The Dedicated Plantsman
Today is the birthday of the botanist and physician Lorenz Scholz von Rosenau, who was born on this day in 1552.
The information history has preserved about Scholz gives us a rare glimpse into the botanical life of a dedicated plantsman in the 1500's. Like many early botanists, he was very well educated, and he was a polyglot; reading, writing and speaking many languages.
One of the most critical endeavors accomplished by Scholz was translating medical references, which were written in Greek and Arabic. He took that information, along with texts written by peers around Europe, and put together a reference book that combined all of the best medical knowledge of his time. His work proved so valuable in helping to teach people about the plague that he earned a coat of arms and nobility title, the Scholz von Rosenau" name in 1596.
As for botanical activities, Scholz was way ahead of his time. He grew potatoes - a suspicious activity during his day and age, and one few gardeners would have pursued - because people were afraid of nightshade plants. And, Scholz had a massive garden even by today's standards - over 7 acres. I love the description of the layout for Scholz's garden: four quadrants, prominent central pathways, and smack in the middle of all of it was a building that historians say was used to entertain; Scholz had designed it to serve both as a dining hall and an art gallery.