February 14, 2022 René Louiche Desfontaines, Orchid Lawsuit, Samuel Graveson, Okakura Kakuzō, Rosie Sanders’ Flowers by Rosie Sanders, and Michaux’s Sumac


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Historical Events

1750 Birth of René Louiche Desfontaines, French botanist. After studying in Paris, René botanized in Tunisia and Algeria in North Africa. His Masterwork, Flora Atlantica, included 300 new genera.

René conducted a fascinating experiment with the sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) by seeing how it would react to a carriage ride through Paris. He discovered that the plant grew accustomed to riding in the carriage after initially closing its leaves and wilting the first few times it took a ride.

René is remembered in the name of Desfontainia spinosa or the Chilean holly, native to Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina. The Chilean holly is a beautiful ornamental, hardy to −5 °C (23 °F), but requires winter protection.


1863 Birth of Okakura Kakuzō ("Oh-ka- koo-rah Ka-coo-zoh") (books by this author), Japanese author, scholar, and supporter of the arts. In The Book of Tea, he wrote,

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.


1869 Birth of Samuel Graveson, a Quaker printer, publisher, philatelist, and author who lived in Hertford, England.
In his book, My Villa Garden (1915), he wrote,

What another book of gardening!
Are not our bookshelves already overburdened with literature on the subject?


1898 On this day, a court case involving the sale of an orchid and breach of warranty was settled in favor of the plaintiff.

In Ashworth vs. Wells, the plaintiff bought a white orchid with a warranty. It was a one-of-a-kind Cattleya Acklandiae alba ("kat-lee-ya ack-land-ee-aye AL-bah"), a white orchid - only to discover two years later when it bloomed that it was just a common purple orchid.

The plaintiff was awarded fifty pounds - the price paid for the imposter white orchid.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Rosie Sanders' Flowers by Rosie Sanders

This book came out late in 2017, and the subtitle is A Celebration of Botanical Art.

Rosie's work is featured in this book of botanical paintings that will take your breath away with their richness, drama, and sensuality.

This book beautifully showcases eighty of Rosie's paintings which celebrate some of our favorite flowers: tulips, orchids, roses, irises, anemones, and amaryllis, just to name a few. If you didn't get flowers for Valentine's Day, consider grabbing a copy of Rosie's book!

Rosie also has a book that focuses specifically on Roses.

You can get a copy of Rosie Sanders' Flowers by Rosie Sanders and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for $22.


Today's Botanic Spark

2010 On this day, Georgia botanist Mincy Moffett Jr. staged a unique Valentine's Day for a rare dwarf sumac species known as the Michaux Sumac native to Georgia's Lower Broad River Wildlife Management Area.

Mincy's plan was an ingenious one. He not only increased public awareness around the endangered plant, but he also helped save a species that desperately needed human-engineered botanical intervention for survival.

In 2010, the Michaux Sumac was found in two small areas of Georgia - one population was made up of just five male plants, while the other community was all female. Additionally, the male and female Michaux Sumac plants were separated by seventy miles of dense forest. By not growing near each other, the plants could not reproduce with insect pollination and were forced to reproduce asexually, which resulted in reduced genetic diversity.

Thanks to Mincy's romantic intervention, female plants were planted near the male plants. Mincy told a local reporter,

Let's hope it turns into a torrid romance.

Now, a decade later, it appears that Mincy's matchmaking was a success as the combined Michaux Sumac community continues to thrive.


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

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