March 28, 2022 Spencer Woolley Kimball, Jean Galbraith, Margarita Grace Phipps, Aquascaping by George Farmer, and Sylvia Plath


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Historical Events

1895 Birth of Spencer Woolley Kimball, American business, civic, and religious leader. He was the twelfth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was also a gardener and wrote,

Where you have a plot of land, however small, plant a garden.
Staying close to the soil is good for the soul.


1906 Birth of Jean Galbraith, Australian botanist, gardener, writer, and poet.

Jean is remembered for her books on Australian botany, including three editions of the seminal Wildflowers of Victoria (1950), Collins Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Southeast Australia, and a children's book Grandma Honeypot (1964). Her charming book, Garden in a Valley (1939), became an instant garden classic when it was republished in 1985.

Born in Tyers (a little town in Gippsland, Australia), Jean spent almost eighty years in her family home called Dunedin ("Do-NEE-din"). At Dunedin, Jean maintained an enormous garden, which became a draw for visitors from all over Australia and the world. The artist, Peter Cuffley, painted a fabulous representation of Dunedin. It's one of the most iconic garden art pieces of the past century. 

Jean learned botany through letters she exchanged with the botanist Herbert B. Williamson during the 1920s. When Jean turned 21, Herbert sent her a microscope, and it became one of her most treasured possessions.

As a writer, Jean had a distinctive style and voice. Her writing was more akin to John Muir's than her scientific peers' stiff, formal writing. For 50 years, she delighted the readers of the two magazines she regularly wrote for: The Garden Lover and the Victorian Naturalist

As a person, Jean lived an incredibly simple life. She did not have a car, tv, or phone and wrote her books longhand. By all accounts, she was one of the kindest souls to have ever walked the earth. She wanted children to know and love nature. She advocated for plant preservation - especially wildflowers in their native habitats. Jean believed in the spiritual and healing aspects of gardening. She thought that the garden was a metaphor for life and living. 

In 1970, Jean was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion. Jean died in 1999, just before her 93rd birthday. 

Jean once wrote that she knew the stories of every plant in her garden,

There is no flower in the garden that has not its remembered history. 

And Jean loved her garden, despite its faults.

It is not a model garden, rarely, alas, is it even orderly.
(But) in spite of its failures and mistakes and imperfections,
its airs are sweet, its flowers love to bloom, and we are happy in it. 


1928 On this day, Margarita Grace Phipps, wife of John S. Phipps (an heir to the Phipps family fortune), hosted the first meeting of The Garden Club of Palm Beach at her home Casa Bendita. Fifteen women attended the event. Mrs. Frederick E. Guest is credited with having the original idea for the club.

Today Casa Bendita's remaining six-acre garden has evolved into Casa Phippsberger, the island's most stunning private botanical garden. And, The Garden Club of Palm Beach continues to grow. One of the ways the club stays relevant is to have a member attend every single town meeting to make sure the club can take advantage of opportunities to help the community.  

In 2010, the club installed a beautification and education garden at the Southern Oasis Traffic Circle. The garden features plants that thrive in the Palm Beach climate. That same year, the club installed xeriscape landscaping in eight Kaleidoscope Flower Beds on Royal Poinciana Way. In 2011, the club created a vertical garden on the Saks Fifth Avenue store. Called the Living Wall, the project has become an iconic element of the Worth Avenue Restoration Project.

In 2021, the club created the four-acre Bradley Park Tidal Garden. When the club began work on a children's playground in Bradley Park, members realized that frequent flooding from king tides needed to be addressed in the plans. The solution was the creation of a tidal garden. 

King tides are more extensive than normal tides, and they can cause an enormous amount of damage to the landscape. SMI Landscape Architecture LLC designed the new tidal garden to withstand king tides by incorporating sunken gardens with channels that send water back where it belongs. The majority of the garden is designed with native plants and natural elements like climbable cap-stone boulders.

The next project will be the restoration of the Chinese Garden at The Society of The Four Arts, where the Palm Beach Garden Club maintains the demonstration gardens. The seven demonstration gardens illustrate different themed garden spaces. They include the Chinese Garden, the Fragrant Moonlight Garden, the Palm Garden, the Bromeliad Garden, the Jungle Garden, the Spanish Facade Garden, the Formal Garden, the Tropical Garden, and the Madonna Garden.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Aquascaping by George Farmer

This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting, Styling, and Maintaining Beautiful Aquariums.

 I am a huge fan of George's book. There's really nothing like it on Amazon. Now, if you are into creating terrariums or beautiful living vignettes - maybe you're working creatively with live plants - then George's book is a must-have. 

At the beginning of George's book, he defines Aquascaping because some people are not familiar with that term. But George says that Aquascaping is simply the art of creating beautiful aquariums, and he likes to explain the term as landscape gardening, but underwater.

It's well-known that aquariums have a therapeutic value when you watch them. They can also reduce anxiety levels and create a state of relaxation, which is so valuable in today's stressful world.

And, in terms of your own growth as a gardener, if you enjoy working with terrariums, maybe give Aquascaping a try this year. Aquascaping could be one of your goals to grow as a gardener in 2022.

George's book is very highly rated on Amazon. Everybody that I've talked to about this book just raves about it. George did an excellent job.

This book is 200 pages of everything you need to know about growing plants in aquariums. (t's more than just adding water, by the way.)

You can get a copy of Aquascaping by George Farmer and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $10.


Botanic Spark

1961 On this day, the American poet Sylvia Plath wrote a poem called I Am Vertical. H re's the first verse:

I Am Vertical
But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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