March 29, 2022 William Baldwin, R. S. Thomas, Yûrin no Niwa, COVID Garden Prep, Homegrown Tea by Cassie Liversidge, and Richard Evans Schultes


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Historical Events

1779 Birth of William Baldwin, American physician, and botanist. 

William is remembered as one of the first botanists to explore Georgia and Florida and parts of Latin America and the West Indies.

William was brought on as the botanist for Stephen Long's 1819 expedition to find the headwaters of the Missouri River. Six months later, William Baldwin died at Franklin, Missouri, at the age of 40 and was buried on the banks of the Missouri River.

Today we know about William mostly from his dear friend, the botanist William Darlington, who wrote his biography. The two men became close after William nursed Darlington back to health after an illness when the two were young men. Darlington reflected on William's death decades later when he wrote these words:

His gentle spirit forsook its frail tenement, in a region far remote from his anxious family, - and the wildflowers of the West, for more than twenty years, have been blooming on his lonely grave: But the recollection of his virtues continues to be fondly cherished by every surviving friend, - and his ardor in the pursuit of his favorite Science will render his memory forever dear to the true lovers of American Botany.

William Darlington learned from a colleague that floodwaters had washed away William Baldwin's grave the following year.

Baldwin's milkwort (Polygala balduinii "puh-LIG-ah-lah bal-DEE-nee-eye") was named in honor of William Baldwin. Baldwin's milkwort is one of only a handful of white milkworts found in Florida.


1913 Birth of Ronald Stuart Thomas (published as R. S. Thomas), Welsh poet and Anglican priest. Here's an excerpt of his poem The Garden (1963).

It is a gesture against the wild,
The ungovernable sea of grass;
A place to remember love in,
To be lonely for a while;


1969 On this day, work was finished on a kimono-inspired garden in Japan called Yûrin no Niwa ("Yer-EEN no nee-wah") in Kyoto.

The garden was initially designed to accompany the building for the Association of Kimono Manufacturers. The famous garden designer Mirei Shigemori ("Me-ray Shig-ah-mor-ee") designed the garden, which was celebrated in a ceremony the day after work was completed.

But thirty years later, the area was redeveloped, and the building was set to be demolished. Iwamoto Toshio ("E-wah-mo-to To-see-oh") was a student of Shigemori's, and he decided to rescue the garden so that it could be relocated to a new home.

When Shigemori's hometown built a new town hall, the garden found its new home. And so, over 80 truckloads of rock and stone were painstakingly brought to the new site, where they were reassembled to make the second incarnation of the Yûrin no Niwa garden. This second garden ended up being just a bit larger. 

The garden features a shallow kimono-shaped pond, and the water brings out the colors of the red and blue stones that make the strips of the noshi bundle on the kimono. The garden's name was a blending of the two names - the name of the man who developed the silk-dying process for the kimonos and the name of the painter who inspired the kimono designs: Yûrin no Niwa.


2021 On this day, as Brits were enjoying the end of their COVID lockdown, Out and Out shared an article called, five things to do to get your garden ready for March 29th. The tips included:

1. Smarten up your lawn 

There is something so appealing about a lush, vibrant green lawn, so make this your first job.

Give your lawn a good raking to get rid of any fallen debris and shake over some grass seed if you notice any patchy areas.

2. Wash away winter

...get everything scrubbed up nicely – you don’t want to take the shine off your gathering with grubby surroundings.

Give your patio and decking areas a good going over with a jet wash and blast away winter’s deposits.

3. Organize your seating

Place garden dining furniture in a large enough area that there’s space to walk all the way around and for guests to comfortably get in and out.

If you have a garden lounge set or garden sofas, lay them out so you can comfortably converse with guests while enjoying the satisfying garden views.

4. Spring planting

If you didn’t get round to planting spring bulbs last year, you can always add instant colour by picking up some established plants at the garden centre.

Shrubs such as Camellia, Japanese quince and Forsythia also look their best during the spring months.

Pop some into borders and create container displays for the patio to give your garden an instant lift.

5.  Finishing touches

For alfresco dining, set the table with colorful crockery and beakers which will take you through to BBQ season too.

For sunny weather, invest in a parasol, and for cooler days and evenings patio heaters and some chunky throws will be very welcome additions.
Don’t forget solar lights either, to keep the conversation going after nightfall.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Homegrown Tea by Cassie Liversidge 
This book came out in 2014, and the subtitle is An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes.

I have been waiting to share this book with you. 

Now, if you don't know what a Tisane is, it's an infusion: take dried or fresh herbs and infuse them into liquids, and then you have a beverage that you can drink just to enjoy or get some medicinal benefit from it.

A sample Tisane might be made with Juniper berries or white peppercorns with grapefruit and orange peels. That's a great little drink. Juniper is outstanding and is a common ingredient in a Tisane.

Now, one of the things that I want to say about Cassie's book right off the bat is that it's stunning. This is a St. Martin's Griffin book. There are so many beautiful photos.

I love illustrated guides because they are so helpful. Sometimes, when you're exploring a new topic or venturing into a new area of gardening, you need lots of photos to find your way and serve as inspiration for you.

Now Cassie is a huge tea fan, and she sees the garden through the lens of tea. When Cassie sees a garden, she sees a living tea cupboard because there are all kinds of plant materials that you can harvest to make your own teas and tisanes.

As Cassie says in her introduction,

Homegrown Tea is a gardening book for tea lovers. It explains how to grow a large variety of plants from which you can make your own teas and tisanes. your garden, your balcony, or even your window sill could become your tea cupboard.

Now, one of the other things that I love about how Cassie approaches this is, she also shares some of the history of tea and how some of these ingredients have been used over the years. Her sample drinks include plants like rose hips, mint, sage hibiscus, and lavender and plants like chicory or angelica, apple geranium, and lemon verbena.

One other thing that I want to tell you about Cassie is that she's a garden girl. She grew up in her parents' plant nursery, so she knows about plants - they're in her DNA. And that's why Cassie is so thoughtful and so knowledgeable about plants in the garden and how you can incorporate them into teas.

And by the way, her debut book was called Grow Your Own Pasta Sauce, and that book is excellent as well.

But if you are a tea lover, you've got to get this book. And if you have a friend that loves tea, this would make an excellent gift or even just a wonderful hostess gift. It would be great to give this book to a summer party hostess and a few teabags of your own concoctions. 

This book is 288 pages of tea in all its glory and fresh from your garden.

You can get a copy of Homegrown Tea by Cassie Liversidge and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $16.


Botanic Spark

1942 On this day, a twenty-six-year-old ethnobotanist named Richard Evans Schultes arrived at the Kofán village of El Conejo, where a shaman welcomed him. 

Richard had just finished his Ph.D. at Harvard, and his mission was to find indigenous arrow poisons used in the Amazon rainforest. The goal was to see if the poisons could be used as muscle relaxants in surgical procedures. The trip set Richard down a path of meeting with shamans and discovering the plants they used medicinally and in their holy traditions.

Richard gleaned so much on this trip. He learned about special leaves that were heated with smoke and then laid on the forehead to relieve headaches; orchid bulbs that were chewed for energy on long trips; shamrock leaves that were gargled for throat pain; pepper plant poultices applied to insect bites; the leaves of a white orchid that could be packed around a sore tooth or eaten mashed with sugar to heal a broken heart. The list goes on and on.

Overall, Richard's trip was a success. It seemed charmed from the start. On his first day in Bogata, Richard discovered a new orchid. He pressed it in between the pages of his passport. It was later named Pacyphyllum schultesii in his honor. Richard later reflected on the opportunity and wrote,

I had just earned my Ph.D. at Harvard, and I had been offered two jobs.
One was as a biology master at a private school in New England; the other was a ten-month grant... to go to the Amazon region to identify the plants employed in the many kinds of curare the Indians use for hunting.
I decided on the Amazon—which is fortunate because otherwise, I would probably still be a biology [teacher]!


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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