Botanical History

Horatio Hollis Hunnewell

George Glenny

The Lake Wabin Gardener #OTD On this day in 1902, America lost one of its most prominent horticulturalists – Horatio Hollis Hunnewell.   Hunnewell was staggeringly wealthy. He was a railroad financier.  But he also had a lifelong love of nature and gardening.   When Hunnewell purchased over 40 acres of land along the eastern…

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George Glenny

George Glenny

The Horticultural Hornet #OTD Today on May 17, 1874, the horticultural hornet, George Glenny died.  He was 83 years old.   Glenny was an opinionated gardener. Known for his sharp tongue and difficult personality, he was called the horticultural hornet by Will Tjaden.  He was critical of John Claudius Loudon, Joseph Paxton, and Joseph Harrison. …

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Charles Theodore Mohr

Charles Theodore Mohr

The First Botanist of Alabama #OTD On this day in 1901 The botanist Charles Theodore Mohr wrote a letter expressing his relief at completing his major work – a book called Plant Life of Alabama.   “With the completion of this life work, a  big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel…

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Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

The First Commissioner of the USDA #OTD President Abraham Lincoln created the U.S. Department of Agriculture today in 1862.   When Lincoln signed the bill, he was bombarded with advice about who should be the first Commissioner of Agriculture. Perhaps he should choose the editor of a Farm magazine? Perhaps a scientist would be best?…

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John Cushnie

John Cushnie

The Witty Botanist #OTD It’s the birthday of John Alexander Montgomery Cushnie, born today on May 14, 1943.   Cushnie was a landscape designer, writer and broadcaster. He was a tall, good-looking Irishman. Listeners were often surprised to see how handsome he was after just listening to his voice on the radio for so many…

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Mary Delaney

Mary Delaney

The Botanical Decoupage Artist #OTD  It’s the birthday of Mary Delaney Born today in 1700.   Mary Delaney lead an extraordinary life.  The family had forced her to marry a very old man when she was 17. He was an alcoholic. To make matters worse, when he died, he forgot to include her in his…

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Enid Annenberg Haupt

Enid Annenberg Haupt

The Fairy Godmother of Botanical Gardens #OTD It’s the birthday of Enid Annenberg Haupt, born today in 1906.   The very woman the president of the New York Botanical Garden called, “The greatest patron American horticulture has ever known.”     Enid was one of eight children; her parents Sadie and Moses had one son…

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John Hope

John Hope

The Teaching Botanist #OTD It’s the birthday of John Hope who lived during the Scottish enlightenment; he was a botanist , a famous professor, and founder of one of the leading botanical gardens in Europe, born on this day in 1725.   Hope produced considerable work on plant classification and physiology. He was appointed to…

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Alexandre de Cassini

Alexandre de Cassini

The Sunflower Botanist #OTD Today, May 9th, is the birthday of botanist Count Alexandre Henri Gabriel de Cassini born on this day in 1781.    His second great grandfather was the famous Italian astronomer, Giovanni Domenico Cassini; he discovered Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and the Cassini division in Saturn’s rings.   By the time Alexander…

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Emil Christian Hansen

Emil Christian Hansen

The Botanist Brewer #OTD It’s the birthday of botanist Emil Christian Hansen, born today on May 8, 1842.    Prior to Hansen, brewing was a volatile experiment and batches could easily get infected with disease. Hansen forever changed the brewing industry with his discovery of way to separate pure yeast cells from wild yeast cells.    Hansen’s…

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Henry Teuscher

Henry Teuscher

Visionary of the Montreal Botanical Garden #OTD On this day , on May 7, 1936, Henry Teuscher broke ground for the Montreal Botanical Garden.   Teuscher had been appointed superintendent and chief horticulturalist of the future Montreal Botanical Garden. A visionary, Teuscher began dreaming of an ideal botanical garden. By fall, Teuscher had hired 2,000…

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Gerard van Swieten

Gerard van Swieten

The Father of Physiology #OTD  It’s the birthday of the Dutch botanist Gerard van Swieten, born on this day in 1700. As Swieten turned 40 years old, Empress Maria Theresa inherited the Habsburg Empire. She had much to do to get her kingdom in shape. When it came to medicine, Austria was about 200 years…

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Alexander Von Humboldt

Alexander Von Humboldt 1834

Discoverer of Central and South America #OTD On this day in 1859, the naturalist and botanist Alexander Von Humboldt died; he was 89 years old. In 1806, Friedrich Georg Weitsch painted his portrait; two years after he returned from his five-year research trip through Central and South America. Humboldt didn’t go alone; he was accompanied…

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Lewis & Clark

Lewis and Dlark

The Nine-leaf lomatium, Lomatium triternatum #OTD Today, on May 6, 1806, along the banks of Idaho’s Clearwater River, Lewis and Clark discovered the Nine-leaf lomatium, Lomatium triternatum. A species of flowering plant in the carrot family and known by the common name nineleaf biscuitroot, the nine-leaf lomatium is so-named because each leaf divides into three…

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