April 8, 2022 Hugo von Mohl, Levi Lamborn, Mary Pickford, Betty Ford, Immersion by Nola Anderson, and Barbara Kingsolver


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Historical Events

1805 Birth of Hugo von Mohl, German botanist. 

One newspaper called him the "greatest botanist of his day." He coined the word protoplasm. He discovered Mitosis and chloroplasts - describing them as discrete bodies within the green plant cell in 1837. In 1846 he described the sap in plant cells as "the living substance of the cell" and created the word "protoplasm."


1859 On this day, the Ohio Legislature named Alliance, Ohio, the "Carnation City," saying "truly it is the home of Ohio's State flower," thanks to the work of the amateur horticulturist Levi L. Lamborn (books by this author).

In 1876, Levi ran against his friend William McKinley for congress. Before every debate, Levi gave William a "Lamborn Red" Carnation to wear on his lapel. Levi had propagated and named the Lamborn Red Carnation from seedlings he had received from France. After William won the election, he considered the Lamborn Red Carnation his good luck charm - his lucky flower - and he wore a Lamborn Red Carnation during his successful campaigns for Governor of Ohio and President of the United States.

William wore a Lamborn Red Carnation when he was sworn into office. He was also wearing one when he attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. At that event, he removed the Carnation and gave it to a 12-year-old girl named Myrtle Ledger, saying,

I must give this flower to another little flower.

Minutes later, in the receiving line, he greeted his assassin, Leon Czolgosz. President McKinley lingered for eight days after being shot twice before finally succumbing to infection.

When McKinley's funeral train passed through Alliance, Ohio, the train tracks were covered in Lamborn Red Carnations. 

The Ohio General Assembly named the scarlet Carnation the official Ohio floral emblem three years later. The resolution reads:

Even though the first mention of the Dianthus genus of plant... is traced to some four hundred years before the birth of Christ, it was not until a native son of Alliance, Ohio, (Levi L. Lamborn) worked his floricultural magic that it blossomed as the matchless symbol of life and love that is today.

Representative Elijah W. Hill, from Columbiana County, said,

England has the rose, France has the lily; Ireland, the shamrock; Scotland, the thistle. ...To these ends, we seek to adopt the scarlet Carnation as Ohio's floral emblem.

Fifty-five years later, on this day, April 8, 1959, Alliance, Ohio, became the "Carnation City" thanks to the work of Levi L. Lamborn. Every year since 1960, Alliance has held a Carnation festival. In 2022, the 10-day festival takes place between August 4 - August 14.


1892 Birth of Mary Pickford (books about this person), born Gladys Marie Smith, became known as America's sweetheart and a Hollywood legend.

Mary was also a lover of trees. If you jump on Twitter, search for "Mary Pickford Tree," and you'll see images of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford planting a tree at their PickFair estate. #ArborDay

Mary Pickford was the first to plant a Japanese cedar tree in the Forest of Fame at the California Botanic Garden.

And Trivia/Folklore says that Mary Pickford used to eat flowers - especially roses.
Katie Melua sang about Mary in a song that goes:

Mary Pickford
Used to eat roses
Thinking they'd make her Beautiful,
and they did-
One supposes.

In real life, Mary did indeed eat roses.
Mary Pickford revealed in her autobiography, Sunshine and Shadow that as a young girl living in Toronto, she would buy a single rose and eat the petals, believing the beauty, color, and perfume would somehow get inside her.

Mary starred in Madame Butterfly (1915). The movie was shot in the Japanese garden of Charles Pfizer's Bernardsville, New Jersey estate called Yademos, the word "someday" spelled backward. The elaborate three-and-a-half-acre Japanese garden - complete with a lake filled with Japanese goldfish, a tea house, and a hooped and arched bridge - looked like it had been there forever - but in reality, the garden was only nine years old. 


1918 Birth of First Lady Betty Ford (books about this person).

As a woman, Betty Ford consistently defied the odds. She was an incredible trailblazer and very open about her struggles with alcohol and breast cancer. She revolutionized addiction treatment and opened her center for treatment while she was in the middle of working on her own recovery.

Today' the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a fitting living tribute to this remarkable woman. Known as Vail's Alpine Treasure, the garden was founded in 1985 by the Vail Alpine Garden Foundation and renamed in honor of Betty three years later in 1988.

This special place is located in Ford Park right next to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater–named in honor of her husband, the 38th president of the United States.

Over the years, the Betty Ford Alpine Garden has evolved to comprise four distinct sections; Mountain Perennial Garden (1989), Mountain Meditation Garden (1991), Alpine Rock Garden (1999), & the Children's Garden (2002.)

Today, over 3,000 species of high-altitude plants play host to children's programs, horticultural therapy activities, and numerous partnerships and conservation initiatives.

In 1991, Betty said,

When I was a little girl, I spent many cherished hours with my mother in her garden. She wisely marked off an area for my very own plants. As we worked together, she nurtured me as she nurtured my love of gardening. This nurturing mother-daughter relationship, with its love growing strong in a garden, has been passed along to my daughter, Susan, and her two girls.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Immersion by Nola Anderson

This book came out on April 13, 2021 - (so we're almost at the year anniversary) - and the subtitle is Living and Learning in an Olmsted Garden.

This book came about because Nola Anderson and her husband purchased a property called The Chimneys in 1991. The Chimneys was an old estate, and  Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. designed the gardens for the original owners. Sadly, the property had fallen into ruin by the time Nola and her husband got ahold of it. The Chimneys story reminds me so much of Sissinghurst. I love when people revive old spaces like this.

One of the things that I appreciate about Nola is her courage and curiosity. When Nola walked onto The Chimneys property, she had not a lick of garden experience, which always reminds me of the saying, "Ignorance is bliss." Perhaps if Nola had been a gardener, she might've looked at the property and felt daunted by the task of restoration. But instead, Nola and her husband committed to renewing this incredible seaside garden. After three decades of hard work and research, The Chimneys was a sight to behold. 

Originally, The Chimneys was created at the turn of the century, between 1902 and 1914. The Chimneys was home to a wealthy Boston finance guy named Gardiner Martin Lane and his wife, Emma. They hired Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to create an Italianate garden for them.

The seaside garden is perched on a bluff and comprises a series of garden terraces that gradually taper down with the natural topography. The very top terrace is called the water terrace and features a rose-covered pergola and a shelter that boasts a stunning view of the terraces below and the ocean. Then there is the most incredible water feature (on the book cover), inspired by a 16th-century country estate in Italy called Villa Lante.

In the Facebook group for the show, I shared a video of Monte Don walking through the incredible garden at Villa Lante. Monte says that this garden, Villa Lante, is the prime example of an Italianate Garden and the inspiration for Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. when working for the Lane family.

The other terraces at The Chimneys are also stunning. They include the overlook terrace, the lavender terrace, the all-white tea terrace, the vegetable garden, the crab apple allee, and finally, the luxuriant rose garden. 

So how lucky are Nola and her husband to stumble on The Chimney's estate and then bring it back to life? It really was the chance of a lifetime. And, don't you just love stories like this? The people who take on these forgotten gems - these gardens from our past - usher them through a transformation to reclaim their former glory.

Before I forget, I wanted to mention that Clint Clemens is the photographer for this book, and he did a truly magnificent job. The photography is absolutely stunning. This book is 293 pages of The Chimneys - a garden on my bucket list. 

You can get a copy of Immersion by Nola Anderson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for about $50.


Botanic Spark

1955 Birth of Barbara Kingsolver (books by this author), American writer and poet. A daughter of Kentucky, Barbara graduated from DePauw University and the University of Arizona. She worked as a freelance writer before writing novels. Since 1993, her books have made the New York Times Best Seller list. The Poisonwood Bible (1998) brought critical acclaim and told the tale of a missionary family in the Congo - a place Barbara knew briefly as a child when her parents worked in public health in the Congo. In 2007 Barbara shared her family's quest to eat locally in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, where she wrote,

Spring is made of solid, fourteen-karat gratitude, the reward for the long wait. Every religious tradition from the northern hemisphere honors some form of April hallelujah, for this is the season of exquisite redemption, a slam-bang return to joy after a season of cold second thoughts.

She also mused,

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart,
and I only know what they’re feeling because that’s how I read the seed catalogs in January.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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