March 31, 2022 Andrew Marvell, Dietrich Brandis, William Waldorf Astor, Leo Buscaglia, Passions by Carolyne Roehm, and Bunny Mellon


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Historical Events

1621 Birth of Andrew Marvell, English poet and politician. He was a friend of John Milton. In addition to writing The Garden - one of the most famous English poems of the seventeenth century - he wrote this little garden verse:

I have a garden of my own
But so with Roses overgrown
And Lilies, that you would it guess
To be a little wilderness.


1824 Birth of Dietrich Brandis, German forester and botanist.

He's remembered as the Father of Forestry in India, the Father of Modern Forest Management, and the Father of Tropical Forestry.

Concerned about the unregulated destruction of the forests in India, the British wanted people in India to help manage and protect the trees. In 1856, Dietrich left his botany professorship in Bonn (where his father had been a professor) for a civil service position managing the teak forests in Burma. Eight years later, Dietrich was in charge of all the forests in India.

In Carl Alwin Schenck's Birth of Forestry in America, there's a fascinating story about how Deitrich inventoried the Teak trees in the forest.

[He rode] an elephant, on such trails as there were, with four sticks in his left hand and a pocketknife in his right. Whenever he saw in the bamboo thickets a teak tree within two hundred feet of his trail, he cut a notch in stick number 1, 2, 3, or 4, denoting the diameter of the tree. It was impossible for European hands, dripping with moisture, to carry a notebook. At the end of the day, after traveling some twenty miles, Brandis had collected forest stand data for a sample plot four hundred feet wide and twenty miles long, containing some nineteen hundred acres. He continued his cruise for a number of months, sick with malaria in a hellish climate. Moreover, he underwent a trepanning operation (brian surgery), and for the rest of his life, he carried a small hole filled with white cotton in the front of his skull. But he emerged from the cruise with the knowledge needed for his great enterprise.

Dietrich established modern "sustainable" agroforestry principles that are still followed today. For two decades, Dietrich measured, itemized, and chronicled the forests of India. He started forest management schools and created training protocols for his employees.

In 1878, Deitrich founded the Forest Research Institute in the Doon Valley in Dehradun. Styled in Greco Roman architecture, the building is beautiful and is the largest purely brick structure in the world.

Sir Joseph Hooker recognized Deitrich's work and named the flowering-plant genus Brandisia in his honor.


1848 Birth of William Waldorf Astor, American-British attorney, politician, businessman (hotels and newspapers), and philanthropist.

In 1891, a tall, shy William Waldorf Astor moved to Britain after declaring that "America is not a fit place for a gentleman to live."

After over a decade living in England, William bought a run-down double-moated Hever Castle, which was Anne Boleyn's family home four hundred years earlier. Between 1904 and 1908, William oversaw the installation of the extensive gardens designed by Frank Pearson to surround the castle. William diverted water from a nearby river to make a 35-acre lake to make his vision a reality. It is said that eight hundred men hand-dug and stomped on the clay soil to make the bottom of the lake. Mature trees were harvested from Ashdown Forest and transplanted at Hever. Two mazes were installed. Topiary chessmen were pruned for the chess garden. Thousands of roses were brought in for the rose garden. But, the most impressive Garden at Hever was and is the Italian Garden, which features colonnades, classical sculptures, antiquities dating back to Roman times, and a loggia. There's also a long pergola on one end that features cool dripping fountains the entire length. Even today, it's staggering to think the whole project was completed in four short years.


1924 Birth of Leo Buscaglia, American author, motivational speaker, and professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California. Leo believed education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his uniqueness.

Leo learned to Garden from his father, and he once wrote,

To this day I cannot see a bright daffodil, a proud gladiola, or a smooth eggplant without thinking of Papa. Like his plants and trees, I grew up as a part of his garden.

Leo was a self-help guru who preached love so much that he became known as "Dr. Love." He once wrote, 

A single rose can be my garden; a single friend, my world.

He also wrote,

There are many miracles in the world to be celebrated and, for me, garlic is the most deserving.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Passions by Carolyne Roehm 

This book came out in 2021 at the end of the year in December, and this is actually a collection of three books.

All three books feature Carolyn's passions: flowers and gardens, feminine touch (which is all about how Carolyn loves to decorate), and furry friends, which of course, shares Carolyn's love of animals, especially her pups. 

I have to say that I love the book sleeve for these books slip into because the artwork is reminiscent of Maria Sibylla Merian.

Carolyn writes,

I hope that this little trio of books about the joy that I found in flowers and gardening, feminine allure and feminine style and the love of furry friends delights and inspires you as it has me.

When I think about this book set, I think about it like a gift - a little book set to gift - so if you're looking for something special for yourself or a friend, this little set of books should be at the top of your list.

The photography in all of these little books is absolutely stunning; it's all Carolyn Roehm.

If you're a Carolyn Roehm fan, if you love her home in Connecticut or if you've watched any of her styling videos on YouTube, then you will immediately recognize the deeply saturated hues and the stunning compositions that she puts together with flowers and exquisite objects in her home. The balance of color, form, and architecture - all the incredible details that she pulls together - is just drop-dead gorgeous.

This book is 240 pages of Carolyn Rome's passions - her favorite things - flowers and gardens, feminine allure and design,  and furry friends. 

You can get a copy of Passions by Carolyne Roehm and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $34.


Botanic Spark

1962 On this day, a landscape worker hit a line connecting President Kennedy's White House to the Strategic Arms Command, the line vital to launching a nuclear attack.

The project was led by Bunny Mellon, who was in charge of designing a new rose garden outside the President's office. Robert Kennedy once reflected on Bunny in the Garden, saying,

Often during cabinet meetings, we would see her out there in the rose garden – a little figure with a bandana on her head. 

One of Bunny's first tasks was to find a gardener to implement her designs. She selected a man named Irvin Williams, who was a government gardener at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. After Bunny brought him to the White House, he would stay on as the head gardener for almost fifty years.

In early talks for the rose garden redesign, the Park Department voiced concerns about hitting underground lines. Bunny's plan called for large magnolia trees, which after some debate, were eventually ordered.

But on this day, the underground line was cut during ground preparation. Bunny recalled that the problem was handled calmly and that she was never reprimanded.

Bunny found the perfect magnolia trees for the White House over by the Tidal Basin overlooking the Jefferson Memorial. Once again, the Parks Department said "no" (due to costs). But Irvin Williams supported Bunny's idea, and he made arrangements to have the trees brought to the White House. 

The roses included a yellow rose from the state of Texas called the Speaker Sam rose in honor of the late speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, a bright red variety from the World's Fair, a white rose name Frau Karl Druschki, and pink Doctor roses.

Twenty-four days after the underground line was hit, the Garden, complete with magnolia trees and roses, was unveiled to the public. The updated rose garden was an instant success.

The artist and friend of the Kennedys, William Walton, later wrote,

[President Kennedy's] pleasure in that garden was infinite.


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

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