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Today is Bird Day!
1556 Death of Luca Ghini ("Gee-nee"), Italian physician and botanist.
Luca is remembered for creating the first recorded herbarium and the first botanical garden in Pisa, Italy.
Historical accounts indicate he was an outstanding and beloved botany teacher at the university in Bologna. By 1527, Luca was giving lectures on medicinal plants and essentially teaching what is considered the first official university-level classes on botany.
Luca was also the first to press flowers to create a plant collection. The English botanist William Withering wrote about flower pressing in the 1770s.
Luca used his pressed and dried plants the same way future botanists would - he used them to study when fresh or live specimens were not available. In this way, he could teach his students, and they could use the dried specimens to continue their studies all year long.
Luca mentored his students - taking them on field trips and encouraging them to learn all about plants.
And if Luca Ghini seems an obscure character in botanical history, it's because he didn't publish anything. He was too busy interacting with his botanist peers and teaching his students - through whom he left a lasting legacy.
1749 Birth of Charlotte Turner Smith, English novelist, and Romantic poet.
She revived the English sonnet, was an early Gothic fiction writer and helped establish the genre. She also wrote about sensibility in her political novels.
Charlotte's novels, Emmeline (1788) and Desmond (1792), reflect womanly hope and disenfranchisement with eighteenth-century Common Law.
Charlotte once wrote,
Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the withered rose,
And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
And here is an excerpt of Charlotte's poem called Written at the Close of Spring.
The garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,
Each simple flow’r, which she had nurs’d in dew,
Anemones that spangled every grove,
The primrose wan, and harebell, mildly blue.
No more shall violets linger in the dell,
Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till Spring again shall call forth every bell,
And dress with humid hands her wreaths again.
Ah, poor Humanity! so frail, so fair,
Are the fond visions of thy early day,
Another May new buds and flow’rs shall bring;
Ah! Why has Happiness—no second Spring?
1858 Birth of Sophie Emma Magdalene Grieve (pen name Mrs. Grieve), English writer and herbalist.
Her friends called her Maud.
In addition to her writing, Maud founded an Herb School and Farm in England. She was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society, President of the British Guild of Herb Growers, and a Fellow of the British Science Guild.
Today, Maud is best remembered for her book, A Modern Herbal (1931).
Maud's Herbal is still regarded as one of the best herbals ever written. She provided detailed information about each herb she profiled, including "Medicinal Actions and Uses."
Here's a sampling of her information.
Purple Loosestrife: As an eyewash this invasive herb is superior to Eyebright for preserving the sight and curing sore eyes.
Chives: Useful for cutting up and mixing with the food of newly-hatched turkeys.
Borage: May be regarded as a garden escape. (A delicate way of saying it is invasive.)
Valerian: A powerful nervine, stimulant, carminative, and anti-spasmodic. The drug allays pain and promotes sleep. It is of especial use and benefit to those suffering from nervous overstrain…During the recent War (WWI), when air-raids were a serious strain on the nerves of civilian men and women, valerian…proved wonderfully efficacious, preventing or minimizing serious results.
Garlic: There is a Mohammedan legend that when Satan stepped out from the Garden of Eden after the fall of man, Garlick sprang up from the spot where he placed his left foot and Onion from that where his right foot touched.
Moneywort: We are told by old writers that this herb was not only used by man, but that if serpents hurt or wounded themselves, they turned to this plant for healing, and so it was sometimes called 'Serpentaria'.
Agrimony or Church-Steeple: the small root is sweet-scented, especially in spring.
Lemon: It is probable that the lemon is the most valuable of all fruit for preserving health.
English Summers: ‘It has been said, with some truth, that our English summer is not here until the Elder is fully in flower, and that it ends when the berries are ripe."
1894 Birth of Margaret Leland Goldsmith, American journalist, historical novelist, and translator.
In June of 1936, in “The Perils of Gardening” for Scribner’s Magazine, she wrote:
For years I have avoided magenta with feverish zest.
I do not like it.
It kills my henna reds.
It fights with the cedar brown of my cottage.
Yet every year something of that hue intrudes.
If it isn’t Sweet William reverting to type, it is a red phlox gone decadent.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
This book came out in 2020, the perfect time because it was right at the start of the pandemic.
The subtitle is Recipes and Reading to Suit Each Season.
Oh, I cannot tell you how long I've been waiting to share this book. It is such a treat.
The publisher does a great job of succinctly telling you about Kate's book.
The Little Library Year takes you through a full 12 months in award-winning food writer Kate Young's kitchen. Here are frugal, January meals enjoyed alone with a classic comfort read. As well as summer feasts to be eaten outdoors with the perfect beach read in hand. Beautifully photographed throughout.
The Little Library Year is full of delicious seasonal recipes, menus And reading recommendations - (which is one of the reasons why I absolutely squealed when I first found out about Kate's book.)
Now you'll be happy to know that the cover is beautiful. It truly is a cover for a gardener because she's got a little desk with a little coffee mug, and then she's got potted herbs stacked on top of books. Then, there's a little blue journal with a pen resting on top. The herbs include Pineapple Sage, Thyme, and of course, Rosemary. It is just perfect.
Now Diana Henry's review of this book is right on the cover. She writes
Recipes you long to cook. Suggestions for books. You want to read a sense of place and season and takes of life lived thoughtfully and well. This is a very special book written with great generosity
She is so right.
Now I wanted to share this little excerpt from Kate about how she broke down the seasons for her book. She writes,
I have broken the year into six parts. Those long winter nights in January and February, the first signs of spring in March and April, the green months of may and June when spring is in abundance, the height of summer in July and August, the weeks when the leaves start to turn in September and October. And then the final months of the year, as the days grow short.
And then she writes,
I have written The Little Library Year. as a literary and culinary almanac -a celebration of each and every season and a way to capture the year in books and food.
And isn't that fantastic?
Well, you really should treat yourself to this book, and then if you fall in love with Kate Young, check out her author page because she has many, many delightful books. She's a great writer - one of my favorites.
This book is 336 pages of garden-fresh recipes, life stories, and of course, books, books, books.
You can get a copy of The Little Library Year by Kate young and support the shell using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $20, but you'll need to hurry because those used copies at that price will go quickly.
1976 Birth of Gail Carriger (Gail "Care-ah-gurr") (the pen name of Tofa Borregaard), American New York Times bestselling author of steampunk fiction and an archaeologist.
In her book, Poison or Protect, the first in the Delightfully Deadly series, a sexy assassin, a Scotsman, and two lobsters attend a Victorian house party in a charming story of love and espionage.
Gail introduces us to her main character this way:
The assassin is Lady Preshea Villentia ("Preh-sha Vill-in-sha"), who has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black. What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment.
In the book, Lady Violet says,
"We do not suit. You have no genuine interest in botany!”
Lady Violet practically yelled her final conclusion. This was the biggest sin of them all.
Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener
And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.