Sep 22, 2021
Today in botanical history, we celebrate the 4th Earl of
Chesterfield, an English botanist and a Patron Saint of
We’ll hear an excerpt from a book by Tim Robbins featuring September in Louisiana.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book that inspires us to make plants feel right at home in our homes.
And then we’ll wrap things up with a milestone moment in the history of Australia - the stunning loss of the Garden Palace that happened on this day 139 years ago today.
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2022 Garden Trends Report: From Crisis to Innovation | Garden Media Group
September 22, 1694
Birth of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, English statesman and writer. He’s remembered for his letters to his son and other notable people of his day. He once advised his son,
l recommend you to take care of the minutes, for hours will take care of themselves…
Yale University has Chesterfield’s note containing the words to On a Lady Stung By a Bee.
To heal a wound a bee had made
Upon my Chloe's face,
It’s honey to the part she laid,
And bade me kiss the place.
Pleased, I obeyed, and from the wound
Suck'd both the sweet and smart ;
The honey on my lips I found,
The sting within my heart.
September 22, 1800
Birth of George Bentham, English botanist, writer, and teacher. He was going to be an attorney but pursued botany after living in the country. His thinking was preserved in a diary, which he kept for over fifty years. George once wrote,
I decided that my means were sufficient to enable me to devote myself to botany, a determination which I never…. [had] any reason to [regret].
George’s longest professional friendship was with the botanist John Stuart Mills who had lived with the Bentham family as a teenager. A pragmatist, George finished his Flora of the British Islands by writing every morning before breakfast. He purposely used simple language so that his book could reach a wider audience. George wanted everyone to see fundamental differences in plants. The useful way he classified plants laid the foundation for modern taxonomy. Later in his career, George co-authored the three-volume Genera Plantarum with Sir Joseph Hooker. The "Bentham & Hooker system" was widely used and made plant classification easier. George also worked with Ferdinand Mueller to create an impressive nineteen-volume flora of Australia. In 1830, George discovered Opal Basil (purple) which is prized for its flavor and color. But the plant George is most associated with is an Australian sister plant to tobacco, Nicotiana benthamiana. The plant was named in his honor and is used to create vaccines for the Ebola virus and the coronavirus. George died two weeks shy of his 84th birthday.
Today is the Feast Day of Phocas the Gardener, a Turkish innkeeper and gardener who lived during the third century. A protector of persecuted Christians, Phocas grew crops in his garden to help feed the poor. His garden aided him in living his most-remembered virtues: hospitality and generosity.
When Roman soldiers arrived in his village, Phocas offered them lodging and a homemade meal using the bounty of his garden. As they talked, Phocas realized they had come for him. While the soldiers slept, Phocas went out to the garden to dig his own grave and pray for the soldiers. In the morning, Phocas revealed his identity to the soldiers who reluctantly killed him. Although gardening can be a solitary activity, Phocas illustrated how gardens create connection and community. Phocas is the Patron Saint of flower and ornamental gardens, farmers, field hands, and market gardeners.
Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air--moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh--felt as if it were being exhaled into one's face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze. It was aphrodisiac and repressive, soft and violent at the same time. In New Orleans, in the French Quarter, miles from the barking lungs of alligators, the air maintained this quality of breath, although here it acquired a tinge of metallic halitosis, due to fumes expelled by tourist buses, trucks delivering Dixie beer, and, on Decatur Street, a mass-transit motor coach named Desire.
― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
Grow That Garden Library
Wild Interiors by Hilton Carter
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Beautiful plants in beautiful spaces.
And this book has one of my favorite covers ever! So hats off to the book designer who came up with that incredible cover.
Hilton is a plant stylist, a plant whisperer, and a plant coach, and all of that comes into play in this inspiring book of home interiors that are full of life, style, balance, health, and of course, plants. Carter is a master of greenery, and his approach to creating a welcoming room is making your plants feel right at home. Carter uses his book to take us on a tour of a dozen different homes that all feature their own unique ways of incorporating plants into their interiors and design. Each space is thoughtfully laid out, super comfortable, and beautiful.
This book is 224 pages of plants at home in the home - and what a welcome addition for each of us to make. Lots of plant styling inspo in this book!
You can get a copy of Wild Interiors by Hilton Carter and support the show using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $17
Today’s Botanic Spark
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
September 22, 1882
On this day, at 5:40 am, the iconic Garden Palace in the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney was destroyed in a fire that consumed the entire fourteen-hectare structure in forty minutes. The flames could be seen for twenty miles. Modeled after the Crystal Palace but constructed primarily with timber, The Garden Palace was built at a record pace and completed in just over eight months for the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879. It dominated Sydney’s skyline for only three years. In its glory, a statue of the Queen stood beneath the palace dome made of thirty-six stained-glass windows. After the Exhibition closed, the Garden Palace was unfortunately used to store important records (including the 1881 census) and countless irreplaceable Indigenous artifacts. The cause of the fire has never been established. At the time of the fire, a French artist named Lucien Henry captured the fire on canvas. His assistant, George Hippolyte Aurousseau, recalled the moment in a 1912 edition of the Technical Gazette:
Mister Henry went out onto the balcony and watched until the Great Dome toppled in; it was then early morning; he went back to his studio procured a canvas, sat down, and painted the whole scene in a most realistic manner, showing the fig trees in the Domain, the flames rising through the towers, the dome falling in and the reflected light of the flames all around.
Today the Pioneer Memorial Garden rests on the site where the dome would have been. Built in 1938, the garden commemorated the 150th anniversary of European settlement in Australia.
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