Oct 29, 2019
Today we celebrate the botanist who was allowed to tend a garden while he was a prisoner in the Tower of London.
We'll learn about the Pioneer botanist of Tennessee and the botanist who used his love of trees to shape an optimistic view of humanity.
We'll also celebrate Jamie Taggert, the young Scottish botanist, who set out on this day in 2013 for Vietnam but sadly never returned to his beloved home at the Linn Botanical Garden.
We'll hear the Carl Sandburg poem with the famous line, "no beautiful thing lasts"
We Grow That Garden Library with today's book which is all about mixing up a special batch of seeds for a natural garden that doesn't require buying any small plants.
We'll talk about some ideas for a Garden-Themed Thanksgiving and then we'll close the show with some Autumn-inspired Ayurvedic principals for the Gardener.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
The blog of the award-winning Landscape team of Warnes McGarr @warnesmcgarr recently shared a very beneficial post called "Five things to consider before redesigning your garden."
As a northern gardener, I love what they say right at the beginning of their post, which is that the coming colder months should be used to make plans for the garden. The design team encourages us to ask this question:
"Do you use your garden enough, or is it an afterthought?"
With this question in mind, they share some considerations for any garden redesign project: reducing the size of your lawn, adding a garden room, investing in a wood-fired oven, and keeping wildlife in mind when you select plants for your garden.
Meanwhile, Gardens Illustrated reported on How to Prepare the Garden for Winter, and they shared a few useful tasks to tackle right now.
In addition to general tidy up, suggestions like using a power washer to clean your stonework, setting up your bird feeders (something we discussed yesterday) as well as cleaning and culling through your pot collection are excellent activities to accomplish as we transition into winter.
Now, if you'd like to check out these curated articles for yourself, you're in luck - because I share all of it with the Listener Community in the Free Facebook Group - The Daily Gardener Community. So there’s no need to take notes or track down links - just head on over to the group - and join.
#OTD On this day in 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was executed.
On the orders of King James, Raleigh had been a special prisoner at the Tower of London for thirteen years.
During his time in the tower, Raleigh was allowed to tend a small apothecary garden in the courtyard below. Raleigh used his garden to grow exotic plants and plants from the new world. He also used the herbs to experiment with medicines.
Last year marked the 400th anniversary of Raleigh's death. In celebration, Raleigh's "Lost Garden" was installed at the Tower of London. The garden is planted with herbs, flowers, and fruits that are historically appropriate for the time Raleigh was at the Tower.
Historical records show that Raleigh created numerous cordials and herbal remedies. He once incorporated borage, rosemary, marigold, saffron, juniper berries, lemons, red roses, and red gilly to create a cordial for new mothers.
#OTD On this day in 1908, The Tennessean newspaper reported that the botanist Thomas G. Harbison was in Nashville to collect a specimen of the clematis gattingeri for Harvard.
The gattingeri clematis was regarded as a very rare plant that had been discovered by Augustin Gattinger.
Gattinger was known as the "Pioneer Botanist of Tennesee".
He had been born in Munich, Germany in 1825, but had immigrated to the united states in his twenties after being kicked out of the University of Munich for seeking more liberty for Germans and for celebrating George Washington's birthday.
Gattinger served in the Union Army during the civil war, and he became a country doctor. He also started studying botany, and Gattinger counted many prominent botanists as friends. Gattinger is remembered for his published works, which include The Flora of Tennessee and Medicinal Plants of Tennessee.
Gattinger's entire 50,000 specimen herbarium was donated to the University of Tennessee in 1890. Sadly, in 1934, the collection was destroyed in a fire. In the preface to his Flora of Tennessee, Gattinger wrote:
"While the pursuit of botany never brought me any financial advantages, I acknowledge that it was a mighty protector in keeping me out of the way of social corruption, and it gave me many hours of the purest enjoyment of life and brought me into friendly relations with many excellent men and women."
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist William Henry Chapman who died on this day in 1970.
Chapman was an American botanist, and his area of specialty was pomology or fruit.
As a professor, Chapman taught at Cornell and later at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, where he was the Dean of Agriculture.
A Biographical Memoir of Chandler, written by Jacob Biale, includes an excerpt from a 1941 speech given by Chandler, where he reflected on the merits of studying plants. He said,
"The material we work with has character,"
"[Chandler believed that] trees and plants... exerted an influence on the behavior of the people who tended them."
Chandler wrote that,
"The emblem of my faith is the tree and its system of dormant buds. ... Because of this reserve of dormant buds, a tree is ... dependable in a destructive world. It can be broken into pieces... and will grow new parts to replace the lost ones.
"...The tree symbolizes my faith in humanity ... For I know, there are many dormant buds in human society also."
#OTD On this day in 2013, Jamie Taggert, the young Scottish botanist, set out on a solo Plant Expedition to Vietnam.
Jamie grew up with his botanist father, Jim, and tended the garden his dad founded - the Linn Botanic Gardens that overlooks Loch Long on Cove Bay in Scottland. The ancestors of Hugh Grant once owned the estate.
The Linn Botanic Garden is home to almost 4,000 plant species. Back in 2013, Jamie was beginning his third plant-hunting expedition. It was his first solo trip, and he was planning to explore the mountains of Northern Vietnam - a place he had botanized on an earlier trip.
When he arrived in Vietnam, he sent his dad a text to let him know he had arrived. On the morning of Halloween, he checked into a guest house and then took a taxi to the National Park of Fansipan - the tallest mountain in Vietnam. A tea seller at the base of the mountain watched Jamie walk toward the mountain. She would be the last person to see Jamie alive.
Over two years later, a Vietnamese farmer found Jamie's body at the bottom of a waterfall. Jamie apparently died attempting to scale the slippery rocks.
Rob Curran wrote an excellent article about Jamie's story in Believer Magazine. He writes that many people have asked: "What was he thinking?" Why did Jamie take such a risk for plants? Curran concludes his article this way:
"What was he thinking? He was thinking of Menzies and the great Scots explorers. He was thinking of Mother Nature on the run from climate change and high-capacity cable cars. He was thinking of the beauty of the flower he had just discovered, and whether anyone else would ever see it. For what is the act of discovery if not leaving the safe foothold of the known to reach into the abyss?"
Autumn Movement by Carl Sandburg
I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes, and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things
come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go,
not one lasts.
It's time to Grow That Garden Library with today's book: Sowing Beauty by James Hitchmough
The subtitle for today's book is Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed, and that is indeed what makes Hitchmough's approach unique and different.
James has come up with his way of combining seeds to significant effect. The result is a beautiful garden; grown entirely from seed. There's no need to purchase starter plants from nurseries and no need to scour plant sales.
James is a professor of horticultural ecology at the University of Sheffield his work centers around developing novel approaches to planting design.
As a researcher and a practitioner, James prioritizes both aesthetics and function. His ecological plantings strive to accomplish both; his plants are beautiful, layered and naturalistic.
Hitchmough has worked to find mixes that can hold their own and exist for years in the garden - and also resist weeds.
Best of all, Hitchmough shares his seed mix recipes in the book, and they are shared for a variety of growing zones.
Today's Garden Chore
Start thinking about ways to have a Garden-themed Thanksgiving.
After Halloween, the little pumpkins, squashes, and gourds begin to go on sale. But they will last for months if they are kept in a cool, dry, space. Your Thanksgiving tablescape can feature these classic elements, but you can also incorporate other garden-inspired items into your tablescape.
This year, consider adding a yule-log - an actual log that you can decorate with mosses, air plants, and succulents. Crotons offer beautiful autumnal colors. Jade plants provide architecture and plumpness, a perfect accent for your Thanksgiving table.
Another wonder item that I stumbled on a few years ago - and managed to find for you online today - is a cast iron mini tree stand. This is such a fun way to bring nature indoors. In this case, you can take a nature walk and look for a beautiful tree branch that you can display using the cast iron mini tree stand. You could even turn the tree into a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table or a thankful tree for your Thanksgiving tradition. You can decorate it with ribbons or with little notes that count your blessings.
I searched and searched online to find the little tree stand, and I found it on the website Antique Farm House. They sell the cast iron mini tree stand as a set of four. So, go ahead and buy the set for $24, and then you have three extra lovely little stands that you can use as gifts over the holidays.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Mother Nature has blessed us yet again with a change of seasons.
The fall season is a season of movement and transition. We are transitioning from hot to cold and wet to dry.
Ayurvedic health and wellness experts tell us that this is the time of year when, like the garden, we also need to change to achieve balance. So, here are some other activities that can benefit gardeners as we transition out of our gardens and into our homes.
Take time to ground yourself by increasing the amount of stillness in your day.
Our gardens are a natural place of stillness and silence for us. Even when we are weeding, we are grounded and quiet. And we are focused on a single point of connection with the earth. The work in the garden is not like other work we perform. To make up for this loss of grounding and stilling work, adding in more opportunities for stillness can bring calm and a sense of balance. Curl up in your favorite chair. Fill a corner of a room with houseplants and sit beside them. Imitate your plants and add stillness to your day.
Add warmth to counter the cold, dry air; eat warm foods.
Dig out your crockpot so you can have a warm, cooked meal every day. Enjoy warm drinks like coffee and herbal teas. Enjoy spices and herbs that are warming like cinnamon and ginger. Microgreens of basil and mustards are very warming as well and happily grow on the kitchen counter. At bedtime, a little cup of warmed milk with a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon and sugar is a lovely way to end the day.
Finish some of your remaining garden tasks indoors.
If you have items you need to go through, bring them indoors where it's warm and where you have a sink you can fill with warm soapy water. Clean off the cobwebs and the grime. Go through your aprons and your gloves. Tidy up the bins that have been catchalls in the potting shed or garage - where you hang your hat in the garden. I recently washed up some pots and baskets along with some miscellaneous junk I had on my garden shelf outside the front door. Somehow, it was easier to address the clutter by evaluating the items inside a warm house than standing or sitting out in the wind and cold.
So there you go; three tips to aid our transition into Fall - as we walk out of our gardens and into the shelter of a warm home.
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."