The Train was Delayed and the Flowers Didn’t Arrive – But Cornelia Vanderbilt’s Wedding Day was Beautiful Thanks to Biltmore’s Gardeners

Cornelia Vanderbilt walking the aisle

“In 2001, the Biltmore commemorated the 75th anniversary of the wedding with a month-long celebration among 2,500 blooming roses in June.” April 29, 1924 Today is the wedding day of Cornelia Vanderbilt. This year (2021) marks her 95th wedding anniversary.   When Cornelia married British nobility, the diplomat John Cecil, the wedding flowers had been…

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A Look Back at the Massive Funeral for Charles Darwin

An engraving of Darwin's funeral from the cover of The Graphic

“Darwin was buried at the Abbey next to the eminent scientist Sir John Herschel and just a few feet away from Sir Isaac Newton.” April 26, 1882 On this day, thousands of people attended the funeral of Charles Darwin, which was held at noon sharp at Westminster Abbey.   On his deathbed, at Down House,…

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Celebrating St George’s Day with Garden Poems about Bluebells

St George's Day

“Bluebells are reminders of the very origins of ‘spring,’ the great gush of life.” Today, April 23, is St George’s Day – the feast day of the patron saint of England, St. George.   Known as the dragon slayer, St. George was partial to the color blue, and he is remembered with the English bluebell…

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English Gardener and Writer Frances Perry and her Thoughts on Ferns

Fern Frond

“Sure enough, there was a baby fern growing inside. The spores can survive in their millions until conditions for growth are right.” April 21, 1985 On this day, the garden writer Frances Perry shared a charming article in her regular gardening column in The Observer about how to grow a fern spore. She wrote: My father-in-law,…

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Celebrating National Orchid Day with Orchid Lovers

Pink Orchid

“Orchids were not made by an ideal engineer; they are jury-rigged from a limited set of available components.” Today is National Orchid Day. It has been observed annually on April 16th since 2015.   Orchids are my new go-to order from the florist. If I need to give a gift, I’ll send an orchid because…

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Remembering Jim Zampini and the Art and Joy of Growing Crab Apples

Nurseryman Jim Zampini

“If you want to plant a mini-orchard of Crabapple trees, space the saplings 6 to 15 feet apart. Group them on the closer end of that range if you are planting dwarf or more upright varieties.” April 14, 2017 On this day, the Beijing Crabapple Conference began.   Visitors toured the Crabapple Garden during the…

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Fun Facts for Gardeners on National Licorice Day

Licorice Root Plant

“The secret to licorice flavor and sweetness is hidden in the plant’s long roots and rhizomes.” Today is National Licorice Day.  The botanical name for licorice means “sweet root.” In Dutch, it’s zoethout (“Zoot-Howt”), which means “sweet wood.”   Licorice is fifty times sweeter than sugar. The secret to licorice flavor and sweetness is hidden…

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