March 25, 2022 Lady Day, Nehemiah Grew, Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, The Violets of March Sarah Jio, and Filoli


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Historical Events

Lady Day

March 25 is also known as Lady Day, the traditional name of the Feast of the Annunciation, which commemorates the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. During this visit, Gabriel told Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Lady Day is also the first of the four traditional English quarter days. 

The Marigold is the flower dedicated to Mary on Lady Day. The etymology of the common name Marigold comes from Mary (probably referring to the Virgin Mary) + gold, thus Mary's gold. Mary's gold was also a common name used for a similar plant native to Europe, Calendula officinalis.

Both Marigold flowers and leaves are edible, and Marigolds are commonly used as culinary herbs.

In terms of medicinal uses, Marigold is good for the skin and has been used for topical healing to address cuts, soars, and general skincare. Marigolds have essential oils and a high concentration of flavonoids like carotene. 

In Floriography or the language of flowers, Marigolds represent the sun and therefore refer to the power, strength, and light inside each of us. Marigolds also represent lost love. So if someone's inner strength has been damaged by the loss of a loved one, whether by death or a breakup, the Marigold represents that despaired or lost love.


1641 Birth of Nehemiah Grew, English botanist.

He's remembered as the Father of Plant Anatomy. Nehemiah was the first person to illustrate plants' inner structures and functions in all their unique intricacies. His 1682 book, Anatomy of Plants, was divided into four topics: Anatomy of Vegetables Begun, Anatomy of Roots, Anatomy of Trunks, and Anatomy of Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, and Seeds.

Nehemiah used a relatively new invention to help his study of plant morphology: the microscope. He tried to recreate what he saw through the lens when he drew. Nehemiah's drawings of tree parts cut transversely look like intricate laser cuts - imagine a mandala  - and the lines are impossibly thin.

Nehemiah examined all kinds of natural elements under the microscope, and he wrote the first known microscopic description of pollen.

If you'd like to try something fun this summer, channel your inner Nehemiah Grew, get a microscope on Amazon or at a thrift store, and check out your own plant specimens under the microscope.


1890 On this day, the naturalist João Barbosa Rodrigues established the Herbarium at the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro. 

The Herbarium was Rodrigues's first step toward expanding the scope of the garden to include education.

Today, the Herbarium has over 750,000 mounted specimens of Brazilian flora, and most of the collection is from the Atlantic and Amazon forests.

The botanic garden sits on 350-acres and features over 7,000 species of tropical plants. One of the most unique elements of the garden is the avenues of 100-foot-tall avenues of royal palms. 


2021 On this day, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden in Kashmir opened to the public.

The most extensive tulip garden in Asia, the garden was formerly known as the Model Floriculture Center and covers 74 acres. The government owns the garden.

The garden was initially created in 2007 with 1.5 million tulip bulbs from Amsterdam's famous Keukenhof tulip gardens. Other spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, hyacinth, and ranunculus have since been added to the 65 different varieties of tulips now growing in Kashmir.

This year the Kashmir Tulip Garden Festival runs from April 1 through the 20th. Every year, the tulip garden is opened to the public during the month of March when the tulips start to bloom - a fantastic sight to see.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Violets of March Sarah Jio

This book came out in 2011, and this book is a fiction book.

The book is about a heartbroken woman who stumbles on a diary and then steps into the life of its anonymous author.

The main character is named Emily Wilson. She has a bestselling novel and a GQ husband, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

But ten years later, Emily's life has changed. Her Great Aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. When she's researching her next book, she stumbles on a red velvet diary dated 1943. And then, the contents of the journal have massive implications for her own life.

Now I love what Jodi Picoult said about The Violets of March. She wrote

Mix a love story history and a mystery and what takes root. The Violets of March is a novel that reminds us how the past comes back to haunt us and packs great surprises along the way.

Now, if you're a gardener, you're going to love the cover of this book because it's an old chair with the diary that's open and then a violet cutting on top of the pages. It's gorgeous.

So if you're looking for a bit of fiction book to tide you over through the spring, please consider The Violets of March by Sarah Jio.

This book is 296 pages of intrigue, incredible settings, as well as history, and mystery.

You can get a copy of The Violets of March Sarah Jio and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for $1.


Botanic Spark

2020 On this day, Jim Salyards, Director of Horticulture, Filoli Center, documented the spring displays in an article called Essential Gardening: Public Gardens in the Spring of COVID-19, published in Arnoldia, a publication of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

The Filoli garden is located at a grand country estate built in 1917 for the William Bourn family. Bourn devised the name Filoli from his personal motto. Fi from fighting for a just cause, Lo from loving your fellow man, and Li from to live a good life. There's a good chance that Filoli is a place you may be familiar with - especially if you were a fan of the 1980s hit tv show Dynasty because Filoli's house was the Carrington house. Every year, 100,000 visitors stop by the home and gardens. 

It is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains just south of San Francisco. The 16-acre formal English garden at Filoli is in USDA zone 7, which allows Filoli to grow beautiful spring bulbs and draws many visitors since spring bulbs generally can't grow in the native California climate.

But on this day in 2020, at the beginning phase of the pandemic, the garden had no visitors. Here's some of what Jim wrote,

On March 25, I was in the Sunken Garden, snapping a social media photo of yellow ‘West Point’ tulips that were blooming within the low, clipped hedges of the parterres. 

Filoli has blooms 365 days a year because of the moderate climate along the coast of northern California.

Locals and visitors from around the globe are captivated by the spring experience of seeing daffodils and tulips in our meadows and formal beds. Wisteria clambers on the side of the mansion, and peonies are showstopping. But this year, our spring peak of mid-March to mid-April was completely missed. All the planting and tending on the part of the staff, all the expectant calls and emails that started at the beginning of the year asking the best time to visit were for naught.

I did my best to share photos and videos through our social media outlets, but it’s just not the same. A few thumbs-up or heart emojis are a poor substitution for the “oohs” and “aahs” and the thank-yous we receive from guests each day—the guests who call out compliments while we are weeding and pruning or who pass along the praise to our colleagues in visitor services and interpretation. Public gardens like Filoli are champions of environmental education and conservation, yes, but we also provide substance for people’s souls. Hopefully, in the near future, the garden will once again become a space of healing, just when the world needs us most.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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