February 22, 2022 Pehr Loefling, William Barnes, Adolph G. Rosengarten, Phyllis Theroux, The Flower Hunter by Lucy Hunter, and Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Historical Events

1756 Birth of the handsome and tall Swedish botanist, Pehr Loefling.

Pehr met Carl Linnaeus at the University of Uppsala, where Carl was his professor. Early on, Carl dubbed Pehr his "most beloved pupil," and he started calling Pehr "the Vulture." Carl came up with the moniker after observing that Pehr had an intuitive way of finding plants and observing the most minute details of plant specimens.

After graduating, Carl recommended Pehr for an opportunity in Madrid. Pehr landed the position, learned Spanish, and was soon called Pedro by his friends. In short order, Pehr joined a Royal Spanish Expedition to South America. His mission was to find and learn about an improved cinnamon species. Two years into the trip, Pehr was botanizing in Venezuela when he died of malaria on the banks of the Caroní River. He was buried beneath an orange tree. He was 27 years old.

By the end of the year, over half of the expedition's men would be dead from disease compounded by hunger and fatigue.

When Linnaeus heard the news about Pehr, he wrote to a friend,

The great Vulture is dead.

 

1801 Birth of William Barnes (books about this person), English polymath, writer, and inventor. He wrote over 800 poems and had familiarity with over 70 different languages. The English writers Thomas Hardy and Edmund Gosse visited William on his deathbed. Edmund later wrote that William was

dying as picturesquely as he lived...
We found him in bed in his study, his face turned to the window, where the light came streaming in through flowering plants, his brown books on all sides of him save one, the wall behind him being hung with old green tapestry.

 

Any gardener who loves their garden has likely thought about the day they'll have to say goodbye. William wrote about that moment in a little poem called To a Garden—On Leaving It.

Sweet garden! peaceful spot! no more in thee
Shall I ever while away the sunny hour.
Farewell each blooming shrub, and lofty tree;
Farewell, the mossy path and nodding flower:
I shall not hear again from yonder bower
The song of birds, or humming of the bee,
Nor listen to the waterfall, nor see
The clouds float on behind the lofty tower.

My eyes no more may see, this peaceful scene.
But still, sweet spot, wherever I may be,
My love-led soul will wander back to thee.

 

1870 Birth of Adolph G. Rosengarten, Sr., American businessman. His family pharmaceutical company would become part of Merck in the 1920s. In 1913, Adolph and his wife Christine wanted to escape the heat of Philadelphia and find a place suitable for a country home. They settled on a piece of land in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and commissioned their former friend and classmate Charles Borie to design the house and Landscape architect Thomas Sears to work on the terraces. After 1924, the family lived there year-round.

Adolph named the estate Chanticleer as a tongue-in-cheek nod to "Chanticlere" in William Makepeace Thackeray's The Newcomes (1855), wherein the estate was "mortgaged up to the very castle windows." Adolph always said he sympathized with the fictional Chanticlere owner from the novel.

The etymology of Chanticleer means rooster, and that's why there are so many rooster motifs at Chanticleer (books about this garden).

Today the public garden at Chanticleer is among the best in the United States. The grounds occupy 35 of the 50 acres owned by the foundation. The garden opened to the public in 1993. The job of maintaining and designing Chanticleer now falls to seven full-time horticulturists who strive to preserve and improve a garden that's been called America's most romantic and creative garden.

 

1939 Birth of Phyllis Theroux (books by this author), American writer and journalist. She grew up in San Francisco following World War II. She once wrote,

I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.

 

Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Flower Hunter by Lucy Hunter

This book came out late in 2021, and the subtitle is Seasonal flowers inspired by nature and gathered from the garden.

Lucy Hunter is a floral whisperer. She knows how to create beauty - true, artistic, Raphaelian, dreamy, sumptuous beauty.

For a first book, Lucy has given gardeners quite a gift.

Gardeners love nothing better than chatting with other gardeners and seeing their gardens.

How do you do this? Why do you grow that? What do you do with this flower?

In The Flower Hunter, Lucy Hunter welcomes us to a year in her North Wales garden. And trust me; you want to see what Lucy is doing with the beauty she finds in her own backyard.

Lucy is generous with her  step-by-step tutorials. She inspires with her essays on working with natural elements. She’s funny, too. And Her photography is top of the top.

Even if you feel no match for Lucy’s level of mastery, she manages to help connect the reader to the well of creativity, the tiny spark of inspiration that each of us possesses.

As gardeners, we see the beauty in the every day. We know how to find peace in nature. Lucy extends that serenity and joy and puts it to work in creating more than just exquisite floral arrangements. She also demonstrates other projects like drying flowers for a fall wreath, making natural dyes (easier than you think), and creating your own journal (more fun than you think!).

Lucy Hunter has two decades of floral, photography, and landscape design experience. She is a naturalist at heart. She is an edge-softener, an evocateur, a seasonal transition lover, a rose lover and guru, a believer in potential, and a pathfinder to your own creative voice.

You’d better believe that her Instagram is amazing. You can follow her @lucytheflowerhunter.

This book is 208 pages of Lucy Hunter doing what Lucy Hunter does best: florals, beauty, softness, nature, and sparks.

You can get a copy of The Flower Hunter by Lucy Hunter and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for $25.

 

Botanic Spark

1892 Birth of Edna St. Vincent Millay (books by this author), American lyrical poet and playwright.

Gardeners know many of Edna's verses like:

April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

I would blossom if I were a rose.

I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.

 

But there's a touching little poem of Edna's that was published posthumously. that I thought I'd end the show with today. It's a lovely spring poem called, If It Should Rain. The American actress Kathleen Chalfant once said that her friend Sloane Shelton would repeat the last three lines before going to sleep at the end of particularly hard days.

If it should rain --(the sneezy moon
Said: Rain)--then I shall hear it soon
From shingles into gutters fall...
And know of what concerns me, all:

The garden will be wet till noon--
I may not walk-- my temper leans
To myths and legends--through the beans
Till they are dried-- lest I should spread
Diseases they have never had.

I hear the rain: it comes down straight.
Now I can sleep, I need not wait
To close the windows anywhere.

Tomorrow, it may be, I might
Do things to set the whole world right.
There's nothing I can do tonight.

 

Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

The Daily Gardener
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