May 23, 2022
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The Friday Newsletter | Daily Gardener Community
1707 Birth of Carl Linnaeus (books about this person), Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician.
Carl was a fan of flowers early on in his life. As a young child, his mother gave him flowers to soothe him whenever he was upset.
On May 1st, 1753, the publication of his masterpiece Species Plantarum changed plant taxonomy forever. The work gave Linnaeus the moniker Father of Taxonomy; his naming system is called binomial nomenclature. Binomial means "two names," which in the naming game includes the plant's genus (which is capitalized or could be abbreviated by its first letter) and species or specific epithet (which is all lowercase and can be shortened sp.) If you have trouble remembering taxonomy, I like to think of it as a person's given name and surname, but in reverse order.
Linnaeus's names live on unchanged and are distinguished by an "L." after their name. And it was Linnaeus himself who said:
God created, Linnaeus ordered.
There are many stories about Linnaeus, but I thought I'd share a few more-obscure stories about him and his work.
First, Linnaeus' friend Anders Celsius created the Centigrade thermometer in 1742, with water boiling at 0 degrees and freezing at 100. Three years later, Linnaeus reversed the scale - sharing it in an article with the Botanical Garden at Uppsala University.
Second, there is a memorable story about Linnaeus and the genus Commelina, the genus of the Asiatic Dayflower.
Linnaeus named the genus after the three Commelin brothers, two of whom achieved much in botany and one who died young before amounting to anything.
Commelina has three petals, two of which are showy — where the third is not conspicuous.
Next time you see the Commelina communis or Asiatic Dayflower (with two large blue petals and one tiny white petal), you can remember the Commelins and Linnaeus' kind commemoration of the three brothers.
Another fun story about Linnaeus involved a trip he took to Lapland when Linnaeus was 25 years old.
Carl spent nearly six months there, and he came back with stories of an obscure part of Scandinavia few people knew existed.
The expedition was trying, and Linneaus suffered from hunger, mosquitoes, freezing temperatures, near death from a rockslide and a gunshot wound. Through it all, Linnaeus fell in love with the Lapland. He even brought home a traditional costume complete with a magical drum as a souvenir from his adventure.
Five years later, an obscure German painter named Martin Hoffman painted Linnaeus' portrait.
And, guess what did Linnaeus choose to wear for the sitting? His Lapland costume (Of course!).
In Hoffman's Linnaeus, a 30-year-old Linnaeus is seen wearing boots made of reindeer skin. He's also wearing an early version of a toolbelt. Suspended from the belt is a magical drum from a shaman, a needle to make nets, a snuffbox, a cartridge box, and a knife. Linnaeus is also wearing traditional Laplander gloves, and in his right hand, he holds his favorite plant: the Twinflower, Linnaea borealis.
1799 Birth of Thomas Hood was an English poet, author, and humorist.
Thomas is remembered for his poems "The Bridge of Sighs" and "The Song of the Shirt."
Here's an excerpt from his poem Song.
'Tis like the birthday of the world,
When earth was born in bloom;
The light is made of many dyes,
The air is all perfume:
There's crimson buds, and white and blue,
The very rainbow showers
Have turned to blossoms where they fell,
And sown the earth with flowers.
And here's my all-time favorite Thomas Hood poem, and it's called No.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -
1843 Birth of Georgiana Molloy (books about this person), English-Australian pioneer and one of the first botanical collectors in Western Australia.
Georgiana's life in the 1830s in Western Australia was one of extreme hardship.
Her first child died shortly after it was born, and her only son ended up drowning in a well.
After these events, Georgiana naturally struggled to find joy in her life.
But in 1836, at the end of the year, Georgiana received a letter from a man named James Mangles. James was an officer in the Royal Navy and a naturalist, horticulturist, and writer. He wrote to ask Georgiana for help, and his request for botanical specimens gave her life new meaning.
James had made arrangements for several people to collect for him in Australia. He was very strategic in that regard. But it also meant that James was uniquely qualified to review the work done by collectors in Western Australia before 1850.
The result was that James was a huge fan of Georgiana's work.
He once wrote.
[Georgiana's collections] were full of pressed plants that were mounted and set out with delicacy and precision and carefully numbered showing great evidence of care and cleanliness in the sorting.
Georgiana would have been delighted to know that many of the seeds she collected were sent to botanists and horticulturists worldwide, and they were found to be especially viable.
Sadly Georgiana's life was cut short at the age of 37. After giving birth to her seventh child, she suffered for four months from December 1842 until her death on April 8th, the following spring.
And when the English naturalist George Wailes learned of the death of Georgiana Malloy, he reached out to the man who inspired her love for botany, James Mangles.
Not one in 10,000 who go out to distant lands has done what she did for the gardens of her native country.
1905 On this day, Louisa Yeomans King (books about this person) recorded an entry in her garden diary, which became her book, The Flower Garden Day By Day.
MAY 23. Sow seed now of the beautiful pale yellow oenothera ("ee-nah-THAIR-ah”) (Evening-primrose), Afterglow, at the back of the border near Physostegia ("fy-sah-STEE-jee-ah ver-jin-ee-AYE-nah")(Obedient plant). A group of these two with Artemesia lactiflora (White Mugwort) and the little annual sunflower known as Primrose Stella, will make August well worth waiting for.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
The Less is More Garden by Susan Morrison
This book came out in 2018, and the subtitle is Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard.
You should definitely check out Susan's book if you have a small garden.
Right off the bat, when I saw the cover, I knew that I would love Susan's book, and you know, most people are small-space gardeners.
In my practice as a landscape designer, most of the backyards that I design measure less than 2,500 square feet and layouts are rarely more than 40 by 60 feet. I no longer think of that as small, it has become standard.
Interestingly while active gardeners are often concerned with fitting in everything, into a space that's generally smaller than the backyards that they grew up in.
I am just as likely to hear from homeowners, more interested in creating a space that will be as simple as possible to maintain...
no one wants another to-do list item, but most of us want backyard that's a refuge...
[and] the shift in how we live, work, and play is what led me to develop the less is more approach to garden design and outdoor living.
And here's how Susan defines as her less is more garden approach.
At its heart, this approach to garden design means:
Less space, more enjoyment
Less effort, more beauty
Less maintenance, more relaxation, and finally
Less gardening-by-the-numbers, more YOU.
This book is 225 pages of small-garden design with the less is more approach. You'll find practical and helpful advice, inspirational photography, and many creative and unexpected tricks to help you get the small space garden of your dreams.
You can get a copy of The Less is More Garden by Susan Morrison and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $18.
2021 Death of Eric Carle (books by this person), American illustrator and writer.
Eric had a wide-ranging knowledge and love of nature. His early books include Nature Thoughts, Flower Thoughts, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Tiny Seed.
Here's a quote from Eric's most memorable work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar:
On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomach ache.
And it was Eric Carle who said,
Whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful.
In 2007, Eric Carle gave a commencement address at Bates College in 2007. He concluded with these words:
Love your partner and tend your garden.
Simplify, slow down, be kind.
Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener
And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.