Botanist to Author #OTD It was on this day in 1923 that the botanist Edwin Way Teale married Nelly Imogene Donovan. The two had met while Teale was at College. After they married, they moved to New York so that Teal could continue his education at Columbia University. Teale’s first job was writing for the…

Read More
Daniel Defoe

Flowers for Mud #OTD It was on this day in 1703 that Daniel Defoe was made to stand in the pillory in front of the temple bar.  The pillory was a stockade; the hands and head between two were stuck between two giant beams of wood. It was a horrible punishment. It was usually reserved for…

Read More
Emily Brontë

“Nature’s Sad Reality” #OTD It’s the birthday of Emily Brontë, who was born on this day in 1818.  Brontë wrote: Reason, indeed, may oft complain For Nature’s sad reality, And tell the suffering heart, how vain Its cherished dreams must always be; And Truth may rudely trample down The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown.    …

Read More
Thomas Nuttall

The Mackinac Botanist #OTD On this day in 1810, Thomas Nuttall, just 24 years old, jumped in a birch bark canoe with Aaron Greely, the deputy surveyor of the territory of Michigan, and they paddled to Mackinac Island arriving two weeks later on August 12.  Nuttall spent several days on Mackinac – He was the…

Read More
Roland Hallet Shumway

“Good Seeds Cheap” #OTD It’s the birthday of Roland Hallet Shumway, who was born on this day in 1842.   A pioneering seedsman out of Rockford, Illinois, Shumway always went by his initials of R.H. The RH Shumway Seed Company became the world’s largest mail-order seed company; their “Marketmore” seeds are especially popular. Famous Shumway Seed…

Read More
Benning Wentworth

The Lilac Governor #OTD It’s the birthday of Benning Wentworth, who was born on this day in 1696. Wentworth was the colonial governor of New Hampshire from 1741 to 1766. Wentworth is vital to North American gardeners because he brought the lilac along with other trees and shrubs when he immigrated to America from England.…

Read More
Frances Ropes Williams

The Winchester Gardener #OTD Today is the birthday of Frances Ropes Williams, born on this day in 1883.  Williams had a shady garden in Winchester, Massachusetts. And, what is the most-used plant by shade gardeners? Hostas. That’s right. And, Williams had an appreciation for hostas before they became widely used in the United States. A…

Read More
Asa Gray

The Harvard Man #OTD On this day in 1842, Asa Gray arrived at Harvard. He didn’t have to start teaching until the following spring. Gray wasn’t a great speaker, but he was respected by his peers and his students for his knowledge.     This post was featured onThe Daily Gardener podcast: helping gardeners find…

Read More
Caroline Dormon

The Girl That Could Do it All #OTD It’s the birthday of the naturalist, botanist, ornithologist, prizewinning horticulturist, painter, archaeologist, historian, author of six books, and a proud daughter of the great state of Louisiana: Caroline Dormon.  Her friends called her “Carrie.” Carrie was a tiny woman; she was also a powerhouse; she formed her…

Read More
Gilbert White

A Gift for Observation #OTD It’s the birthday of the English naturalist, Gilbert White, who was born on this day in 1720. White kept a journal for almost three decades, where he recorded observations of his garden. It was eventually published as a Calendar of Flora and the Garden, followed by the Naturalist’s Journal. People…

Read More
Camille Corot

Painting Speaks to Gardeners #OTD It’s the birthday of Camille Corot, born in 1796 in Paris. Corot was a French painter, famous for his landscapes, and he inspired the landscape painting of the Impressionists. Corot’s quotes about painting are inspiring to gardeners. Here’s a little sample of his inspiring perspective on the natural world: “Beauty…

Read More
Inigo Jones

The Renaissance Architect #OTD It’s the birthday of the English architect, Inigo Jones, born today in 1573. Jones introduced classical Roman architecture and the Italian Renaissance to Britain. He left his mark on London by his design of buildings, such as the classically styled Queen’s House for James’ queen, Anne of Denmark. Sadly, Anne died…

Read More
Captain James Cook

Sailing the Globe #OTD It’s the anniversary of the day that Captain Cook arrived in England in 1771.  He had successfully led that first voyage to Australia. But, neither Cook nor his botanist Joseph Banks, realized that the quartz reef where they planted the British Flag contained gold. The area would remain untouched by Europeans…

Read More
David Prain

Director of Royal Botanic Gardens #OTD Today in Fettercairn Scottland in 1857, the amateur botanist David Prain was born. He would ultimately become the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Calcutta and Kew. Prain was sent to Calcutta in 1887 to be the curator of the herbarium. He researched Indian hemp, followed by other…

Read More