April 22, 2022 Mary Russell Mitford, Julius Sterling Morton, August Wilhelm Eichler, Midas Dekkers, The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright, and Louise Elisabeth Glück


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Historical Events

Happy Earth Day - a celebration that started in 1970.


1812 On this day, Mary Russell Mitford (books by this person), the English writer and poet, wrote to Sir William Elford, an English banker, politician, and amateur artist. In her letter, Mary wrote,

I place flowers in the very first rank of simple pleasures, and I have no very good opinion of the hard worldly
people who take no delight in them.


1832 Birth of Julius Sterling Morton (books about this person), American newspaper editor, Secretary of Agriculture, and father of Arbor Day.
In 1867, after moving west from Detroit, J. Sterling and his wife Caroline were shocked by Nebraska's treeless landscape. Together, they conceived of a day to promote tree planting.

The original proposal to the agricultural board of Nebraska was for a “Sylvan Day” - to promote forest trees. In Latin, “sylva” means "wood" or "forest." And Sylvanus was the Roman god of woods and fields. But, J. Sterling decided that a broader celebration of all trees was in order, and he proposed “Arbor Day.”

The first Arbor Day on April 10, 1872, was an overwhelming success - with over a million trees planted in frontier Nebraska. Arbor Day quickly became a national holiday - celebrated on April 22 to honor J. Sterling Morton's birthday. Nowadays, Arbor Day is generally celebrated on the last Friday in April in the United States. Arbor Day 2022 will occur on Friday, April 29th.

Despite his many professional and honorable appointments at the state and federal levels, J. Sterling considered Arbor Day the ultimate accomplishment of his life. In 1923, the beautiful Morton family home, known as Arbor Lodge, and the surrounding property were gifted to Nebraska. Today Arbor Lodge is a historic state park.

It was J. Sterling Morton who said,

Other holidays repose upon the past;
Arbor Day proposes for the future.


1839 Birth of August Wilhelm Eichler, German botanist.

Wilhelm developed one of the first widely used natural plant classification systems to reflect evolution. In addition, he divided the plant kingdom into non-floral plants and floral plants.

Wilhelm worked tirelessly as a private assistant to the naturalist Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martinus. When Karl died, Wilhelm continued working on Karl's Flora Brasiliensis. It was a labor of love, but it was still unfinished. And after Wilhelm died, botanist Ignatius Urban continued with the project until its completion.

Today, Wilhelm Eichler Strasse (Street) in Dresden is named in Wilhelm’s honor.

It was Wilhelm Eichler who said,

The felling of the first tree is the beginning of human civilization.
The felling of the last is his end.


1946 Birth of Midas Dekkers (books by this author), Dutch biologist, and writer.

A beloved children's book author, Midas has written over fifty children's and young adult books.

In his book about "the way things fall apart -- about the inevitable ruin of everything from bodies and works of art to ideals and whole societies," called The Way of All Flesh: The Romance of Ruins, Midas wrote,

It’s a sign of wisdom that seeds don’t squander their energy all at once, instead calmly waiting until the time is right. Seeds aren’t stupid.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright

This book came out in 2017, and the subtitle is Vibrant, Plant-based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons.

To review the book today, I had to run over into my kitchen about 15 steps away and grab my dog-eared copy of The First Mess.

I love this cookbook.

If you're looking to totally revamp the way you cook, if you want to make plants the star of most of the dishes you're making- especially in the summertime- you need to get a copy of Laura Wright's The First Mess Cookbook. It's a beautiful, beautiful book.

It actually looks more like a book than it does a cookbook, which appeals to me. It's so pretty that I can have it out and on display in my kitchen.


Before I get into the cookbook, I wanted to share a little story with you that Laura wrote in the introduction.

Raspberry picking throughout the humid Ontario summers was my first job as a youth and I suppose this is where the inspiration for my blog, The First Mess, began.

I would put on my rubber boots, grab a basket, and head toward the back of my parents' two-acre property in the country at the end of the line where rows of raspberry bushes, heaving with fruit under the steamy July sun. One Berry in the basket, one in my mouth. My brother and I would get $2 for every pint we could scrounge up.

And Dad would sell them at his farm market store the next day. I don't think I ever made it to more than $10 a pick. I was too busy, eating those warm berries that tasted of jam, nectar, and light. That all- sensory field experience is my first clear memory of connecting to food beyond the notion of hunger being satisfied.


Isn't that a sweet story?

Laura's cookbook is organized by meal: mornings and breakfast, soups and stews, salads and dressings, hearty mains and big plates, vegetables and a couple of grains, energizing drinks and small bites, and then finally desserts and small treats.

Laura also features a really helpful guide to stocking your pantry for success. This is the time of year most of us are doing some spring cleaning. If your pantry is something that you're struggling with,  if it's gotten a little crowded over the last two years during the pandemic, or if it's just no longer serving you, take a look at what Laura puts in the front of her cookbook because it's one of my go-to guides. I refer people to this for stocking your pantry for success.

Here are some of my personal favorites from Laura's recipes:

Cookies for Breakfast

Vanilla Coconut Coffee Creamer

Eggplant Bacon

Small Batch Roasted Soup

Cider and the Sunflower Dressing

Corn Salad

Sesame Cucumber Noodles

Warm Balsamic Mushroom Salad with Pine Nuts

Cauliflower with Spices (with Walnut Sauce)

Mustard Roasted Broccoli Pata

Anyway, I could go on and on. I still endorse this fabulous cookbook from Laura Wright. It gets five stars on Amazon. It also earned high praise from one of my favorite authors, Deborah Madison, and rightly so.

This book is 296 pages of plant-based recipes that you can use for vegetable cooking ideas, seasonal cooking, and even whole food diets. So this should be on your list for 2022 and beyond.

You can get a copy of The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $7.


Botanic Spark

1943 Birth of Louise Elisabeth Glück (books by this author), American poet and essayist.

Louise won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her other awards include the National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Bollingen Prize. From 2003 to 2004, she was Poet Laureate of the United States.

Louise is known for using her own experiences and nature as inspiration for her work. Her poems are emotive, frank, and very human. 

Louise once wrote,

My childhood, closed to me forever, turned gold like an autumn garden.

In her poem "Witchgrass, Louise wrote,

I don’t need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.


And here's an excerpt of Louise's poem Snowdrops.

Do you know what I was,
how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again,

...to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring-- 


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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