June 7, 2022 Paul Gauguin, White Mustard, Ivan Michurin, Jane Green, The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker by Susan Wittig Albert, and Louise Erdich


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Historical Events

1848 Birth of Paul Gauguin (books about this person), one of the leading French painters of the Postimpression-
ist period.

Born in Paris, Paul Gauguin was a self-taught painter. He was also a rugged individualist, and his incredible talent helped introduce Primitivism to the art world. His best primitive work was created on his 1895 trip to Tahiti - a place he would spend the rest of his life. Flora and fauna of the landscape feature prominently in most of his Tahitian art.

Paul was obsessed with art, and he once wrote,

Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.


After Van Gogh rented a yellow house in Arles, he invited Gauguin to visit. In preparation for his stay, Van Gogh painted 'Poet's Garden' in the bedroom Gauguin was to stay in. The painting depicts the public garden across from the Yellow House. 

Van Gogh filled the rest of the house with paintings of sunflowers.

When Gauguin arrived, he painted his friend, Van Gogh, painting sunflowers. 

For nine weeks, the two men painted, and when they weren't painting, they fought. In fact, during one of their final arguments, Gauguin was supposedly sliced off Van Gogh's ear with a sword.

Paul was more diverse in terms of his subjects. He didn't exclusively paint florals.

Once when he was in a creative lull, he wrote,

When I am able to paint again, if I have no imagination, I shall do some studies of flowers . . . . It is a great pleasure for me.


1878 On this day, Fisk Bangs wrote about his blooming White Mustard in the American Bee Journal Volume 14.

It began to bloom about June 7th and lasted nearly eight months.

The bees commenced work on the 11th.

On the 19th, the bees were so thick that their hum sounded something like Prof. Cook's buzz-saw, lacking the screech.

This is one of the best honey plants, and I think its bloom call be easily regulated... to have it come after Basswood.


1935 Death of Ivan Michurin (books about this person), Russian botanist and plant breeder.

A Russian horticulturist and a Master of selection, Ivan was an Honorable Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
Throughout his life, Ivan created all sorts of fruit plants. He introduced over 300 new varieties and was often called the Russian Luther Burbank. 

Ivan started out working on the railroad. His job riding the rails allowed him to visit many famous gardens and nurseries across Russia.

His informal nursery tour inspired Ivan to start a fruit tree nursery in 1888.

Ivan was maniacally focused on improving fruit, and by doing so, he selected the best examples and used them to improve the next generation. And although Russian would not support his work, they made sure that Ivan could never leave the country. The last thing Russia wanted was for Ivan to bring his work to the United States, where many scientists recognized the value of Ivan's work early on.

Although the 1917 October Revolution hurt many land owners and farmers forced to give up their land to Mother Russia, Lenin liked Ivan. With Nikolai Vavilov's encouragement, Ivan's work was protected as intellectual property of the Russian government.

Today, Ivan's most famous creation is the Antonovka or 'The People's Apple.'

It was Ivan Michurin who said,

We cannot wait for gifts from Nature. To take them from her – that is our task. (Translation my own.)


2013 On this day, Jane Green planted zucchini in her garden.

Then, she wrote about her zucchini in a lovely little article called Conquering the Zucchini Beast. 

Here's an excerpt:

Something's always happening in a garden

Upon entering the garden {on the morning of the 4th of July], [my dog] Tootie and I found that our four zucchini plants were in full bloom, and lo and behold, one plant had already popped out a nice-sized fruit. What a stupendous treat! And to think that had planted my garden on the 7th of June, and that I already had a zucchini fruit to enjoy on the 4th of July. What a cause for a celebration! Of course, 1 did cheat just a teensy little bit because I planted zucchini plants and not zucchini seeds this year. But, hey, it was still an awesome experience for me.

With the glorious discovery of a zucchini fruit just waiting to be harvested, my saliva juices kicked into full capacity mode and my brain cells started conjuring up all sorts of yummy zucchini dishes to prepare. For instance: making zucchini bread or zucchini relish or zucchini cake or zucchini brownies or preparing a wonderful zucchini hot dish! Yum! I call this zucchini mania time because there are so many foods you can make with zucchini that you don't know which one to make first.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker by Susan Wittig Albert

This book is a brand new release today, June 7th, 2022, and this is a fiction book.

Here's what the publisher wrote about Susan's book:

It’s Labor Day weekend, 1935, and members of the Darling Dahlias―the garden club in little Darling, Alabama―are trying to keep their cool at the end of a sizzling summer. This isn’t easy, though, since there’s a firebug on the loose in Darling. He―or she!―strikes without apparent rhyme or reason, and things have gotten to the point where nobody feels safe. What’s more, a dangerous hurricane is poised to hurl itself in Darling’s direction, while a hurricane of a different sort is making a whirlwind campaign stop: the much-loved-much-hated senator from Louisiana, Huey P. Long, whom President Roosevelt calls the “most dangerous man in America.” Add Ophelia Snow’s secret heartthrob, Liz Lacy’s Yankee lover, and the Magnolia Ladies’ garden of red hot pokers, fire-red salvia, and hot pink cosmos, and you have a volatile mix that might just burst into flames at any moment.

Author Susan Wittig Albert has brought us another delightful assortment of richly human characters who face the challenges of the Great Depression with courage and grace. Her books remind us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and even when life seems too hot to handle, there’s always hope.

This book is 280 pages of some fun Southern garden fiction, And it's the perfect book to read after a long day in the garden.

P.S. I have to point out that one of my favorite books is by Susan, and it's called the China Bayles' Book of Days because it's a day-by-day book and has tons of garden information in it. My copy is positively dogeared, almost every single page. So, Susan, I'm a huge fan.

You can get a copy of The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker by Susan Wittig Albert and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $18.


Botanic Spark

1954 Birth of Louise Erdich (books about this person), American author and gardener.

A Minnesota-born native American, Louise has written many wonderful books that generally include a snippet or two about the garden. 

From The Beet Queen:

I love plants. For the longest time I thought that they died without pain. But of course after I had argued with Mary she showed me clippings on how plants went into shock when pulled up by their roots, and even uttered something indescribable, like panic, a drawn-out vowel only registered on special instruments. Still, I love their habit of constant return. I don't like cut flowers. Only the ones that grow in the ground.

From Makoons:

The family took all the seeds from the garden and then they buried Nokomis there, deeply, wrapped in her blanket with gifts and tobacco for the spirit world. They buried her simply. There was no stone, no grave house, nothing to mark where she lay except the exuberant and drying growth of her garden.
Nokomis had said:
I do not need a marker of my passage, for my creator knows where I am. I do not want anyone to cry. I lived a good life, my hair turned to snow, I saw my great-grandchildren, I grew my garden. That is all.


From The Blue Jay's Dance:

Full of the usual blights, mistakes, ruinous beetles and parasites, glorious for one week, bedraggled the next, my actual garden is always a mixed bag. As usual, it will fall far short of the imagined perfection. It is a chore. Hard work. I'll by turns aggressively weed and ignore it. The ground I tend sustains me in early summer, but the garden of the spirit is the place I go when the wind howls. This lush and fragrant expectation has a longer growing season than the plot of earth I'll hoe for the rest of the year. Raised in the mind's eye, nurtured by the faithful composting of orange rinds and tea leaves and ideas, it is finally the wintergarden that produces the true flowering, the saving vision.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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