April 7, 2022 Michel Adanson, Francis Cabot Lowell, David Fairchild, Steven Vogel, The Fine Art of Paper Flowers by Tiffanie Turner, and Dame Helen Mirren


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Historical Events

1727 Birth of Michel Adanson, French botanist and naturalist.

He created the first natural classification of flowering plants. Although today we think mainly of Darwin and Linnaeus when it comes to classification, these two men and others stood on the shoulders of Michel Adanson. The great botanist Jussieu ("Juice You") adopted Michel's methodology to create his masterpiece called Genera Plantarum (1789).

Michel was the first person to question the stability of species. When he saw breaks or deviations in nature, he came up with a word for it: mutation.

Linnaeus honored Michel's contributions with the genus Adansonia, which features the spectacularly unique Baobab ("BOW-bab") trees of Africa, Australia, and Madagascar.

The Baobab tree (books about this topic) has a Seussical quality, and it is one of the most massive trees in the world. They are called "The Queens of the Forest" or "The Roots of the Sky in Africa." The last name refers to a legend that tells how long ago, in a fit of anger, the devil pulled the Baobab tree out of the ground, only to shove it back into the earth upside down - leaving its roots shooting up into the air. The story offers the perfect description of how the trees look. 

The enormous trunks of the Baobab tree can store up to 32,000 gallons of water. The outer bark is about 6 inches thick, but the cavity is spongy and vascular. This is why animals, like elephants, chew the bark during the dry seasons.

Carbon dating indicates that Baobabs may live to be 3,000 years old. 

And here's a fun fact: the cooking ingredient Cream of Tartar was initially made from Baobab seed pulp. Today, it is mainly sourced as a by-product of making wine.


1775 Birth of Francis Cabot Lowell (books about this person), American industrialist and anthropologist. The first planned company town - the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, is named in his honor. One of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution in America, Francis once wrote,

One lifetime is never enough to accomplish one’s horticultural goals.
If a garden is a site for the imagination, how can we be very far from the beginning?


1869 Birth of David Fairchild (books about this person), American botanist.

In terms of plant exploration, David was single-handedly responsible for introducing more than 200,000 plants to the United States, including pistachios, kale, mangoes, dates, nectarines, soybeans, and flowering cherries.

In 2019, David's incredible adventures and contributions intrigued author Daniel Stone so much that he wrote a magnificent biography of David called The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats.

David also brought the Avocado to America. David loved the Avocado and wrote,

The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.


In 1905, David married Mary Ann Bell; his father-in-law was none other than Alexander Graham Bell - who, along with his wife, also enjoyed gardening.

Today the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables is filled with many of the plants David collected, and of course, the garden is named in David's honor.

In The World Was My Garden: Travels Of A Plant Explorer (1938),  David  wrote,

The human mind prefers something which it can recognize to something for which it has no name, and, whereas thousands of persons carry field glasses to bring horses, ships, or steeples close to them, only a few carry even the simplest pocket microscope. Yet a small microscope will reveal wonders a thousand times more thrilling than anything which Alice saw behind the looking-glass.


1940 Birth of Steven Vogel, American biomechanics researcher and the James B. Duke professor in the Department of Biology at Duke University. In The Life of a Leaf (2012), Steven wrote,

I’m not even much of a gardener—my contribution to the family garden consists mainly of compost.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Fine Art of Paper Flowers by Tiffanie Turner

This book came out in 2017, and the subtitle is A Guide to Making Beautiful and Lifelike Botanicals.

When it comes to making permanent arrangements and using elements like paper flowers, there is no better teacher than Tiffany Turner.

By the way, this book has the most beautiful cover. Tiffany is a bit of a polymath - she's multitalented. She's licensed as a California architect. She's a fine art instructor and an artist in her own right. Her work has been featured all over the country.

Tiffany typically explores nature in her work, and she creates botanical specimens that can be staggeringly large or very, very, very tiny.

Now, Tiffany was raised in the woods of New Hampshire. But, for the past twenty years, she's made San Francisco her home, and that's where she and her husband are raising their two children. There's no doubt her children have delighted in their mother's beautiful, beautiful work.

There's something about Tiffany's work that reminds me a bit of Mary Delany - the famous crate paper artist from the 1700s. I think Mary would really delight in what Tiffany can do with paper, and I especially love what Publishers Weekly said about Tiffany's book. They wrote,

Under the mantra 'You must make what you see, not what you think you see,' this book guides artisans to astonishing results.


Tiffany walks you through how to make these awe-inspiring creations, but the most crucial element is how to start — how to approach each floral subject — whether you're talking about a poppy or a rose, or a peony. Each flower has a little bit of a different approach.

Tiffany's book is a fantastic resource because it's an in-depth instructional guide where Tiffany leaves nothing to chance and lays it all out on the table. So even if you are a complete novice in crafts and working with an element like crate paper, you will quickly be put at ease by all of Tiffany's encouragement and simple, straightforward instructions.

Now, one of the ways I love to use this book is whenever my daughter says that she and her friends want to do something - they're bored, but they have no idea what to do. Crate paper flowers are enjoyable to do with a small group of friends. They're not very messy. You can start and stop the project at any time. And generally, by the time the gathering is over, people are leaving with flowers in their hands - and that's what you want. You don't want an overwhelming project that can't be finished in a sitting.

So I love this book. This is one of my go-to resources for botanical crafting. This book has been out for five years, and it's still one of the very, very best resources for paper flowers.

This book is 264 pages of paper, crafting gift decorating, flower arranging, and more from your trusty guide: Tiffany Turner.

You can get a copy of The Fine Art of Paper Flowers by Tiffanie Turner and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $15. So fun.


Botanic Spark

2020 On this day, Female First shared an article about Dame Helen Mirren (books about this person), English actor. Speaking to Yours magazine, she shared:

I love to spend time in my garden. If I have a few free hours I love to dig around in the dirt. It's so calming, worthwhile and a really good way of keeping those dark dragons away which I do have at times.

Gardens and green spaces are vital for people and the planet. ...They should teach it in schools. ...Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That's part of the fun of it. You are always learning."

It comes after the 74-year-old actress revealed she is a pomegranate farmer and harvests the fruits at her farm in Salento, Italy.

She explained:

Apart from acting, my other job is that of a pomegranate farmer.

My husband I have planted over 400 pomegranate trees and we're producing juice for the market. The juice is delicious.

Our little company is still in the early stages but we want to sell our juice in Italy and abroad.

...The first time I saw the full moon rising from the sea and shining on my pomegranates, I burst into tears.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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