The Daily Gardener
Sports & Recreation Podcasts
The Daily Gardener is a podcast about Garden History and Literature. The podcast celebrates the garden in an "on this day" format and every episode features a Garden Book. Episodes are released M-F.
Sports & Recreation Podcasts
The Daily Gardener is a podcast about Garden History and Literature. The podcast celebrates the garden in an "on this day" format and every episode features a Garden Book. Episodes are released M-F.
May 16, 2023 William Henry Seward, Martha Ballard, Luigi Fenaroli, Herbert Ernest Bates, Goldenrod, Of Rhubarb and Roses by Tim Richardson, and Jacob Ritner
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...
May 2, 2023 John Cabot, Leonardo da Vinci, Meriwether Lewis, John Abercrombie, Thomas Hanbury, Hulda Klager, A Gardener's Guide to Botany by Scott Zona, and Novalis
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...
May 1, 2023 May Day, Karl Friedrich von Gaertner, Phebe Holder, Thomas Hoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily's Fresh Kitchen by Emily Maxson, and Calvin Fletcher
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...
April 25, 2023 John Mulso, Thomas Jefferson, George Herbert Engleheart, David Fairchild, Harry Radlund, Leslie Young Carrethers, The Gardener's Guide to Prairie Plants by Neil Diboll and Hilary Cox, and Maurice Baring
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...
April 24, 2023 Jakob Böhme, Robert Bailey Thomas, Paul George Russell, Charles Sprague Sargent, Purple Mustard, Pansies, Kurume Azaleas, Tiny and Wild by Graham Laird Gardner, and Solar System Garden
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...
December 1, 2022 John Gerard, Sereno Watson, Ellsworth Hill, Bette Midler, Punk Ikebana by Louesa Roebuck, and Rosa Parks
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...
November 30, 2022 Martha Ballard, Mark Twain, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Frank Nicholas Meyer, The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel, and the Crystal Palace Fire
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...
November 29, 2022 John Ray, Amos Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, Flower Flash by Lewis Miller, Edward Hummel, and Gertrude Jekyll
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...
November 28, 2022 The Royal Society of London, Matsuo Basho, Gottlieb Haberlandt, Stefan Zweig, English Cottage by Andrew Sankey, and William Blake
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...
November 18, 2022 William Shenstone, Leo Lesquereux, Asa Gray, Margaret Atwood, We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich, and November Garden Work Inspires
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....
November 17, 2022 Solway Moss, Henry Muhlenberg, Ethel Zoe Bailey, Shelby Foote, Rosa by Peter Kukielski, and Archibald Lampman
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...
November 16, 2022 Jean Chardin, Elizabeth Fox, Denys Zirngiebel, Amelie, The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso, and Shirley Hibberd
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...
November 15, 2022 Australia's First Grapevines, Charlotte Mary Mew, Georgia O'Keeffe, JG Ballard, Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake, and the Florida Orange Blossom
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...
November 14, 2022 Cream Hill, Xavier Bichat, Henri Dutrochet, Astrid Lindgren, Harrison Salisbury, The Heirloom Gardener by John Forti, and Robert Buist
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...
October 10, 2022 No-Foolin' Fall, George Pope Morris, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lin Yutang, Helen Hayes MacArthur, Garden as Art by Thaïsa Way, and Mr. Pringuer's Apple Tree
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...
October 7, 2022 Antoine Nicolas Duchesne, James Madison, Joseph Stayman, James Whitcomb Riley, Growing Joy by Maria Failla, Thomas Rainer, and Post-Wild World
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...
October 6, 2022 Garlic Lovers Day, Charles Wilkins Short, William Withering, Jean-André Soulié, Rosamund Marriott Watson, Creating a Garden Retreat by Virginia Johnson, and Gilles Clément
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...
October 4, 2022 Henry David Thoreau, Mary Hiester Reid, the Dahlia, Kerry Mousetail Fern, Amish Friends 4 Seasons Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter, and Dorothy Frances Blomfield Gurney
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 1852 On this day, Henry David Thoreau writes in his journal. The maples are reddening, and birches yellowing. The mouse-ear in the shade in the middle of the day... looks as if the frost still lay on it. Bumblebees are on the Aster... and gnats are dancing in the air. The Mouse Ears that Thoreau mentions in this excerpt is actually a species of forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa) known as the tufted forget-me-not, bay forget-me-not, or just the small-flower forget-me-not. Mouse Ears like to grow in wet areas, so I can believe there was still frost on this forget-me-not when Thoreau looked at it - especially since it was probably in a low-lying or damp area. Now Thoreau himself went into a little more detail about the Mouse Ears forget-me-not. He wrote. It is one of the most interesting minute flowers. It is the more beautiful for being small and unpretending; even flowers must be modest. Thoreau underscores this point of agreement that I have with longtime gardeners: the longer we garden, we come to appreciate some of the more subtle, more minor details in a much bigger way than we did when we were first starting out. We mature in our perspective on our garden - or on different plants or species of plants in our gardens. Our thinking evolves and changes - and what we love about our garden grows as we mature as gardeners. 1921 Death of Mary Hiester Reid (books about this person), American-born Canadian painter, and teacher. A painter of floral still lifes, Mary was a tonalist - passionate, poetic, and subtle - and her works have been called "devastatingly expressive." In her career, Mary was both an impressionist and a realist. Mary produced over 300 oil paintings. In her prime in 1890, Mary was regarded as the most critical flower painter in Canada. Mary often painted trios - so her paintings would feature three flowers or three trees, for example. The author, Molly Peacock, offers additional insight into Mary's work with trios and triangulation as a reflection of what was going on in her own life. Molly points out that, Mary and her husband lived in a loose menage with a talented younger artist named Mary Evelyn Wrinch... Mary Evelyn Wrinch was both Mary Hiester Reid's friend and rival and 24 years her junior. When Mary died, in her will, she specified that her husband should be given to Mary Evelyn Wrinch. Mary's death so moved the Canadian newspaperman Duncan Sutherland Macorquodale that he felt compelled to write a memorial poem in her honor. The verse refers to Mary's Wychwood home. (Wychwood was an artist's enclave of sixty homes tucked in the rolling wooded hills of the Davenport Ridge in Toronto.) Here's an excerpt of Duncan's tribute to Mary. Free from the thrall called life, Palette and brush laid down; Off with achievement’s strife, Donned the immortal’s crown; Yet hovers she near ’neath the Wychwoodtree, This, the roses she painted, tell to me. In September of last year, Molly Peacock's fabulous book on Mary Hiester Reid was published. It's called Flower Diary: In Which Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens a Door. 1926 On this day, the Dahlia was officially designated as San Francisco's city flower. The Dahlia Society of California had been founded almost a decade earlier, and the club was responsible for getting the city to embrace the beautiful Dahlia as its own. A newspaper account of their efforts to persuade city leaders was shared in a local newspaper: The... desks in the headquarters of the Board of Supervisors burst into bloom yesterday when the Dahlia Society of California ... presented a petition asking for the dahlia's "appointment" as the official flower of San Francisco. The petition...pointed out that... nowhere else in the world is such favorable soil for...
October 3, 2022 Otto Jennings, Lewis Gannett, Sergei Yesenin, Thomas Wolfe, Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers by Madison Pierce, and Philippa Foot
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 National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day Look at the Leaves Day 1877 Birth of Otto Emery Jennings, former curator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and devoted scientist. In 1904, Jennings started as the custodian at the Carnegie Museum, where, over the next 41 years, he held almost every position before becoming the director of the Museum in 1945. Today, the Jennings Nature Reserve near Butler, Pennsylvania, is named for Otto Jennings. Otto worked to protect the 20-acre area because it was a natural habitat for the native Blazing Star (Liatris spicata "Ly-at-truss Spah-cah-tah"). The Jennings Reserve was expressly established to ensure that the Blazing Star could spread and multiply. The Blazing Star is native to North America and is known by other common names, including the Gayfeather or Prairie Star. The Blazing Star is a late-bloomer and features majestic plumes in purple or white. Blazing Star is a gardener favorite, easy to grow and propagate, it's low maintenance, makes excellent cut flowers, and pollinators love them (Monarchs go crazy for Blazing Star). The Blazing Star grows up to 16 in tall, but if you want something more elevated, its cousin, the Prairie Blazing Star, can grow five feet tall. 1891 Birth of Lewis Stiles Gannett, American journalist, and author. Lewis wrote The Living One, Magazine Beach, The Siege, and two Millennium novels: Gehenna and Force Majeure. In Cream Hill: Discoveries of a Weekend Countryman (1949), Lewis wrote: But each spring . . . a gardening instinct, sore as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground. Lewis also wrote, Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed. 1895 Birth of Sergei Yesenin (books about this person), Russian lyric poet. One current biographical account of Sergei's life said, "his poems [became] the people's songs." Today, the Yesenin Monument graces the Tauride Garden in the center of Saint Petersburg. The likeness of Sergei Yesenin, seated in a thoughtful pose, is made of solid white marble. There are words that are difficult to translate ie Russian because there is no English equivalent. For instance, there is a word that translates to "mushroom rain." A mushroom rain is a gentle, fragrant rain that wets the forest floor in a steady, lazy fashion. It's the kind of rain that is perfect for mushroom cultivation. In terms of his use of language, Sergei Yesenin was not averse to adding new words to the Russian lexicon. He once created a Russian word to describe how sand ripples across the surface when blown by the wind - something Sergei would have seen daily growing up along the banks of the Oka river near the birch forests in his hometown. Sergei's first poem Beryoza (The Birch Tree), was published in a children's magazine in January of 1914. Today Sergei's Birch tree poem is still taught in Russian schools. Birch trees are a powerful symbol in Russia, where folklore held that planting birches around a village had the power to ward off cholera. A beloved tree in Russia, Birch trees can be found growing across the breadth and depth of the country. In addition to the birch, Sergei wrote about the maple, willow, fir, lime tree, poplar, and bird cherry. Here's an excerpt from The Birch Tree: Under my own window White is birch's hue • Snowy blanket-shadow, Silver patterned too. On its fluffy branches With a snowy hem Tassels' blossom blanches Fringe's icy gem. Standing, birch is yearning, Silent, sleepy spire, Falling snow is burning In its golden fire. Lazy dawn in...