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1688 Birth of Cadwallader Colden (books about this person), Scottish-American physician, botanist, and Lieutenant Governor of New York. The genus Coldenia in the borage family is named for him. After arriving in the United States in 1718, Cadwallader and his wife raised ten children in Queens on their Coldenham estate. His fifth child was a girl named Jane, and early on, she expressed interest in botany. Cadwallader could not resist teaching her the topic. He opened up his library to her, shared his correspondence with her, and allowed her to be present when the family was visited by many of the leading botanists of the time, like John Bertram. Today Jane is remembered as America's first female botanist. Cadwallader was so proud of Jane that he once wrote to a friend,
I (have) often thought that botany is an amusement which may be made greater to the ladies who are often at a loss to fill up their time… I have a daughter (with) an inclination... for natural philosophy or history… I took the pains to explain to her Linnaeus's system and put it in English for her. She [has] grown very fond of the study… Notwithstanding that, she does not understand Latin. She has already (written) a pretty large volume in... the description of plants.
1812 Birth of Charles Dickens (books by this author). The English Victorian-era writer and social critic had a garden at Gad's Hill Place, and he walked around the garden every day before writing. Charles' favorite flower was the Mrs. Pollock geranium (1858). The bloom is a classic geranium, bred by the Scottish gardener and hybridist Peter Grieve. Charles grew geraniums in his garden and conservatory at Gad's Hill. He even wore geraniums on his lapel. Charles' novels contain many garden references.
In Hard Times, he wrote,
Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.
And in Bleak House, he wrote:
I found every breath of air, and every scent, and every flower and leaf and blade of grass and every passing cloud, and everything in nature, more beautiful and wonderful to me than I had ever found it yet. This was my first gain from my illness. How little I had lost, when the wide world was so full of delight for me.
Hoarfrost and fog, but the general aspect is bright and fairylike and has nothing in common with the gloom in Paris and London, of which the newspapers tell us. This silvery landscape has a dreamy grace, a fanciful charm, which is unknown both to the countries of the sun and to those of coal smoke. The trees seem to belong to another creation, in which white has taken the place of green…. No harshness anywhere -- all is velvet. My enchantment beguiled me out both before and after dinner.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces.
Jason Ingram did a lovely job capturing beautiful images of these enchanting outdoor vignettes designed by Ula Maria.
Ula Maria is a young landscape designer from Lithuania. She won the RHS Young Designer of the Year Medal back in 2017.
In her book, Green, Ula is determined to reveal a simple truth about dealing with outdoor spaces: you don't have to be a plant guru to have a beautiful and functional outdoor space. There are styles and types of gardens to suit every individual.
In this book, Ula focuses on outdoor spaces that are on the smaller side. Do you want to install a tiny Oasis on the balcony of your apartment? No problem. Are you looking to add a touch of the Mediterranean to your garden space and incorporate more color and vibrancy into an outdoor dining room? Well, Ula has you covered.
Ula shares some of her favorite plants, and she divides them into functional areas like plants that can be used for structure or interest, et cetera.
Stepping outside the comfort zone of your home and into the unknown of the outdoors may seem daunting at first. But remember that, unlike interior spaces, even the best gardens are never truly finished and are often frayed around the edges.
This sentiment is something that Ula embraces, saying, "that's the beauty of nature."
Ula's book is 176 pages of doable ideas and encouragement to get your creativity flowing regarding your 2022 outdoor spaces - whether they're around your home or out in the garden,
Note: I saw that a few used copies were going for around $4, but you'll need to act quickly if you want to get one at that price.
The writer, Marta McDowell, profiled Laura in one of her recent books, and she shed new light on Laura as a naturalist in one of her blog posts. She wrote,
Long before she was a writer. Laura Ingalls Wilder was a gardener and farmer growing food for the table and raising crops for sale.
In early February of 1918, over a hundred years ago, this month, Laura Ingalls Wilder used her writing talents to encourage people to garden in an article that she wrote for a local newspaper. Laura wrote,
Now is the time to make a garden.
Anyone can be a successful gardener at this time of year and I know of no pleasant, her occupation these cold snowy days than to sit warm and snug by the fire making a garden with a pencil and a seed catalog.
What perfect vegetables do we raise in that way? Best of all, there is not a bug or worm in the whole garden and the work is so easily done.
How near the real garden of summer approaches the ideal garden of our winter fancies depends upon how practically we dream. and how hard we work.
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And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.
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