonished to see the organism's response to being chopped into pieces; it would simply regenerate into a new whole organism. 1895 Birth of Lin Yutang, Chinese inventor, writer, and translator. Yutang's English translations of Chinese classics became bestsellers in the West. Yutang once wrote, I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content. 1900 Birth of Helen Hayes MacArthur, American actress. Remembered as the "First Lady of American Theatre," she was the first person to win the Triple Crown of Acting - an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. In her spare time, Helen was also a gardener. Regarding wildflowers, she said, They won't bow to one's wishes. They don't want to be tamed. That must be the reason these darling, lovely, little things won't cooperate. While most people credit Helen's success with her passion and inner drive, Helen found the time she spent in her garden as restorative. She wrote, All through the long winter I dream of my garden. On the first warm day of spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Garden as Art by Thaïsa Way ("Ty-EE-sah") This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is Beatrix Farrand at Dumbarton Oaks. If Thaïsa's name sounds familiar to you, it is because she is the director of garden and landscape studies at Dumbarton Oaks and her book is one of two new books this year as part of the centennial celebrations at Dumbarton. As this garden enters its second century, I see Thaïsa's book as a commemorative book, which features the beautiful garden photography of Sahar Coston-Hardy ("Sah-har Cost-in Hardy"). Along with the photography, there is a wonderful selection of essays that were handpicked to reveal the history of design in the garden and the significance of those gardens from a variety of different voices. So, this is an extraordinary book. If you're a fan of Dumbarton Oaks, then this book is an absolute must-have. And what I find especially wonderful about this book are the seasonal glimpses of Dumbarton Oaks that are offered by Sahar's photography and seeing the transformation at Dumbarton throughout the year is really quite special. If you're a fan of Beatrix and her work, then you know that Dunbarton is regarded as her crowning achievement and this book is definitely a testament to that. Harvard published this book, and they write that, The book invites the reader to contemplate the art of garden design and the remarkable beauty of the natural world. There are archival images of the garden that offer a chronicle of evolving design concepts. And the book also illustrates how gardens change over time as living works of art. And so that brings us to the title Garden as Art. Garden as Art offers an inspiring view of a place that has been remarkably influential in both design and the art of landscape architecture. This is a very special book and would make a wonderful Christmas present for yourself as a gardener or for a gardener in your life. This book is 312 pages of one of our country's most beautiful gardens with a beautiful story to tell featuring Beatrix Farrand and Dumbarton Oaks. You can get a copy of Garden as Art by Thaïsa Way and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $42. Botanic Spark 1817 On this day, the garden of a Mr. Pringuer, a maker of pants or breeches in the lovely town of Canterbury, showed off his apple tree to members of the public after the tree blossomed out unexpectedly in the middle of autumn. Accounts say that the tree was lovely and full of blossoms. The tree was a great curiosity to locals in the community and to all who visited. The papers noted that the garden thronged with people who traveled far and wide to see the tree. Almost two hundred years later, our gardens still manage to surprise us. Take the favorite dependable plant that suddenly fails to perform and dies. Or the unlikely success of a plant that shouldn't have survived the winter. And what about the seeds that surpass the profile on the packet? Or the shrubs that spiral downward despite our ministrations? Or the flowers that defy the first snow. And to that list, I added Mr. Pringuer's apple tree in full bloom on October 10, 1817. What were the surprises in your garden this year? My surprises were the lone apple that appeared on one of my newly planted apple trees in my mini orchard. The young tree seemed barely strong enough to support it. Another surprise was the death of all five hydrangeas in the front garden at Maple Grove. It was just too hot this summer. A new vigorous development was string algae in the water features. It was a worthy adversary and near impossible to eliminate. A final surprise was the hoped-for joy I experienced weeding the front garden at the cabin. After adding the sunken path, the garden is elevated, so there is no more stooping or digging for weeds between boulders. Now it is a joy to tend that large 40 x 12-foot bed. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events 1747 Birth of Antoine Nicolas Duchesne ("do-Shane"), French botanist, gardener, and professor at Versailles. A specialist in strawberries and gourds, Duchesne was a student of Bernard de Jussieu at the Royal Garden in Paris. A plant pioneer, Duchesne recognized that mutation was a natural occurrence and that plants could be altered through mutation at any time. And when he was a young botanist, Duchesne began experimenting with strawberries. Ever since the 1300s, wild strawberries have been incorporated into gardens. But, on July 6, 1764, Duchesne created the modern strawberry - the strawberry we know and love today. Strawberries are members of the rose family, and their seeds are on the outside of the fruit. Just how many seeds are on a single strawberry? Well, the average strawberry has around 200 seeds. Now, if you're wondering whether to cut your strawberry plants back for winter, you should cut your plants back about three inches after your final harvest. As you tidy up your strawberry plants for winter, you can remove all dead leaves and trimmings. Right about now, strawberry growers are winterizing their plants, which is pretty straightforward. Simply cover your plants with 6-8 inches of mulch. Then when spring returns, remove the winterizing mulch as your strawberry plants wake up and start growing. 1817 On this day, James Madison, America's fourth President, was elected to serve as the President of his local Agricultural Society. James had just retired from his presidential duties and quickly resumed his passion for cultivating the land. James spent many hours every day working in his four-acre Montpelier garden. The horse-shoe-shaped bed was assumed to be an homage to the floor of the house of representatives. The following May, James spoke to his fellow farmers and gardeners in the Agricultural Society about some of the latest discoveries in agriculture, such as the benefits of incorporating manure to leverage nitrogen and optimizing the water for plant uptake. James Madison was one of America's earliest conservationists. He was primarily concerned with preserving the land and wise stewardship of natural resources. 1817 Birth of Joseph Stayman, Kansas horticulturist. His obituary announcement said, Dr. Stayman is dead at Leavenworth. He came to Kansas in 1859 and brought a half million fruit grafts with him, from which he started the fruit industry of the state. The doctor was well-named, and lived true to the name as his fruit trees were. Joseph helped establish the Kansas State Horticultural Society in 1866. He dropped his medical practice to pursue horticulture and bred new varieties of apples, strawberries, and grapes at his orchards, which hosted over 3,000 trees. Joseph specifically worked to cultivate varieties best suited to the Kansas soil and climate. Joseph was a renaissance man and developed skills across a spectrum of skills and science. He bred the famous Clyde strawberry and established himself as an outstanding botanical artist (many of his drawings are at the Smithsonian). And Joseph was one of the country's best checker players. Some games lasted months to a year since Joseph played many matches by correspondence. 1849 Birth of James Whitcomb Riley, American writer and poet. In his poem, The Ripest Peach, he wrote, The ripest peach is highest on the tree -- And so her love, beyond the reach of me, Is dearest in my sight. Sweet breezes, bow Her heart down to me where I worship now! She looms aloft where every eye may see The ripest peach is highest on the tree. In the US, over thirty states grow peaches. The peach season varies by state, but it usually ends by early October. Peaches are a member of the rose family and are rich in vitamins A and C. Freestone peaches are the type of peaches that we buy whole and eat raw. The Clingstone peach is canned commercially. Clingstone peaches get their name because Cling peaches have stones that cling to the peach flesh. By extracting the stone, the fruit is damaged yet still tasty, so processing and canning are ways to redeem the damaged fruit. And although Georgia is known for its peaches, California produces more peaches every year. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Growing Joy by Maria Failla ("Fy-ELL-ah") This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants). And Maria says her book is full of planty practices to grow your way to a happier and more peaceful life. Well, this is another garden book that was conceived during the early days of the pandemic. And if you remember that time, so many of us were feeling disconnected and stressed and anxious - and we were looking for ways to feel more anchored, healthy, stronger, and positive. And this was definitely the case with Maria. In fact, she introduces her book this way: We've only just met, but I'm going to confess something to you. I wrote this book about joy in what seemed to be the least joyful period in my life. Funny how that happens. When I first envisioned this book, I had my list of ideas and practices all lined up and tied in a pretty bow for you. But then there was a little plot twist. And when the time came around for me to actually write this book, My life kind of imploded in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. lost my job. My wedding was postponed due to social distancing. And through a series of unexpected events, my partner and had to move three times in a year - with a six-month stint living with my parents. The ultimate romantic dream for any engaged couple. So you can tell that Maria is doing a fantastic job setting the stage. And a lot of this sounds SO relatable for so many of us. But then Maria had an epiphany. And she writes, I looked around at my plant collection and I noticed that my plants also looked miserable. Limp leaves, thirsty, yearning for light, and seeing them so unhappy made me pause and realize how much I related to them. And in the midst of moving pivoting and mourning, I had let the beautiful practices and routines that I had developed lapse. And then she writes, This realization hit me like a two-ton bag of potting mix. (I love that Maria has plenty of little snippets of humor in her book that will surely bring a chuckle.) Maria continues. A deeper realization set in. let my plant care routine lapse, and I'd also let my therapy and workout appointments slip through the cracks. I stopped checking in with my friends and my screen time was at an all-time high; my plants and I both needed some serious nurturing. Maria concludes: I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do know that if you're open to it, this stuff works. No matter what season of life you're in, whether you're simply looking for fun ways to enliven your days, suggestions for how to take the next step forward in plant parenthood, or maybe you're looking for something deeper. But wherever you are, I see you and I'm here for you. And let's grow some joy together, one leaf at a time. As you can tell, Maria's book is perfectly titled, Growing Joy. This book is 272 pages of connecting with plants and ourselves and, in the process, gaining new insights and a more positive and healthier lifestyle. This book is a delightful mix of self-care through plant care, helping you to feel more joyous, grounded, and optimistic. I think it's the perfect book as we all come back into our homes and snuggle in, cozy in, and get ready for winter. You can get a copy of Growing Joy by Maria Failla and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $8. Botanic Spark 2015 It was on this day that Thomas Rainer and Claudia West's Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes debuted. Eight years ago, it was through this book that Thomas introduced the notion of gardens as communities, which makes gardeners much more sensitive to concepts like density and diversity in our plantings. I love what they write at the beginning of their book because I think it sets the tone for what they are trying to accomplish: The way plants grow in the wild and the way they grow in our gardens is starkly different. In nature, plants thrive even in inhospitable environments; in our gardens, plants often lack the vigor of their wild counterparts, even when we lavish them with rich soils and frequent water. In nature, plants richly cover the ground; in too many of our gardens, plants are placed far apart and mulched heavily to keep out weeds. In nature, plants have an order, an individual harmony resulting from their adaptation to a site; our gardens are often arbitrary assortments from various habitats, related only by our personal preferences.... In fact, the very activities that define gardening weeding, watering, fertilizing, and mulching - all imply a dependency of plants on the gardener for survival. Gardeners are often frustrated when some plants spread beyond their predetermined location and are surprised while others struggle to get established... A further complication is the availability of plants from every corner of the globe... So how do we shift the paradigm, making desirable plantings that look and function sympathetically with how they evolve in nature? By observing and embracing the wisdom of natural plant communities. A master of garden design and designing with native plants, Thomas wrote his vision of the Post-Wild World: The front lines of the battle for nature are not in the Amazon rainforest or the Alaskan wilderness; the front lines are our backyards, medians, parking lots, and elementary schools. and The uncertainty of the future will provide an incredible gift: it will liberate planting from all those forces that try to tame it... Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Support The Daily Gardener Buy Me A Coffee Connect for FREE! The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community Historical Events Today is Garlic Lovers Day Garlic, or stinking rose, is a member of the lily family. Onions, leeks, and shallots are also in the family. All alliums are reactive to the amount of daylight they receive, so a great way to think about the garlic life cycle is that it matures during the longest days in the summer. This is why Autumn is garlic-planting time in most areas, and many gardeners wait until after the fall equinox in the back half of September. (This year's autumnal equinox is Thursday, September 22, 2022). By planting garlic in the fall, your garlic gets a headstart on the growing season, which means that when spring arrives, your little garlic shoots will be one of the first plants to greet you in the April rain. Garlic has antibiotic properties and helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Herbalists recommend garlic as a remedy for colds. And Gilroy, California, is known as the World's Garlic Capital. Most of us know and love garlic as a culinary staple - a must-have ingredient for most savory dishes. Alice May Brock, American artist, author, and former restaurateur, once wrote, Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. And Anthony Bourdain, in Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, wrote: Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime...Please, treat your garlic with respect...Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic. 1794 Birth of Charles Wilkins Short, American botanist and doctor. A Kentuckian, Charles wrote a flora of Kentucky in 1833. He had one of the largest, most valued private herbariums with 15,000 plant samples, and his massive garden covered several acres. Charles was honored in the naming of many plants, including the Oconee bell named the Shortia galacifolia. The location of the plant became a mystery during the 1800s. In 1863, Charles Short died, and at the time, the Shortia plant still could not be found. But finally, in May of 1877, a North Carolina teenager named George Hyams sent an unknown specimen to Harvard's top plant expert, the knowledgeable Asa Gray, who could be heard crying 'Eureka' when he finally saw the Shortia specimen. Two years later, Asa and his wife, along with his dear friend, the botanist John Redfield, the director of the Arnold Arboretum Charles Sprague Sargent, and the botanist William Canby got to see the Shortia in the wild in the spot where George Hyams knew it was growing. The scientists all stood around the little patch of earth where the Shortia grew in oblivion, and the long search to find the Shortia, named for Charles Wilkins Short, was over. 1799 Death of the English botanist geologist, physician, and chemist William Withering. William was a doctor and the first person to study Digitalis - most commonly known as Foxglove. The story goes that one day, he noticed a person suffering from what was then called dropsy, an old word for a person suffering from congestive heart failure. William observed that the patient in question showed remarkable improvement after taking an herbal remedy that included Digitalis or Foxglove. Today William gets the credit for discovering the power of Digitalis because after he studied the various ingredients of this remedy, he determined that Digitalis was the key ingredient to addressing heart issues. In 1785, William published his famous work, An Account of the Foxglove and Some of its Medical Uses. Foxgloves are a beautiful plant often seen in ornamental or cottage gardens. Foxgloves produce beautiful tall flower spikes, and each spike can contain 20 to 80 purple to pink tubular blossoms that are whitish on the inside. Foxgloves are toxic, and eating any part of the plant can result in severe poisoning. And this is important to know because when Foxglove first emerges from the ground, it can be confused for Comfrey or Plantain. Since both of those plants are used as edible plants by many people - it's important to distinguish them and remember where you're planting Foxglove in your garden. Foxglove is actually in the Plantain family. Before flowering, Foxglove can also be confused with Great mullein (Verbascum thapsus). In addition to the Foxglove common name, Digitalis has many adorable common names, including Fairy Fingers, Fairy Thimbles, Rabbits Flower, and Scotch Mercury. And there are many delightful stories about the Foxglove. One foxglove origin story says that fairies gave blossoms to a Fox who needed to put the flowers on his toes to muffle the sound of his feet as he hunted for prey. This would account for the little markings inside the flowers. Another fun fact about the Foxglove is that it's a cousin to another beloved cottage garden flower: the Snapdragon or Antirrhinum majus ("ant-er-EYE-num MAY-jus"). The toxicity of the Foxglove is a common concern. But, the gardener and garden writer, Katharine S. White, still enjoyed them in her gardens. She wrote, At a very early age, I remember, I was to recognize what plants are to be avoided completely. At a very early age, I remember I was taught how to recognize and stay away from deadly nightshade, poison ivy, and poison sumac. (I was, just as early, taught the delights of chewing tender young checkerberry leaves and sassafras root.) To me, it would be ridiculous, though, not to grow monkshood, foxglove, hellebore, larkspur, autumn crocus, poppies, lilies of the valley, buttercups, and many other flowers now present in my borders just because they have some poison in them. So Foxglove is in good company when it comes to toxic plants. And when the botanical illustrator Walter Crane painted the Foxglove, he did not draw it alone - he drew a Foxglove family. Walter loved personifying flowers, and of his Foxgloves, he wrote, The Foxgloves are a happy group, comprised of cousins and brothers and sisters. Finally, the English author and poet Meta Orred wrote a sweet little verse called In Memoriam - a poem for a deceased friend - that included the Foxglove. Meta wrote, Her lips, like foxgloves pink and pale, Went sighing like an autumn gale; Yet, when the sunlight passèd by, They opened out with half a sigh.. Her eyelids fell, and not in vain- The stars had found their heav'n again; The days come round, the days go by- They see no more earth's agony. So lay her back to take her rest, ' Our darling,' for we loved her best Her small hands crossed upon her breast, Her quiet feet unto the west. 1858 Birth of Jean-André Soulié ("Jahn-Ahn-Dray Soo-lee-aye"), French Roman Catholic missionary herbalist, healer, and botanist. Like many of the first plant collectors, Jean-André was a Catholic missionary working for the Paris Foreign Missions - an organization that sent millions of plant and animal specimens back to the National Museum of Natural History in Paris for scientific study. Jean-André alone collected over seven thousand specimens of dried plants and seeds during his twenty years in Asia, where he had become so fluent in the different Chinese dialects that he could pass as a local. Plant collecting in China was a dangerous task. Collectors encountered not only tricky terrain but also political upheaval. The Opium Wars and the ongoing dispute with Tibet increased distrust and hostility toward foreigners. In 1905, in retaliation for an invasion of Tibet by a British explorer named Francis Younghusband, Jean-André was a victim of the "lama revolt" and was abducted by Tibetan monks. He was kidnapped in the field while packing his plant specimens. Jean-André was tortured for over two weeks before finally being shot dead by his captors. The church Jean-André helped to build was destroyed during the revolution. However, it was rebuilt in a new location and still stands today - in a community where Catholics and Tibetan Buddhists live peacefully. Jean-André Soulié is remembered for discovering the Rosa soulieana and the butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii). He also has a Rhododendron, a Lily, and Primula named in his honor. 1860 Birth of Rosamund Marriott Watson, English poet, nature writer, and critic. Known as Rose to her family and friends, Rosamund wrote under the pseudonyms Graham R. Tomson and Rushworth (or R.) Armytage. Rosamund was a prolific gardener and garden writer. Her writings were put together and published in The Heart of a Garden (1906) which began with this verse from one of her original poems: I dreamed the peach-trees blossomed once again, dreamed the birds were calling in the dew, Sun-rays fell round me like a golden rain, And all was well with us and life was new. The Heart of a Garden was organized by seasons. In the early fall chapter called The Breath of Autumn, Rosamund wrote, But one should not SO much as breathe the name of frost as yet; it is in a sense a tempting of Providence, and late summer has many good days in store for us still. The swallows skim, now low, now high, above the rose garden, the sun-dial has daily but a few less shining hours to number, bats flit busily in the dim blue dusk, and roses are in bloom. It is far too early even to dream of frost. Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation Creating a Garden Retreat by Virginia Johnson 0914 This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is An Artist's Guide to Planting an Outdoor Sanctuary. And I want you to key in on that word artist because Virginia is an artist, and here's what Workman, the publisher, wrote about Virginia's book: Through ethereal illustrations, textile designer and artist Virginia Johnson takes the reader on her own garden journey, from blank slate to dreamscape. Over the years, she has transformed a small, narrow city lot into a garden that is personal, carefree, wild, and welcoming. It all began with a fence to allow her children to play freely... [Virginia] explains her process with ease and clarity, bringing her ideas to life through words and illustrations so that readers can be encouraged and empowered to start their own garden journeys. This book is organized into clear chapters: trees and shrubs, vines, flowers, seasons, edibles, and more. What I like best about this book is that it feels like I am reading Virginia's garden journal. It's so friendly. From the handwriting font to the beautiful sketches, this is truly an artist putting together a garden book. And so, the art in this book - the watercolors - is just gorgeous. They're breezy. They're casual. And they accompany every single page and they make this book such a joy to read. The other thing that I love about what Virginia did with this book is she personalizes everything. She doesn't just talk about a plant. She talks about the plant and her family, and her life. Let me give you an example. Here, she's talking about her trees and shrubs, and she has this little section on Magnolia with beautiful watercolors of Magnolia. I think these are the prettiest trees on the planet, but would they be too big for my garden? The classic saucer magnolia grows to 30 feet high and wide, but the magnolias in the US National Arboretum's "girls" series grow only 15 feet high. It being mid-May, they were in flower and quite irresistible. I love the teacup shape of their blossoms. I love their architectural profile, too: multistemmed, with graceful, outreaching branches. chose the deep-magenta-blooming 'Ann' to remind me of my grandmother. See what I mean? Virginia's talking about the Magnolia; she shares this great tip about the smaller, more compact Magnolias available. And then, she personalized the Magnolia by telling us which one she picked and her emotional connection to that plant. Another aspect that I like about Virginia's book is that you can tell that she is cultured - that she has done some living. She's a traveler, a reader, and yes, she is a romantic. (You can tell by the flowers she picks for her garden). I wanted to share another little snippet, and this one is from a little section where she talks about vines. Vines have always had romantic associations for me. Trailing vines, climbing vines: the words themselves are lyrical and promise not just growth but a plant that wants to wriggle away like a child, to explore and attempt daring feats, scaling walls and structures and houses all while showing off. Trail, trail went Mrs. Wilcox's dresses through the garden in E. M. Forster's novel Howards End. Trailing vines are their own kind of loveliness, less about exploring than falling gracefully over the side of an urn or doorframe. And they're so fun to paint; you have to get the feeling of them,get inside them, capture their abundance and movement. Virginia is also practical and thrifty, and that's a beautiful counterpoint to her artistic and evocative side. Virginia shares: As a beginner gardener and a pragmatist, I spend my energy on perennial plants, not annuals. Who wants to plant a bunch of things that won't come up again next year? Of course, I do buy a few annuals, but only for pots. I know that they will look pretty and add color and that at the end of the year, they'll have completed their lives. But because I wanted a garden that would come up by itself, without my having to replant every spring, I researched mainly perennials. I also wanted blooms staggered throughout the growing season, so I took into account what was already in place: pear blossoms and lilacs in May, climbing hydrangeas in July and August. The peonies and roses would flower in June, but at different times, while the hollyhocks would peak in July and August. It would all be a leap of faith. Well, leap, she did. Virginia is one of us. She is a gardener through and through. This book contains many wonderful relatable moments and delightful little snippets that make you laugh, smile, and nod in agreement. I want to share one final little excerpt. And this is where she's talking about dining Alfresco. And I thought this was great because, hopefully, we will have a few more opportunities to eat outside with family and friends before fall gives away winter. Here's Virginia Johnson on dining Alfresco. On a vacation in Greece, during a long drive through the mountains, our kids were ravenous, but the nearest village was closed for afternoon siesta. Where to eat? My husband approached a taverna, explaining our situation in halting Greek. The cook fired up the stove and soon emerged with a steaming frittata, which my picky kids gobbled up. Ever since then, the frittata has become a family staple. Eggs, potatoes, salt, and a sprinkling of rosemary from our garden: that's it. We re-create the memorable meal and enjoy it in our own backyard, wearing our straw hats and imagining we're back in that Greek village. Well, this book is 192 pages of beautiful memories like that, and it's all built around the garden and being a gardener. You can get a copy of Creating a Garden Retreat by Virginia Johnson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $14. Botanic Spark 1943 Birth of Gilles Clément ("Jeel Clee-mon"), French gardener, agronomist, garden designer, botanist, entomologist, and writer. Gilles started experimenting in his garden at La Vallée ("La Val-lay"). There Gilles lives in a simple hut home that he built using native materials sourced on the property. During his long career, Gilles devised many landscaping concepts, including the garden movement (Jardin en Mouvement), the global garden (Jardin planétaire), and the third landscape (tiers paysage). To Gilles, the term garden movement was inspired by the physical movement of plants in the garden. For example, in the garden, a gardener must decide whether to allow the plants to spread or to control them. The global garden reflects that gardens are inextricably part of life on the planet, and they are confined by the limits of their environment. Today, garden environments are experiencing radical changes as the earth confronts climate change. As the earth goes, so go our gardens. While many gardeners still think of gardens as enclosed spaces - often fenced off from their surroundings, Gilles says that, The "planetary garden" is a means of considering ecology as the integration of humanity - the gardeners - into its smallest spaces. Ecology itself destroys the notion of the 'enclosed' garden. Birds, ants, and mushrooms recognize no boundaries between territory that is policed and space that is wild. Ecology's primary concern is nature in its entirety, and not the garden in particular. The enclosure was always an illusion; a garden is bound to be a planetary index. Finally, Gilles's concept of a third landscape borrows its name from an Abbé Sieyès term - the "third estate," - a term coined during the French Revolution to identify people who weren't part of nobility or clergy. To Gilles, the third landscape represents the low places, the ordinary places - everyday places that are forgotten, derided, ignored, or abandoned by man. These misfits or orphaned areas lie outside agroforestry or land management. Third Landscapes are made up of edges and odd-shaped parcels. They can be abandoned sites or neglected spaces along the margins of daily life - think of highway shoulders, riverbanks, fallow areas, wastelands, etc. Gilles sees the third landscape as unembraced treasure - offering unique biological riches and limitless potential for reinvention. As for the garden, Gilles once wrote, [A garden] is territory where everything is intermingled: flowers, fruit, vegetables. I define the garden as the only territory where man and nature meet, in which dreaming is allowed. It is in this space that man can be in a utopia that is the happiness of his dreams. Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.