May 11, 2022 Salvador Dalí, Nathaniel Lord Britton, Katharine Stewart, Margaret Visser, The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young, and Turtle Hail


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Historical Events

1904 Birth of Salvador Dalí, Spanish surrealist artist.
Educated in Madrid, Salvador was a son of Catalonia, and he never lost his love for the beauty of his homeland.
Early in his career, Salvador gravitated toward surrealism. By 1929, Salvador Dali was regarded as a leading figure in the art form. 
Like Sigmund Freud, Salvador Dalí used the landscape to metaphor the human mind. He once said about the coastline of his beloved Catalonia,

I personify the living core of this landscape.

Today, two museums are devoted to Salvador Dalí's work: the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain, and the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

And in 2020, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, presented Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind. The exhibit's centerpiece was Flordalí, a fantastically-colored series of flower lithographs from 1968. In Flordali, Salvador created imaginary surrealist enhancements to favorite blossoms. He made Dahlia unicorns, which feature a twisted horn in the middle of the bloom.  Lilium musicum has vinyl records and sheet music for petals. Pisum sensuale is a sensory plant with fingers with painted nails and voluptuous lips. Panseé (Viola cogitans) is a self-portrait with pansies for the eyes and mouth. 


1907 On this day, the American botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton was in Nantucket preparing for a lecture on plant protection. Nathaniel had brought along fifty colored lantern slides from the Van Brunt collection to use in his presentation. Nathaniel and his wife, Elizabeth, co-founded the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York. 

Nathaniel's time in Nantucket was brief - only for a day - but he wrote these observations in a letter about his trip.

[On Nantucket] The mayflower is the most abundant of spring wildflowers, carpeting the moors on the south side of the island and lending a rich, spicy fragrance to the ocean breezes that sweep over these exposed tracts. It is in less danger from picking than from the surface fires, which are common occurrences in spring.

The later blooming wildflowers suffer more or less at the hands of summer tourists, but I was glad to observe that the residents of Nantucket as a whole are keenly alive to the importance of preserving the natural beauties of the island and carefully guard the localities for many rare plants, especially the Scotch heather and the two European heaths (Erica cinerea and E. tetralix)
which occur there.


1923 On this day, a schoolyard garden reported outside of Lochness gave the following update,

As sheep are constantly breaking into the garden work has been stopped till the walls are rendered sheep-proof.


This little entry was discovered by the modern-day owner of the property Katharine Stewart, and she shared it in her delightful month by month garden book called A Garden in the Hills (2006). 

Katharine reflected on the journal entry regarding the sheep and wrote,

I know exactly what he meant. More than sixty years later, the sheep, the more agile variety, are
still sometimes managing to leap over the wall, where the superimposed netting has given way. That can mean goodbye to all the summer lettuce and the winter greens, not to mention the precious flowering plants and all the work that went into producing them.


The little school in the Scottish highlands closed in 1958. A few years later, Katharine and her husband, Sam, bought the property known as the croft at Abriachan near Loch Ness. There, Katharine began her writing. Reflecting on her first days in the garden at the croft, Katharine wrote,

When we arrived, wild raspberries, willowherb, and sweet cicely had largely taken over. To bees and butterflies and to many kinds of birds, this was paradise! For us, it held all the thrill of uncharted territory. Every day a fresh discovery was made. Even now, I come on surprises each summer.

Digging [has] revealed many other interesting things-worn-out toys, pieces of pottery, a pile of school slates from a dump against the top wall, evidently discarded when jotters came in-and, most interesting of all, several 'scrapers' dating from prehistoric times.

Meanwhile, I often imagine my predecessors here looking on the same outline of hills, the same scoop of the burn in the hollow, listening to the same sounds of lark and owl, the bark of deer, and many more long gone-the howl of wolf, maybe the growl of bear. The heather would have been their late summer delight, making drinks of tea or ale, thatching for their roofs, and kindling for their fires.

Sometimes envy them the simplicity of their lives, though the hardships must have been great. They didn't have a Christmas to celebrate, but they knew all about the winter solstice, and they must have been happy to see the bright berries on the holly, as we do today.


Late in life, Katharine Stewart went on to become a teacher and then her town's postmistress. She died in 2013 and is survived by her daughter, Hilda.


1940 Birth of Margaret Visser, South African-born writer, and broadcaster who lives in Toronto, Paris, and southwest France.

Margaret writes about history and anthropology and the mythology of everyday life.

She once wrote,

Salt is the only rock directly consumed by man.
It corrodes but preserves, desiccates but is wrested from the water.
It has fascinated man for thousands of years not only as a substance he prized and was willing to labour to obtain but also as a generator of poetic and of mythic meaning.
The contradictions it embodies only intensify its power and its links with experience of the sacred.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young

This book came out in 2018, and the British food writer and author Bee Wilson gushed,

What a joy this is for hungry readers everywhere: stylish, fun, and clever. If there is comfort food, there is also comfort reading, and The Little Library Cookbook is it.

The publisher writes,

Would you like to taste Paddington Bear’s marmalade? Or a clam chowder from Moby Dick?

You'll learn how to prepare the afternoon tea served at Manderley and decadent tarts the Queen of Hearts would love—all while reading food-related excerpts from your favorite books.

Kate Young was inspired to write this book based on her amazing food blog called The Little Library Café. In The Little Library Cookbook, Kate offers over 100 recipes inspired by beloved works of fiction. There are dishes from classics and contemporary bestsellers with stories for people of any age.

Among many others, you will find Turkish delight from Narnia, Mint Juleps from The Great Gatsby, Bread and Butter Pudding from Atonement, Curried Chicken from Sherlock Holmes,  Pancakes from Pippi Longstocking, Coconut Shortbread by Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent,  Black Ice Cream from The Hundred and One Dalmations, Cinnamon Rolls from Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, Spaghetti and Meatballs from The Godfather, Apple Pie from The Railway Children, and Honey Rosemary Tea Cakes inspired by Winnie the Pooh.

This book is 320 pages of food in fiction brought to life by the sweet, funny, and intrepid blogger, cook, caterer, and writer Kate Young.

You can get a copy of The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $15.


Botanic Spark

1894 On this day, Bovina ("Bo-VYE-na"), Mississippi, reported a case of turtle hail. Newspapers said that during a severe hailstorm, a six-inch-by-eight-inch gopher turtle fell to the ground, completely encased in ice, at Bovina, located about seven miles east of Vicksburg in western Mississippi. 


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