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1699 Birth of John Bartram, American botanist, and explorer.
John founded the first botanical garden in America, and Linnaeus called him the "greatest natural botanist in the world."
Like many botanists of his time, John was born to a farming Quaker family in Pennsylvania. He never forgot his rural roots, and he always thought of himself as a farmer first. When asked to describe how he ended up in botany, he wrote,
One day, I was very busy [plowing]… and being weary I ran under a tree to repose myself.
I cast my eyes on a daisy; I plucked it mechanically and viewed it with more curiosity than common country farmers are wont to do, and observed ... many distinct parts, some perpendicular, some horizontal.
...I thought about it continually, at supper, in bed, and wherever I went....
On the fourth day I hired a man to plow for me and went to Philadelphia. [I bought] a Latin grammar [and] ...applied to a neighboring schoolmaster, who in three months taught me Latin enough to understand Linnaeus...
Then I began to botanize all over my farm.
1907 On this day, a school garden for boys only was started at a school in Rhode Island. A summary report was published with the State Board of Education. Here's what the report said,
On March 26th, all the boys wrote for catalogs, some sending several letters or cards.
It proved a valuable letter lesson in letter-writing and geography as they looked at the places they had sent the letters and inquired about distances, railroads, and mail trains.
More than fifty attractive catalogs were received. Tomatoes, lettuce, and radishes were planted in boxes ready for early transplanting. The seeds were obtained through a member of Congress, and despite all the rumors regarding the poor quality of government seed, [they] proved excellent.
Two boys found an old sink in a dump. This was sunk in the middle of the West yard, partly filled with cement and now used as a birdbath.
Each boy chose several vegetables from a list of corn, squash, onions, carrots, beans, beets, lettuce, radishes, pumpkins, potatoes, peas, and parsnips. The corn and a row of sunflowers were planted next to the fence; the other vegetables [were planted] according to height, living lettuce, and radishes in the front.
Difficulties: There have been many difficulties in the way. Most of the work has been done outside of school hours, at noon when some of the boys have to hurry home or at night when they carry papers. Most discouraging of all, vegetables have been stolen and Gardens trampton almost nightly.
Effect: But the effect of the garden work on the boys has been excellent.
First of all it's giving them an outside interest. They have learned courtesy and generosity and showing visitors the garden and giving away their vegetables. Toads which we have raised from eggs are to be put in the garden when school closes.
There has been less time for running about the streets and cigarette smoking. Since the gardens were started, there's only been one case of truancy and very little absence. Ten or fifteen minutes hard work during the school hours has often served to bring a cross, restless boy back to quiet and pleasant.
Of the 23 boys, 18 have made gardens at home and most of them are doing well.
A copy of one boy’s notebook will give an idea of the garden from the boy's standpoint.
March 25: Began to pick rocks. Got a backache. Wrote for catalogs.
March 26: Laid out 23 beds - [each] 6 by 14 ft
March 27: Planted radishes, lettuce, tomatoes in boxes. Miss Allen paid $0.25 for loam.
May 1: Put down sink for Birds bath.
May 3rd: Planted pumpkins, potatoes, beans, beets, lettuce, radishes.
May 15, 16, 17: Cleaned up West yard. Got loam. Planted shrubs and trees.
Planted marigolds, candytuft and poppies, Boston Ivy, cornus, weigelia, lilac, crab.
It looks slick.
May 20th: These seeds are up in my bed: radish, lettuce, beans.
May 21: brought Bush to school. Went to Arlington for ferns. Pumpkins up. Put violets beside Birds tub.
June 12th: Brought home 10 radishes. They were good ones.
Saw a jay in our bath and a chipping sparrow.
June 17: Mr Randall out. Hoeing. A lot of teachers came. Took home lettuce
June 18: Sent radishes to Mr. Small. A man and lady came to see if we will get a prize.
June 19: Everything in my garden is growing fine. It's a good thing. We have spent $11.45.
1913 Birth of James C. Rose, American landscape architect, and author.
A high school dropout, James was expelled from Harvard University as a landscape architecture major because they disapproved of his design style.
James fulfilled a lifelong dream despite his personal struggles with educational institutions when he created The James Rose Center for design study and landscape research.
In From Creative Gardens (1958), James wrote,
A garden is an experience.
It is not flowers or plants of any kind.
It is not flagstone, brick, grass, or pebbles.
It is not a barbeque or a fiberglass screen.
It is an experience.
If it were possible to distill the essence of a garden, I think it would be the sense of being within something while still out of doors. That is the substance of it; for until you have that, you do not have a garden at all.
1923 Birth of Norman Thelwell, English cartoonist. He is remembered for his humorous drawings of ponies and horses. In his book, From a Plank Bridge by a Pool (1978), he wrote,
When I look at the tree in the dark days of winter, its huge green-black skeleton silhouetted against the ashen sky, or hear its tracery seething in a westerly gale as I lie snug and warm in bed, I wonder who it was planted this giant for so many generations to enjoy. And in the balmy days of summer when its leaves are overlaid like the breast feathers of a great bird to form high domes of rounded foliage, I wish I could call back this gentle spirit of the past and say,
“This is your tree. Look at it now, for it is gracious beyond words.”
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
This book came out in 2010, and the subtitle is: grow harvest cook.
As someone who loves to grow herbs, this is one of my favorite books on herbs because it features beautiful photography of over 120 culinary herbs.
Then, Jeff and Marie-Pierre offer more than 30 delicious, practical recipes that show you what you can do with your herbs - everything from making your own salad dressings and marinades to flavored butter, pestos, herbal teas, and cordials; in addition to seasoning your favorite meals.
And I love what Jeff writes. He says,
I always think of culinary herbs as the champions of the kitchen garden.
And he reminds us that their volatile oils serve a purpose: they were the compounds that plants used to defend themselves from insects and fungi.
As for Marie, she says that,
As a cook herbs are my best friends.
Just a handful brightens up the concoctions that I make in my kitchen.
And she also reminds us that when space is at a premium, herbs should be a priority.
So whether you're going to store some ginger root in the freezer, or a roll of herb butter or even just a little cilantro ice cube. They are all well-worth their shelf space.
This book is 192 pages of fantastic herbs -and the photography is top-notch. This is a DK book - and it looks like it.
2011 Death of Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress.
She was the highest-paid movie star in the 1960s. She won two academy awards - for BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
In 1999, she was named the seventh-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute.
Elizabeth was an early AIDS activist, and she founded the National AIDS Research Foundation. In 1990, she championed Ryan White Care Act to stop discrimination against people with H.I.V. One of her tactics was to send lavender-scented notes to senators and congressmen that simply read, "I think you should see this," along with detailed information about H.I.V.
Elizabeth's Bel Air home garden was located behind the swimming pool. A private tropical paradise, the garden featured her favorite flowers - gardenias and lilies of the valley - along with birds of paradise. Tucked beneath lush palms and bamboo, a small greenhouse held her collection of orchids. In 2004, Elizabeth's mobility declined, and she stopped walking through her beloved garden.
In 1987, Elizabeth was one of the first celebrities to launch a signature fragrance: White Diamonds. Her garden served as the muse for her fragrance. The White Diamonds scent is made up of Italian neroli, Egyptian tuberose, narcissus, and Turkish rose. It has generated more than $1.5 billion in sales, and Revlon reports that four bottles of the scent are sold per minute in the United States, and a bottle is sold every 15 seconds worldwide.
Elizabeth died at 79 from congestive heart failure. She left instructions that her funeral service started 15 minutes late as she wanted to be late for her own funeral.
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And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.