Today is the anniversary of the death of the Ohio-born botanist and Willow Expert Michael Schuck Bebb, who died on this day in 1895.
In 1896, Walter Deane wrote a biography of Bebb's life in the Botanical Gazette. The biography included a fantastic photo of Bebb, who had sideburns that extended below his shoulders.
One of the most charming details was Bebb's description of his childhood garden:
"The garden was laid out in old-fashioned geometric style; the borders well filled with rare shrubs and perennials, Holland bulbs, and, I am happy to add, native plants as well." If we add to this a well-stocked greenhouse, twenty by one hundred and fifty feet in dimensions, we can readily understand how Michael early acquired a passion for the study of the plants about him."
Later, after Michael's father retired from serving as the Governor of Ohio, his dad purchased a large estate 100 miles Northwest of Chicago he called Fountaindale. When Michael recalled the rolling prairie on the estate, he wrote:
"Ah! That was lovely beyond description and a perfect paradise for the out-of-doors botanist."