Gilbert White

The Naturalist's Journal

Today is the birthday of the English naturalist, Gilbert White.
Gilbert kept a journal for almost three decades, where he recorded observations of his garden. Gilbert's observations were eventually published as a Calendar of Flora and the Garden. Then they were woven into a book called the Naturalist's Journal.
People immediately recognized Gilbert had a gift for observation and for describing with vivid clarity the natural world.
Here's a little of what Gilbert 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 ("LEER-EE-OH-den-drum TOO-lip-IF-er-ah"), or tulip-tree, which was in flower. The soil is poor sand, but produces beautiful pendulous Larches.
Mr R’s garden, ... abounds in fruit, and in all manner of good and 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."

Gilbert White's journals are a treasure, and luckily we can read them for ourselves online at one of my favorite websites:

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Gilbert White
Gilbert White

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