May 9, 2022 Henri Cassini, Meriwether Lewis, James Matthew Barrie, Sophie Scholl, Patina Living by Steve Giannetti and Brooke Giannetti, and Charles Simic


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Historical Events

National Public Gardens Week
This week marks the beginning of National Public Gardens Week (May 6-15).

This celebration started in 2009 as part of the effort to bring attention to the country's public gardens.

Go Public Gardens is an ongoing, evergreen Association initiative to drive the public to visitvalue, and volunteer at public gardens in their area and when they travel.

You can be part of the celebration by visiting a public garden this week.

You can find gardens near you on the interactive Garden Map.


1781 Birth of Henri Cassini, French botanist and naturalist.
Henri's second great grandfather was the famous Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini; he discovered Jupiter's Great Red Spot and the Cassini division in Saturn's rings.

Henri took a decidedly different path than his ancestors. He was the fifth generation of a family of star scholars, so Henri is often referred to as Cassini V.
Henri became a lawyer, and like many professionals, botany was a hobby for Henri. His heart belonged to the sunflower family, and it is fitting that the genus Cassinia(the sunflower genus) was named in his honor by the botanist Robert Brown. Henri's work had staying power. Many of his sunflower descriptions and observations are still valid over two centuries later.

Henri married his cousin and had no children. He died of cholera at 50, and he was the last of the Cassini name - and a punctuation mark on the wonderful Cassini legacy.


1807 On this day in 1807, Lewis and Clark returned a book they had borrowed from Benjamin Smith Barton.
Before starting their incredible expedition, Meriwether Lewis visited Barton at his home. Meriwether left with Barton's copy of The History of Louisiana by Antoine le Page.
Meriwether memorialized the gesture in the flyleaf of the book, writing:

Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton was so obliging as to lend me this copy of Mons. Le Page's History of Louisiana in June 1803.
It has been since conveyed by me to the Pacific ocean through the interior of North America on my late tour thither and is now returned to its proprietor by his friends and obedient servant,
Meriwether Lewis.
Philadelphia, May 9, 1807.


1860 Birth of James Matthew Barrie (books by this author), Scottish novelist, and playwright.

James is best remembered as the creator and author of Peter Pan, and he drew inspiration from the real world's Kensington Gardens.
In 1912, James commissioned Sir George Frampton to build a statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. It's been a favorite of visitors to the park ever since.
Gardens and flowers were other sources of inspiration for James. The following are just a few samples of his garden inspired prose:

There is almost nothing that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen leaf.

The unhappy Hook was as impotent as he was damp, and he fell forward like a cut flower.

All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old, she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this forever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.


James also wrote,

God gave us memories that we may have roses in December.


1921 Birth of Sophia Magdalena Scholl (books about this person), German student, and anti-Nazi activist.

Sophia was part of the White Rose non-violent resistance group started by her brother Hans. The two were arrested and convicted of high treason after distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich.

Sophia was executed by guillotine. Her last words were, “long live freedom.”

Since the 1970s, Sophia has been praised and remembered for her anti-Nazi resistance work. In 2021, Sophia was commemorated on a special sterling silver collector's coin issued on her 100th birthday.

It was Sophie Scholl, leader of the White Rose Movement, who said,

Who would have thought it possible that a tiny little flower could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply wasn’t room for any other thought.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Patina Living by Steve Giannetti and Brooke Giannetti

This book came out in 2019, and this is The heartwarming story of how the Giannetties live and entertain in the well-designed and lushly planted gardens of their farm in Ojai, California.

If you're a longtime listener of the show, you know that I recommended Steve and Brooke's second book Patina Farm just a few weeks ago. But this is actually their third book, and it's called Patina Living, and it came out in 2019.

And as the publisher says,

The heartwarming story of how the Giannetties live and entertain in the well-designed and lushly planted gardens of their farm in Ojai, California.

So this book is truly dedicated to the gardens there on the property.

Now, I thought I'd give you a complete overview of all the Giannetti books; I think they're all fantastic.

Their first book came out in 2011 and was called Patina Style. Now that book was all about their interior design.

The second book, the book that I just profiled a few weeks ago, is called Patina Farm. And that's talking about basically the entire property inside and out, including the gardens.

And now, this third book, Patina Living, is all about the gardens.

And then, of course, there's one called Patina Homes after this one.

But this book, in particular, is the one that we're talking about today, and it is Patina Living, and they don't call it Patina Gardens, essentially, because there is so much life in these gardens. There are outdoor rooms. There are kitchen gardens. There are animals. There's just so much going on outdoors for the family, which is why they chose to call it Patina Living.

Now I thought it would be fun to review this power couple of Brooke Giannetti and Steve Giannetti.

Brooke is a California-based interior designer. She's got her shop, and she's a blogger. And so everything that she's putting together is just so artfully done. She's a natural stylist.

And then you have Steve Giannetti. He's an architect, and he works on all kinds of projects. So there's the two of them together, and they work so well together.

In the introduction to Patina Living, Brooke and Steve share this incredibly heart-wrenching story of when they had to leave Patina Farm back in 2017 - five years ago when one of the California wildfires was threatening their property.

And so they had to load everything up quickly, and they were prepared to say goodbye to all of it. And so here is this little excerpt from what Brooke wrote. She said,

As we hurried through the now-mature grounds of Patina Farm, we were reminded of the time
we had installed the new plantings that would become our outdoor rooms.

Now, five years later, the gardens looked lush and lovely, softened by the pale pink haze of the fire; but they were also quiet and lifeless. Our donkeys, Buttercup, Daisy, Blossom and Huckleberry, were not grazing the lower fields or sleeping under the pepper trees as they normally did. The protected garden and animal barn next to my
office - where our miniature pygmy goats, sisters Thelma and Louise and their best friend, Dot, and our
sheep, Linen, Paisley and Cashmere, normally lounged and played - were silent and deserted.

As we headed out to our packed cars, Steve asked me if there was anything else that I wanted to
take with us. - looked around at the house -a house we had spent years thoughtfully designing-and
realized that all I really needed to take, the soul of our house, was already securely resting in our cars.


Isn't that touching?

Later on, in the introduction, Brooke sets out her goals for this book, Patina Living. And she writes

As we've shared our journey to Patina Farm, many of our readers have shared their desire to move toward an organic, nature-centered life. Some of you just want to add more gardens to your property or figure out how to have a few chickens in your side yard, while others dream of creating your version of Patina Farm, with farmanimals and a potager to grow your own food.

We are writing this book for all of you, to share why we decided to embrace this lifestyle and whatwe have learned along the way. We will also introduce you to some of the wonderful people in our lifewho have helped us navigate the winding road of farm life. One of the important nuggets of wisdom wehave learned is that there is not just one way to live. The idea of this book is to explain what works (andhasn't worked) for us and why. By sharing our journey, we hope to demystify the homestead farmlifestyle. If we city folk can do it, SO can you!


What I love about Brooke and Steve - and what they've done here - is how authentic they are and how creative they are because they approach everything from the Giannetti angle on design and functionality. Again, it's got to work for them because this is a working farm. This is a homestead property. And so, while they want things to look beautiful, they're also pragmatists. I love that mix.

Now, granted, up here in Minnesota, I'm never going to have the type of climate that they enjoy in Ojai, California. I'm never going to be able to grow rosemary and lavender year-round outdoors in my garden. But again, there is so much of what Steve and Brooke do here that can be translated into new solutions no matter where you live. So if you're looking for best practices, I think you cannot go wrong with any book by Steve and Brooke Gianetti.

This book is 208 pages of gardens, gardens, gardens, outdoor living, all kinds of outbuildings, and spaces for animals -  and a gorgeous potager to boot - on a high-end homestead.

You can get a copy of Patina Living by Steve Giannetti and Brooke Giannetti and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $8.


Botanic Spark

1938 Birth of Charles Simic (books by this author), Serbian American poet and former co-poetry editor of the Paris Review.

He taught English and creative writing for over three decades at the University of New Hampshire.  In 1990, Charles received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2007 he was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

Charles is one of the most compelling modern poets writing today. He once wrote,

Even when I’m stretched out in my coffin, they may find me tinkering with some poem.


Here's an excerpt from his poem called In The Traffic.

What if I were to ditch my car
And walk away without a glance back?
While drivers honk their horns
As I march toward the woods,

Determined, once and for all,
To swap this breed of lunatics
For a more benign kind who dwell
In trees, long-haired and naked.

I’ll let the sun be my guide
As I roam the countryside, stopping to chat
With a flower or a butterfly,
Subsisting on edible plants, I find,

Glad to share my meal with deer,
Or find a bear licking my face
As I wake up, asking where am I?
Stuck in the traffic, Mister!


And here's his very brief poem called Watermelons:

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

The Daily Gardener
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