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1686 Birth of Antoine de Jussieu ("Ann-twan do Jyou-sue"), French naturalist, botanist, and physician.
Born in Lyon, Antoine was the son of an apothecary.
After touring Spain, Portugal, and southern France with his brother Bernard, he went to Paris and ultimately succeeded Joseph Pitton de Tournefort as director of the royal gardens.
In 1713, Antoine shared the first scientific reference to coffee with the Royal Academy of Sciences of France. He called it Jasminum arabicanum, but Carl Linneaus gave the official botanical classification forty years later in 1753.
Antoine once wrote about finding plant fossils in a quarry.
I observed on most collected stones the imprints of innumerable plant fragments which were so different from those which are growing in the Lyonnais, in the nearby provinces, and even in the rest of France, that I felt like collecting plants in a new world...
The number of these leaves, the way they separated easily, and the great variety of plants whose imprints I saw, appeared to me... as many volumes of botany... [in] the oldest library of the world.
1865 On this day, members of the John Wesley Powell expedition raided a garden on an island in the Green just above the mouth of the White River.
The expedition had just thrown out more spoiled food, and the group faced the constant fear of hunger.
In Powell of the Colorado (2015), William Culp Darrah wrote,
Fresh fruit had been mighty scarce and the temptation to steal some greens was irresistible.
The Major, Andy, and Bill Dunn filled their arms with young beets, turnips, carrots, and potatoes. The men rowed a few miles down the river and paused to enjoy the stolen fruit. Of course the season was not advanced enough to yield sizable vegetables, so Andy cooked up the whole mess as greens. It was a not-quite-unpleasant stew.
After eating their fill and disposing of the remainder, the men resumed the journey. They had not gone a mile before all hands except Bradley and Howland were violently nauseated. Bradley explained that the potato tops were so bitter he had not eaten any.
The Major said their illness was caused by a narcotic in the potato leaves, but Hall swore that it was all his fault; in their haste he had only half-cooked the stuff.
Sumner wrote in his diary, "We all learned one lesson--never to rob gardens."
1887 Birth of Marc Chagall (born Moishe Shagal)(books about this person), Russian-French artist of Belarus.
He was an early modernist and created in various formats, including paintings, drawings, stained glass, ceramics, and tapestries, among many others.
The art critic Robert Hughes called Chagall "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century."
And Pablo Picasso once said,
When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is.
It was Marc Chagall himself who once wrote,
Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers – and never succeeding.
1907 Birth of Frida Kahlo (books about this person), Mexican painter.
Frida is remembered for her portraits, self-portraits, and work inspired by Mexican nature and artifacts.
She once wrote,
I paint flowers so they will not die.
She also wrote,
I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”.
Then I’d arrange flowers, all day long.
I’d paint pain, love and tenderness.
I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
The Ultimate Flower Gardener's Guide by Jenny Rose Carey
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces.
In this book, Jenny Rose Carey is essentially teaching a master class on ornamental gardening. If you are looking for ways to add interest, color combinations that are guaranteed to work instead of clash, and how to incorporate favorite blossoms or aspects of flowers, you'll find everything you're looking for in this very inspiring and jam-packed book on all kinds of beautiful flowers.
Most flower experts teach color first. Jenny brings new dimensions into play - namely shape and texture. But Jenny's focus on texture and shape works surprisingly well - especially if you are someone who struggles with color in the garden. Shape and texture are two often overlooked floral elements, but they are equally important as color in garden design. Without shape and texture, gardens would lack that sense of excitement, mystery, and magnetism that exist in our most beloved gardens.
Jenny also does a great job of keeping today's gardener in mind. She selected the annuals and perennials that she recommends in her book based on their ease of care, appeal to pollinators, and wildlife friendliness.
This book is 364 pages of beautiful flower gardening all season long - no matter how big or small your space - giving you the confidence you need to make flowers the focus of your dream garden.
1932 Death of Kenneth Grahame, Edwardian British writer, and conservationist.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Kenneth is most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children's literature. The book celebrates nature, friendship, loyalty, and adventure among four anthropomorphizing animals: Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger.
Kenneth had a lifelong appreciation of nature and landscapes.
Throughout Kenneth's life, the beauty of nature was a balm to his many sorrows, including the death of his mom and alcoholic father. When he was five, after his mom died, Kenneth and his siblings went to live with their grandmother, who lived in an old, dilapidated house with a huge attic to explore and an entire garden to play in. The garden backed up to willows that framed the shores of the Thames river and would later serve as the inspiration for the setting of The Wind in the Willows.
During his miserable married life, Kenneth once confided in his wife that he felt a better understanding of nature and wildlife than of his own species, writing,
I like most of my friends among the animals more than I like most of my friends among mankind.
As a father, Kenneth began telling the story of The Wind in the Willows in installments at bedtime and in letters to his only son, Alastair, who Kenneth nicknamed "Mouse."
In the story, Kenneth wrote of 'the pageant of the river bank,' referring to the array of wildflowers in bloom: purple- and white-flowered comfrey, willow-herb, purple loosestrife, dog roses, and meadowsweet.
Throughout his life, Kenneth's favorite indulgence was reading books in his garden.
Sadly, Mouse's life story was tragic. He grew up battling chronic illness and blindness in one eye. He had challenging behaviors and was bullied in school. After his struggles grew worse in college, Alastair committed suicide at 19. At his funeral, Kenneth scattered lilies of the valley over his coffin.
For twelve long years, Kenneth lived out the rest of his days with his wife. Kenneth never got over the loss of his darling Mouse, and he stopped writing altogether. Aside from lengthy trips to Italy to avoid friends and family, Kenneth and his wife lived reclusively in their house along a riverbank until Kenneth's death from a stroke on this day in 1932.
At Kenneth's funeral, the church was decorated with gifts of willow branches and flowers from children across England. Kenneth was buried next to his beloved Mouse in the cemetery at St. Cross Church.
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And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.