Dec 5, 2019
Today we celebrate a wealthy vineyardist who came up with
the idea for a raisin coop and the willow expert raised in
We'll learn about the botanist who was murdered thanks to miscommunication and the oldest tree in New Orleans.
We'll hear a garden poem about being shut out of the garden.
We Grow That Garden Library with an oldie but goodie about a favorite of many gardeners: alliums.
I'll talk about a practical but essential garden gift and then we'll wrap things up with a sweet story about the impressionist painter whose friend made sure his coffin wasn't draped in black.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
Today's Curated Articles:
An Economic History of the English Garden by Roderick Floud review – finance and flowers | Books | The Guardian
An Economic History of the English Garden by Roderick Floud:
"Filled with fascinating and often surprising details – a rhododendron would set you back the equivalent of more than £1,000 in the 1770s – the book reveals the economic context to our love of gardening and shows that “the history of English gardens is, in many senses, the history of England”.
“Spending money on gardens has been one of the greatest, and certainly most conspicuous, forms of expenditure on luxury in England since the 17th century or earlier.”
Bee exhibit creates a buzz at Museum of the Earth | Cornell Chronicle
Excellent post about bees from @cornellento
"People don’t conserve what they don’t know anything about...
People hear a lot about honeybees, & they hear a little about bumblebees, but the other 96% of Bees on Earth don’t get much press coverage...
One of these, Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto) – the world’s largest bee, with a wingspan of 2.5 inches – was thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in Indonesia in 1981. But these bees fetch thousands of dollars on eBay, which spurs collectors to catch them, further threatening the species’ survival. "
Stinging nettles, a troublesome but useful weed | Jack Wallington Garden Design, Clapham in London
Great Common Sense Post from @JackWallington on Stinging Nettles:
"Although it’s hard to control like mint, it’s SO useful for homemade fertilizer, and in nutritious teas and soups and also for wildlife. Every garden deserves a little nettle!"
You get a nettle! And you get a nettle! And you get a nettle!
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.
There’s no need to take notes or search for links - the next time you're on Facebook, just search for Daily Gardener Community and request to join. I'd love to meet you in the group.
#OTD Today is the birthday of the California oilman, vineyardist, and attorney Henry Welsh who was born on this day in 1856.
In 1912, California raisin growers, including Welsh, decided to band together to sell their raisins as a group. The plan was to create a million-dollar corporation and the concept drove Welsh to set up an innovative coop that paired investors with raisin growers.
Unlike other coops of the time, the raisin coop was unique in that it bound the growers to deliver their entire crop for a guaranteed price - and they were locked in for three years. The coop was known as the California Associated Raisin Company and it quickly became known as the Sun-Maid Raisin Growers Association. The first president of the Association was none other than Henry H. Welsh.
One little piece of trivia about Welsh was his deep love for the Fresno area. He loved the climate and his vineyard so much that, in 1941, Welsh bragged that he had not left the area for more than 40 years - not even to take a vacation.
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the Ohio-born botanist and Willow Expert Michael Schuck Bebb who died on this day in 1895.
In 1896, Walter Deane wrote a biography of Bebb's life in the Botanical Gazette. The biography included a fantastic photo of Bebb who had sideburns that extended below his shoulders.
One of the most charming details was Bebb's description of his childhood garden:
"The garden was laid out in old-fashioned geometric style; the borders well filled with rare shrubs and perennials, Holland bulbs, and, I am happy to add, native plants as well." If we add to this a well-stocked greenhouse, twenty by one hundred and fifty feet in dimensions, we can readily understand how Michael early acquired a passion for the study of the plants about him."
Later, after Michael's father retired from serving as the Governor of Ohio, his dad purchased a large estate 100 miles Northwest of Chicago he called Fountaindale. When Michael recalled the rolling prairie on the estate, he wrote:
"Ah! That was lovely beyond description and a perfect paradise for the out-of-doors botanist."
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the tragic death of the Canadian botanist Charles Budd Robinson who died on this day in 1913.
After receiving his doctorate, Charles had spent five years working at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). His time at the Botanic Garden gave him the experience necessary to become an economic botanist with the Bureau of Science in Manila.
On this day in 1913, Charles left on an expedition to modern-day Ambon - an island in Indonesia. Setting out alone, Robinson spied a boy in a tree gathering coconuts and he followed him to his village. The boy was alarmed to see a strangely dressed and ominous-looking European alone on the island and the villagers were worried that Charles was a headhunter - a danger they had heard about through rumors but couldn't verify.
Overcome by the fear that they were about to be beheaded, five members of the village, including the chief, killed Robinson and weighed his body down in the sea.
Robinson's death was a shock to the island nation who had managed to make some connections in more populated areas as "Doctor Flower." His death serves as a reminder to us of the dangers faced by Plant Explorers who often had to overcome language barriers and cultural misunderstandings.
#OTD On this day in 2012, tree number 5,000 was planted at City Park in New Orleans following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
As a point of reference, tree number one or the oldest tree in New Orleans City Park is likely the famed McDonogh Oak lovingly called the Grandmother Tree by locals which is estimated to be approximately 800 years old. The tree is supported with wooden 'crutches' that hold the impressive large old branches. There is also a plaque near the bottom of the tree trunk which tells that the tree is named in honor of John McDonogh who donated the park's original 100 acres in 1854.
In 1850, McDonogh left half of his fortune, $1.5 million, to the cities of Baltimore, New Orleans and McDonoghville for the express purpose of helping children which is why so many schools were named in his honor. The final withdrawal from the fund was made in 2002.
During his Lifetime, McDonogh accumulated land after making his fortune in brick making and shipping. He wore the same old suit and reportedly looked like a bum in order to save as much money as he could so that he could acquire more land for the children.
One of the pieces of land that McDonogh acquired included the old grove at New Orleans which is the home of some of the oldest trees in the country - including the McDonogh Oak. The old grove has survived so long because it sits on high ground. As a result, these ancient trees didn't experience the devastating flooding from Hurricane Katrina.
Today is the birthday of two wonderful writers that drew Inspiration from the garden: Christina Rossetti and Frances Theodora Parsons.
Here's a poem from Rossetti called Shut Out in which she describes looking at her garden through the bars of a closed gate. When she asks a guard to give her some clippings, he doesn' t respond but instead builds a wall around the garden. After she is shut out of her garden, she sits beside a bed of violets but she can't love it because her heart is lost to her original garden. This poem is especially poignant for gardeners who have lost gardens due to a move, illness, or time. Sometimes the gardens we love the most are gardens that are no longer accessible to us, yet they remain in our hearts.
Shut Out by Christina Rossetti who was born on this day in 1830.
The door was shut. I looked between
It's iron bars; and saw it lie,
My garden, mine, beneath the sky,
Pied with all flowers bedewed and green:
From bough to bough the song-birds crossed,
From flower to flower the moths and bees;
With all its nests and stately trees
It had been mine, and it was lost.
A shadowless spirit kept the gate,
Blank and unchanging like the grave.
I peering through said: 'Let me have
Some buds to cheer my outcast state.'
He answered not. 'Or give me, then,
But one small twig from shrub or tree;
And bid my home remember me
Until I come to it again.'
The spirit was silent, but he took
Mortar and stone to build a wall;
He left no loophole great or small
Through which my straining eyes might look:
So now I sit here quite alone
Blinded with tears; nor grieve for that,
For naught is left worth looking at
Since my delightful land is gone.
A violet bed is budding near,
Wherein a lark has made her nest:
And good they are, but not the best;
And dear they are, but not so dear.
It's Time to Grow That Garden Library with Today's Book: Garlic, Onion, and Other Alliums by Ellen Spector Platt
Ellen Spector Platt started out as a psychologist before becoming a flower farmer at Meadow Lark Flower & Herb Farm. Garlic, Onion, & Other Alliums was her 10th book.
In one of her earlier books, Platt explained,
"At first, the garden was simply a part of my personal stress management program, then It became an exciting new part-time business. But the pull of farming finally seduced me to close my practice ... to spend all of my working hours at the Meadow Lark."
It's fitting that Platt was inspired to write a handbook on the alliums, including garlic, onions, chives, leeks, and shallots because they are a successful first venture for so many gardeners.
Platt offers directions on growing and harvesting each plant, along with ideas for the garden, crafts, and cooking. And she includes step-by-step instructions for arrangements, garlands, and wreaths, as well as recipes for soups, sides, and entrees.
This book came out in 2003. Best of all, you can get a used copy and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $5.
Today's Recommended Holiday Gift for Gardeners: Ashman Galvanized Garden Stakes Landscape Staples: 500 Pack 6 Inch Sod and Fence Stake - Sturdy Rust Resistant Gardening Supplies for Anchoring Landscaping, Weed Barrier Fabric, Ground Cover
$41 for 500 - 0.082 each
$20.99 for 200 - 0.105 each
$17.99 for 150 - 0.12 each
$9.99 for 50 - 0.20 each
You can get a box of these staples or stakes and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for whatever pricepoint works for you.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Today is the 96th anniversary of the death of the impressionist painter Claude Monet who died on this day in 1926 at the age of 86.
Monet had insisted on a simple funeral and as such his coffin was draped with plain black cloth.
His long-time friend Georges Clemenceau (pronounced kle-mon-so) removed it, stating, "No! No black for Monet!" He replaced it with a beautiful flower-patterned fabric.
Gardeners love Stephen Gwynn's 1934 book Claude Monet and his Garden. In 1883 Monet purchased a property and he immediately set about creating a hidden water garden fashioned out of waste marshland. Monet made sure his lily pond was surrounded by trees and plants, incorporating poplars, willows, bamboo, and iris.
And, Monet's favorite plant and painting subject were, no doubt, his water lilies. Monet said,
"'I am following Nature without being able to grasp her. I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
Monet painted his garden over the span of 40 years. In 1914, Monet began his most impressive work - a series of large panels that offered a 360-degree view of the pond. Monet worked on the panels all through the first World War.
It's was Monet who wrote:
“When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field, or whatever. Merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape.”
And it was Monet who said,
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”
“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."