February 10, 2022 Carl Linneaus, Benjamin Smith Barton, Rod and Rachel Saunders, Fruit Trees for Every Garden by Orin Martin, and Winifred Mary Letts


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Historical Events

1758 On this day, Carl Linneaus (books about this person), the man known as the "father of modern taxonomy," was feeling his age, which was fifty. He was also battling another bout of depression, and his Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was poured out in words he wrote to his former pupil and friend, Abraham Bäck:

I cannot write more today;
my hand is too weary to hold a pen.
I am the child of misfortune.
Had I a rope and English courage,
I would long since have hanged myself.
I fear that my wife is again pregnant.
I am old and grey and worn out, and my house is already full
of children; who is to feed them?
It was in an unhappy hour that I accepted the professorship;
if only I had remained in my lucrative practice, all would now be well.
Farewell, and may you be more fortunate.


1766 Birth of Benjamin Smith Barton (books about this person), American botanist, naturalist, and physician. Benjamin worked as a Professor of Natural History and Botany at the University of Pennsylvania, where he authored the very first textbook on American Botany. In 1803, at Thomas Jefferson's request, he tutored Meriwether Lewis in botany to get him ready for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Benjamin was no doubt excited for Meriwether's prospects. In 1798 Benjamin encouraged his fellow man to "add luster to their names" by looking for new medicines through plant discoveries. He wrote,

The volume of nature lies before you: it is hardly yet been opened: it has never been pursued...
[The] man who discovers one valuable new medicine is a more important benefactor to his species than Alexander, Caesar, or a hundred other conquerors.


2018 On this day, British botanists and horticulturalists Rod and Rachel Saunders were murdered by terrorists during their work in the oNgoye Forest.

The couple led extraordinary lives committed to scientific advancement and had spent decades seeking to better understand the natural world - especially the world of Gladiolus.

In the 1970s, they established Silverhill Seeds in Cape Town, the result of their lifelong dedication to collecting and studying rare South African plants.

At the time of their deaths, they were nearing the end of their mission to find and photograph every known species of Gladiolus in South Africa; they had only one flower left to find and photograph. In the wake of their deaths and without the help of their missing laptops and notes, a small dedicated team of people completed Rod and Rachel's project. The book Gladiolus of Southern Africa was the result. Professor Fiona Ross wrote in the forward,

Rod and Rachel always intended to dedicate the book to the tortoises they saved from Road deaths. We do not know what they would have said in their dedication, but to honor their intentions, this book recalls the tortoises.

Historically gladioli symbolize courage. In contemporary floral or, they also represent perseverance and Remembrance, A fitting tribute to rod and Rachel's lives and work.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Fruit Trees for Every Garden by Orin Martin

This book came out late in 2019, and the subtitle is An Organic Approach to Growing Apples, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Citrus, and More.

Orin is the long-time manager of the renowned Alan Chadwick Garden at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

This book won the book award from the American Horticultural Society.

Orin is a pragmatic plantsman, and his book is a genuinely useful resource for any budding fruit grower. The photos are beautiful, and the ease with which Orin shares his wisdom makes the reader want to plant a mini-orchard ASAP.

If you have any desire to grow your own healthy, bountiful fruit trees, then Orin's book is a must-have.

You can get a copy of Fruit Trees for Every Garden by Orin Martin and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for $16.


Botanic Spark

1882 Birth of Winifred Mary Letts, English writer. Gardeners often quote her thoughts on spring:

That God once loved a garden, we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring, I well can credit it.

Winifred also wrote a poem about spring called Spring the Cheat, one of many poems she wrote about WWI. Winifred examines the season of rebirth (spring) with the never-ending season of loss that comes with war.

O exquisite spring, all this — and yet — and yet —
Kinder to me the bleak face of December
Who gives no cheating hopes, but says — "Remember."


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And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.

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