A Gift for Observation
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 immediately recognized White had a gift for observation and for describing with vivid clarity the goings-on in the natural world.
Here's a little of what he wrote in his journal on this day in 1781; his 61st birthday:
"Farmers complain that their wheat is blighted.
In the garden at Dowland’s,... stands a large Liriodendrum tulipifera, or tulip-tree, which was in flower. The soil is poor sand but produces beautiful pendulous Larches.
Mr. R’s garden, ... abounds in fruit, & in all manner of good & forward kitchen-crops. Many China-asters this spring seeded themselves there... some cucumber-plants also grew-up of themselves from the seeds of a rejected cucumber thrown aside last autumn. Mr. R’s garden is at an average a fortnight before mine."