June 1, 2022 Noah Webster, Calvin Fletcher, Henry Beston, Helen Keller, The Pig by Robin Hutson, and Mrs. Theodore Barton


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Historical Events

1785 It was on this day that Noah Webster (books about this person) (of Webster's dictionary fame) boarded a little ship named George in Baltimore.

When the ship stopped in Norfolk, Virginia, Noah ate some cherries for the very first time.

He must have liked them because he later added cherry trees to his orchard.

Noah Webster was a fierce gardener. He enjoyed his time in the garden, and he planted all kinds of vegetables, like parsnips, carrots, cucumbers, beets, and potatoes.

In fact, in his dictionary, Noah Webster defined potatoes as,

one of the cheapest and most nourishing vegetables.

And then he got a little spiritual about the potato.

Noah wrote,

In the British dominions and in the United States, the potato has proved to be one of the greatest blessings bestowed on man by the Creator.


Noah Webster was also a fan of farming. He called farming,

the most necessary, the most healthy, the most innocent, and the most agreeable employment of men.


Noah Webster had a property in Amhurst, and over the years, he gradually acquired the land around his property until he had around ten acres.

On this land. Noah built a barn. He had a chaise house, and he also planted a magnificent garden. Everyone in Amhurst knew that Noah Webster's orchard was the best in the town. Noah grew pears. He had apple trees and peach trees - and even grew sweet white grapes,


1859 From The Diary of Calvin Fletcher, American attorney who became a prominent banker, farmer, and state senator in Indianapolis, Indiana

This a beautiful day.
My early corn one foot high.
Early potatoes set for blossom.
Early tomatoes six and eight inches high.
Grapes in full blossom.
Strawberrys Ditto.
Two messes of green peas.
The grass in the yard cut one week ago.
Raspberrys nearly full grown.
Currants ditto former good size latter small.



1888 Birth of Henry Beston (books by this author), American writer and naturalist.

Last week I discovered Henry Beston when I researched his wife, the writer, and poet, Elizabeth Coatsworth (books by this author). I have to say it was a thrill getting to know both of them.

Henry is best remembered for his book The Outermost House (1928). Henry wrote the book during the year spent on the Great Beach of Cape Cod. He isolated himself in a house on the beach and devoted himself to writing about life along the shore. Henry wrote his book in longhand at a kitchen table.

During this year, when Henry was sequestered in this house, he actually met his future wife, Elizabeth, at a garden party.

Later on, when he proposed marriage to Elizabeth, She told him, "No book. No marriage". So that was an extra incentive for Henry to finish his book.

Now Henry and Elizabeth went on to have two little girls.
Their daughter, Kate Barnes (books by this author), became a respected author and poet in her own right.

Here's a little excerpt from her poem called Old Roses, which is about how her parents met.

Kate wrote,

When my father met my mother
at a dinner party in a garden of very old roses
on Beacon Hill one hot evening

in early June, he said to his friend, F. Morton
Smith, that night, "Morton, I have met
the girl I'm going to marry!"

(We have Uncle Morton's
testimony for that, the certified word
of a Boston lawyer.)

My mother
said my father had looked handsome, yes,
and talked delightfully, but what she remembered
were the mosquitoes. "If you stopped slapping at them,
even for a second, you were eaten up


Henry wrote many different books. Of course, most of them are about nature, but there was one garden book that caught my attention, and it's called Herbs and the Earth. And in this book, Henry wrote.

A garden of herbs, is a garden of things loved for themselves in their wholeness and integrity. It is not a garden of flowers, but a garden of plants which are sometimes very lovely flowers and are always more than flowers.


Isn't that a great quote about herbs?

The more I read about Henry Beston, the more it became apparent that Henry was a profound thinker and thought about gardening on a much deeper level. 

I think it's because Henry was so grounded in the tenants of nature. 

Listen to how Henry describes watering plants. This is a perspective that I have not heard before. Henry wrote.

If gardeners will forget a little the phrase, "watering the plants" and think of watering as a matter of "watering the earth" under the plants, keeping up its moisture content and gauging. its need, the garden will get on very well.


 And isn't that the truth?

Here's a delightful little quote by Henry. It's about. Fall:

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.


1968 Death of Helen Keller (books about this person), American author, disability rights advocate, and lecture. 

Helen lost both her sight and hearing when she was a little toddler at the age of 19 months.

In the years before she met her excellent teacher, she would turn to nature whenever she was frustrated.

She was like her father in that way; they both enjoyed being outdoors.

And the Keller family garden was a place where Helen could go to find solace.

Helen once wrote.

People often have no idea how fair the flour is to the touch. Nor do they appreciate its fragrance, which is the soul of the flower.


And Helen also wrote,

I feel the delightful velvety texture of a flower and discover its remarkable convolutions and something of the miracle of nature is revealed to me.

Helen's favorite flower was the peony. If you think about holding a peony and the fragrance of the peony, it's no wonder why that flower had a special appeal to Helen.

Helen once said,

Since my childhood, I have adored them and have been glad each spring. When the miracle of their bloom.has been wrought again.


In 1961, Helen Keller retired from public life, and she spent the last seven years of her life walking in her garden and reading books.

After Helen died of a heart attack on June 1st, 1968, her ashes were placed beside her dear friend and teacher, Annie Sullivan, at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Helen was once asked if she believed. In heaven. She replied,

Most certainly.
It is no more than passing from one room into another.
But there's a difference for me.
Because in the other room, I will be able to see.



Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Pig by Robin Hutson
This book came out in 2019, and the subtitle is Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond.

Tom Parker Bowles raved,

The Pig revolutionised the country house hotel, creating a true rooms home away from hame. No pomp or pretence, just beautiful and magnificent food with produce from their own kitchen gardens. Where The Pig goes, the others follow.

From the publisher:

A stylish, practical guide to living the good life.
Among the pages of The Pig, you will find an idiosyncratic, seasonal approach to the good life, with delicious recipes, how-to guides, lists, panels, and stories.

Chapters include one called Out in the Garden - The benefits of growing 12 types of mint- An essay on "the sweetness of carrots"- How to make your own sack garden- Recipe for the Gardener's sandwich


Here's how Robin introduces his restaurant, The Pig, and the journey he's been on these past dozen years.

We opened The Pig back in July 2011, although in some respects it feels like a whole lot longer ago than that.
thing's for sure - we've learnt a lot along the way in those few years. For a start, we've become experts in growing our own and making the most of what we produce. We know how to seek out small artisan producers and work with them to bring some amazing ingredients to the table. We've discovered how to keep bees and make delicious honey. A
nd we've even
perfected the art of building smokehouses - now we smoke everything in sight, from salmon and salt to beetroot and beef. Beyond the kitchen and garden, we've worked out how to infuse just about anything into gin and vodka and have become past masters at upcycling junk-shop treasures.
The purpose of this book is to share with you some of these discoveries.


If you have visions of a working kitchen garden on a grand scale, listen as Robin tells us what it takes to make it all work at The Pig.

We'd heard horrible stories of kitchen gardens at other hotels where the garden produce was left to perish in the soil because there was no shared vision between the chef and the gardener, so we knew this relationship was key. Happily, we've seen no such sorry sights in our gardens. In fact, the bond between garden and kitchen - headed up by Ollie (senior kitchen gardener) and James (chef director) is so strong, there now exists an almost obsessional culture for all things home-grown, homemade and local.

Certainly on day one of The Pig, back in the summer of 2011, we didn't envisage the garden team we have today with around 20 kitchen gardeners working across several acres of productive gardens, and our own plant nursery for seedlings. The gardens didn't just play a major part in influencing the food style and the menus but many other aspects of the overall operation, too.


And here's just a random sampling of recipe titles from the index under the letter H:

- nettle salsa verde 143
- salt-baked celeriac salad 84-5
hens 128, 174-5
herbs: garden herb oil 98-9
- growing 114-15
- winter savory $1
herbal healing 255-6
- infusions 208-11, 260
- planters for 241
- in pots 229
- see also basil; lemon verbena; mint; rosemary
herby popcorn 205
honey 130-1
- honey clotted cream 123
horseradish: cylindra beetroot &
- horseradish toasts 68-9
- making horseradish sauce 68


Here's a glimpse of one of my favorite recipes from this book, Judy's Tomatoes on Toast.

Robin writes, 

You might think you know what tomatoes on toast tastes like... but believe me, once you've tried this version you'll never have it any other way - it's one of our all-time favourites at home. The tomatoes are so juicy and buttery, and the sourdough toast has just the right combination of crispness and chewiness. Of course the big thing here is the quality of the tomatoes, which can be a bit of a challenge in the UK, especially in the winter. I love Isle of Wight tomatoes, when I can get them. They come in different varieties from some of the best growers in the UK and are fairly local to us as well, which is a bonus.

2 big knobs of salted butter, plus extra for the toast
1kg (2lb 4oz) of the ripest, sweetest, medium-sized tomatoes you can get, roughly chopped
A splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional: it's not part of Judy's version but I sometimes add some If I'm feeling a bit wild - woohoo!)
4 large slices of very holey sourdough bread
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and add the tomatoes (and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, if you like).
Cook them gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Don't boil them, just let them simmer, and then season to your taste.

Meanwhile, toast the bread to a nice dark color and spread with a little more butter.

By this time the mixture should be halfway between solid and soup, so pour it onto the toast and away you go.


This book is 304 pages of Robin Hutson's The Pig.

You can get a copy of The Pig by Robin Hutson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $8.


Botanic Spark

1917 On this day, a garden accident occurred in West Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The story was reported in the 11th volume of the Coal Age magazine.

Here's what it said.

While Mrs. Theodore Barton was pulling weeds in her garden on June 1st, the ground suddenly gave way under her, and she landed in an old abandoned mine gangway that was 18 feet below.

A mine gangway is the highway of the mind, and it's a permanent and often fortified part of the mine. It's heavily timbered on the sides and the roof.

And so this event of Mrs. Barton falling through a gangway was actually quite unusual, although I'm sure it was terribly frightening.

The article says that several neighbors heard Mrs. Barton screaming for help, and they ended up rescuing her after considerable effort.

So all's well, that ends well. But I tell you what: the garden can still be a place where dangerous things can happen.

Last fall, I had a terrible fall in my garden. I ended up face planting right into the hard ground. It was early November. And I remember lying there thinking, am I still alive? I'm not kidding. It was such an abrupt fall. I didn't even have time to brace myself.

But it underscored something that I always tell my student gardeners and gardeners in general. And that is that it's always a good idea to have your phone on you. Not only for taking pictures of all the beautiful plants and flowers that you're working with but also for your personal safety when you're in the garden. 


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

The Daily Gardener
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