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1725 Birth of John Hope, botanist, professor, and founder of the Royal Garden in Edinburgh.
John produced considerable work on plant classification and physiology. He was appointed the King's botanist for Scotland and superintendent of the Royal Garden in Edinburgh.
At the time, Edinburgh was the place to study medicine, and all medical students had to take botany courses. John created a school for botanists after spinning off the school's materia medica (pharmacy) department, which allowed him to specialize exclusively in botany. John was a captivating instructor. He was one of the first two people to teach the Linnean system. He also taught the natural system.
John was one of the first professors to use big teaching diagrams or visual aids to teach his lectures. John led over 1,700 students during his tenure. His students traveled from all over Europe, America, and India. John Hope Alumni include the likes of James Edward Smith, founder and first President of the Linnaean Society, Charles Drayton, and Benjamin Rush.
A field botanist, John encouraged his students to go out and investigate the Flora of Scotland. He awarded a medal every year to the student who collected the best herbarium.
1818 Birth of Arthur Cleveland Coxe, American theologian and composer.
Arthur served as the second Episcopal bishop of Western New York. He once wrote,
Flowers are words, which even a baby can understand.
1891 Death of Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli, Swiss botanist.
Although he studied cell division and pollination, Carl's claim to fame is being the guy who discouraged Gregor Mendel from pursuing his work on genetics.
Gregor regarded Carl as a botanical expert and his professional hero. When Gregor sent Carl an overview of his work with pea plants in a letter, Carl dismissed the results out of hand, labeling them "only empirical, and impossible to prove rationally."
Carl poo-pooed natural selection. Instead, he believed in orthogenesis, a now-defunct theory that living organisms have an internal driving force - a desire to perfect themselves- and evolve toward this goal.
Over a seven-year period in the mid-1800s, Gregor Mendel grew nearly 30,000 pea plants - taking note of their height and shape and color - in his garden at the Augustinian monastery he lived in at Brno (pronounced "burr-no") in the Czech Republic. His work resulted in what we now know as the Laws of Heredity. Gregor came up with the genetic terms and terminology that we still use today, like dominant and recessive genes.
Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli's dismissal prompted Gregor to give up his work with genetics. After his promotion to the abbot of the monastery, Gregor focused on his general duties and teaching. In 1884, Gregor died without ever knowing the impact his work would have on modern science.
Fifteen years later, in 1899, a friend sent the Dutch botanist Hugo de Vries a copy of Gregor’s work - calling it a paper on hybridization - not heredity. At the same time, Gregor’s paper was uncovered by a student of Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli's - a man named Carl E. F. J. Correns.
Hugo de Vries rushed to publish his first paper on genetics without mentioning Gregor Mendel. But he did have the nerve to use some of Gregor’s data and terminology in his paper. Carl Correns threatened to expose De Vries, who then quickly drafted a new version of his paper, which gave proper credit to Gregor Mendel.
Through his work with the humble pea plant, Gregor came up with many of the genetic terms still used today, like dominant and recessive genes.
1907 It was on this day that Francis Younghusband, British Army officer, explorer, and spiritual writer, documented the progression of spring in the Residency Garden in Kashmir. Francis shared his observations in a book called Kashmir (1909).
The Residency Garden was an English country house that was built specifically for guests by the Maharajah, and so naturally, Francis loved staying there.
Here's what Francis wrote in May of 1907 about the Residency Garden, which was just coming into full flower. Francis observed,
By May 1st ...The May trees were in full blossom. The bank on the south side of the garden was a mass of dark purple and white irises, and [the] evening [sun] caused each flower to [become] a blaze of glory. Stock was in full bloom. Pansies were out in masses. Both the English and Kashmir lilacs were in blossom, and the columbines were in perfection.
The first horse chestnuts came into blossom on May 10th, and on that date, the single pink rose, sinica anemone, on the trellis at the end of the garden, was in full bloom and of wondrous beauty; a summer-house covered with Fortune's yellow was a dream of golden loveliness;
I picked the first bloom of some English roses that a kind friend had sent out... and we had our first plateful of strawberries.
A light mauve iris, a native of Kashmir, [is now in] bloom; ...and some lovely varieties of Shirley poppy... from Mr. Luther Burbank, the famous plant-breeder of California, began to blossom; and roses of every variety came [on] rapidly till the garden became a blaze of color.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
This book came out in September of 2021.
Now, if you're a cookbook lover, you know that Mina's debut cookbook called Cooking For Artists was a smash hit. It was also self-published. And in fact, right now, if you go on Amazon and you try to get a copy of that first cookbook, you'll pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $150.
To me, Mina's story is fascinating. She actually went to school to be a designer, and then, on the side, she started cooking for families. And then she started cooking for special events. And then eventually, she started cooking for a gallery, and that's where she started cooking for artists. Thus, the name of her first book.
The story behind the second book, Lemon Love and Olive Oil, stems from the fact that whenever people would ask MIna for ingredients to make something taste great, her answer was always lemon juice, olive oil, and a little bit of salt. So, those are her go-to ingredients. Mina contends that you can make anything taste good with a little bit of her favorite three ingredients: lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. So that became the name for the cookbook, except salt was replaced with love.
When this cookbook was released, it met with rave reviews. In fact, the New York times rated it a best cookbook of the year, writing,
Author of the cult-favorite Cooking for Artists, Mina Stone, returns with a collection of 80 new recipes inspired by her traditional Greek heritage and her years cooking for some of New York’s most innovative artists.
I've watched a couple of interviews with Mina, and one thing she says over and over again was that when she was creating this cookbook is, she was constantly thinking about the love aspect of these recipes. By that, Mina was focusing on the comfort level and the coziness factor of the food. So that's what she was trying to capture with these 80 recipes. I found that so poignant, especially in light of the fact that she was putting this together during the pandemic while she's in lockdown in 2020.
Mina is not the kind of person that comes up with a cookbook and then has to go out and create a bunch of recipes. That's not how Mina works. Instead, Mina pays attention to the recipes that she starts making again and again. So these are recipes that have staying power. They are the recipes that pass the Mina Test, and they rise to the top of her favorites because they are just naturally so good.
Also, if you are a lover of reading cookbooks, you are going to really enjoy Mina's book. Before each section, there are essays from Mina that share stories about her family - and her grandmother who is kind of the original Greek cook in Mina's life.
Mina has great insight, not only on these recipes and ingredients but also from her sheer personal experience. I couldn't help, but think as I was reading this cookbook, that Mina could write a memoir because her stories are so intriguing.
In addition to the essays for each section of the book, every recipe gets a little personal introduction as well.
For an excerpt, I selected a few little snippets from a section that Mina calls My Kitchen. This is a chapter about the key ingredients that Mina uses on repeat. She writes,
I've always found pantry lists in cookbooks to be intimidating. Asa self-trained home cook, I never sought out hard-to-find ingredi-ents it never crossed my mind as an option. The ingredients inmy recipes and the food found in my pantry reflect my surroundings touched with a dose of Greekness. (It can't be helped.)
Here are some thoughts on how I approach cooking in mykitchen, what I like to keep in my cupboards, what I run out tothe store for, and some clarification on how I wrote the recipes.
Sea salt is more salty and kosher salt is less salty.
Because kosher salt is less salty it gives you more control over the seasoning. For example, it is great for seasoning meat because you can use more and achieve a lovely salt crust as well as the
right amount of seasoning without oversalting. It is the salt up using the most.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
I like to use olive oil sparingly during cooking (this makes thedish lighter) and add the bulk of it at the end, once cooking is completed. use much more olive oil in the recipes than people are accustomed to using. suggest adding more than you would think when you're cooking from this book.
That's a great little tidbit, especially if you're using olive oil for cooking with your garden harvest. There is so much that comes out of our garden that goes into the pan with a ton of olive oil. But now, maybe you can dial that back a little bit with this tip from Mina.
They add floral buoyancy but above all a fresh form of acid that I usually prefer tovinegar. When using lemons for zest, try to always use organic ones.
I've never thought about lemons that way, but I love how she describes that floral buoyancy. And, you know, she's exactly right. Personally, I also think that there's something just a little less harsh about lemon juice as compared to vinegar. So if you have a sensitive tummy, consider incorporating lemon juice instead of vinegar.
Green Herbs: Parsley, Mint, Cilantro, and Basil
I like fresh herbs in abundance and can often find a place to incorporate them with relative ease. In the recipes, herbs are usually measured by the handful: 1 handful equals about 1/4 cup. It doesn't need to be exact, but that is a good place to start if you need it.
This advice is helpful as well because if you're planning your kitchen garden, you need to think about how many plants you need to plant so that you can have an abundant harvest.
Just to give you an idea of how much Basil I use in the summertime, I usually end up buying about four to five flats of Basil.
Oregano is my number one dried herb. Greek oregano has a pronounced savory and earthy flavor to it, and it is my preference to use in more traditional Greek dishes. Better-quality dried oregano, which is milder in flavor, is great to use as a general seasoning for salad, fish, and meats.
This book is 272 pages of more than eighty Mediterranean-style dishes and the stories that inspired them. These recipes are uncomplicated, and they're Mina's go-to recipes. And, of course, they can always be enhanced with lemon, olive oil, and salt.
2017 Death of Polly Park, American-Australian amateur gardener, speaker, and writer.
Remembered as the designer of Boxford, a Canberra garden, Polly and her husband Peter created classic garden styles using their own creativity and gumption.
On their half-acre suburban property, Boxford attracted visitors from across the world and featured six unique gardens: a modern garden inspired by Roberto Burle Marx, an English knot garden, a parterre garden with an Italien statue from Florence, a Chinese garden inspired by the Suzhou ("sue-joe") garden, an Indian garden, and a Japanese garden.
Polly and Peter made a great garden team. Polly came up with the design ideas, and Peter was the muscle. Polly created the stone courtyard for the Indian garden and a mosaic inspired by the great 20th-century Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer ("Nee-myer") for the modern garden. Peter built the pond and meditation house for the Japanese garden.
In 1988, Polly wrote a biography of their gardens in the book The World in My Garden.
Although Boxford was identified as a National heritage site - after Peter and Polly sold the property in 2006 - the garden was destroyed.
In 2011, Peter died. Polly followed him home six years later on this day at the age of 96.
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And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.