July 7, 2022 Henry Compton, Miroslav Krleža, Herbert Rappaport, Manny Steward, The Gardener’s Palette by Jo Thompson, and Robert Heinlein


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Historical Events

1713 Death of Henry Compton, Bishop of London from 1675 to 1713.

Although Henry played an important role in English political and religious circles, his main passion was plants — especially scarce and exotic plants. It was said that Henry relished staying on the fringes of Charles II's court because it gave him more time to devote to his plants and gardens. One of his closest friends was one of the earliest English parson-naturalists, John Ray, who published the first account of North American flora in his Historia Plantarum (1688).

Since Henry's role overseeing the Church extended to the American Colonies, Henry was able to get his hands on all the new plant discoveries from the new world. Henry even personally sent a man named John Banister to collect plants for him in Virginia. John is most remembered for sending Henry the Magnolia virginiana and Dodecatheon meadia (Eastern shooting star). Tragically, John died at 38 after falling from a cliff while exploring the area above James River. 

Between his involvement with the top plant explorers and nurseries of his day and his special relationship with the Tradescant family, Henry was able to fully stock his garden at Fulham Palace. This Tudor country house was home to England's clergy for over a millennium. When he was alive, Henry's garden was reputed to have a greater variety of plants than any other garden in England. It featured over 1,000 exotic plants and tropicals, making it one of his time's most popular, envied, and essential gardens. Henry's kitchen garden always grew a great crop of his favorite vegetable: kidney beans. In 1686, even William Penn's Pennsylvania gardener was keen to swap seeds and plants with Henry Compton.

History records that Henry felt guilt about the amount of church money he had invested in plants. His collection of trees was also particularly exciting. Henry grew the first Liriodendron tulipifera (the tulip tree), Liquidambar (American Sweetgum) used as a veneer or satinwood in furniture, Acacia, Mahogany, and Maple trees in England. The garden designer Capability Brown found a special inspiration after touring Fulham, and it was there that he first saw the cluster-pin, the ash-maple, the cork oak, the black Virginian walnut, and the honey locust. Henry also grew the first American azalea grown in England, Rhododendron viscosum. Henry even managed to grow the first coffee tree in England with the help of his heated "stove.".

In 1698, the Governor of Virginia personally sent Henry a Magnolia virginiana for "his paradise at Fulham." Three hundred years after Henry planted the first Magnolia virginiana grown in Europe at St. Anne's Church, a new tree was planted in the exact same spot to honor the botanical work of Bishop Henry Compton. The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard propagated the Magnolia sapling, and it was hand-delivered by Vi Lort Phillips, a member of the International Dendrology Society. The tree was planted on the 19th of May in 1992 and is already forty years old this year (2022). 

St. Anne's Church was special to Henry. He consecrated the grounds in honor of Queen Anne because he had tutored both Princesses Mary and Anne when they were young.


1893 Birth of Miroslav Krleža, Yugoslav and Croatian writer, poet, and cultural influencer.

Miroslav's nickname was Fritz, and he is often credited as the greatest Croatian writer of the 20th century. Miroslav believed that Serbs and Croats were one people suffering from two national consciences, which inevitably pitted them against each other.

Today three hours west of his hometown of Zagreb, a celebrated statue of Miroslav stands in Opatija above the city's famous Slatina Beach.

During WWI, Miroslav wrote in his diary at the Croatian Botanical Garden in Zagreb. The relaxing gardens edge the city railroad tracks before blending into the native grass and forestlands that feather the countryside. Although Miroslav found the garden suitable for writing, he dismissed its beauty and criticized it as a "boring second-rate cemetery." 

Miroslav served in the same regiment as Yugoslavian communist dictator Tito during the war, but the two men didn't become lifelong friends until 1937. Tito protected Krleža from pressures in his party. Tito once told him,

I know you're an old liberal and that you disagree with me on many things, but I wouldn't want to lose you.


In 1938, Miroslav wrote On the Edge of Reason - an instant classic about human nature, hypocrisy, conformism, and stupidity.

Miroslav once wrote,

There is no justice even among flowers.


1908 Birth of Herbert Rappaport, Austrian-Soviet screenwriter, and film director.

Born in Vienna, Herbert first studied law before finding work in the movie business. In 1936, he was invited to help internationalize Soviet Cinema, and he spent the next four decades working as a filmmaker in Russia.

Herbert once wrote,

I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some.


1944 Birth of Manny Steward, American boxer, trainer, and commentator for HBO Boxing.

He was known as The Godfather of Detroit Boxing and trained 41 world champion fighters during his long career, including Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, and Wladimir Klitschko.

He once wrote,

My favorite hobby is being alone. I like to be alone. I also like dancing, fishing, playing poker sometimes and vegetable gardening – corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, I have a big garden every year.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Gardener's Palette by Jo Thompson
This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is Creating Colour Harmony in the garden.

Jo Thompson is one of Britain's leading garden designers, and this is her second book, which was written in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society.

Well, the title of this book says it all - palettes - masterfully proven gorgeous color combinations for your garden.

I've found that the most challenging job about palettes is not picking them but sticking to them. And it's usually when we get into times of color droughts in our garden or hit an excellent garden sale that we break with our palette, and then the garden can slowly devolve into something a little wild and wooly. 

That said, if you feel you're ready to make a change and take a more disciplined approach to what you plant in your flower garden, then Jo's book will be a fantastic resource. Jo is a color master - a purveyor of color palettes. She serves up 100 palette options and then identifies the plants you should be scouting to make your palette a reality. The photos in this book are incredibly inspiring and beautifully illustrate why the colors work so well together in a garden.

Garden's Illustrated recently shared Jo's top five favorite color combos. Her picks included the following:

Tutti Fruitti is bright magentas, and fizzing oranges delight as they catch the eye.

Sherberts offers mouthwatering sherbet colors work softly with each other to create a feel that at the same time both look backward and forwards, bringing with their soft tones both familiarity and excitement.

Wine, peach, and coral is a combination of colors that work together and create surprising harmony due to the surprising tones that they share deep within their petals.

Pink is a garden classic. This shade resonates in the memory. Soft and pretty, elegant, a color that stops us in our tracks.

Green & White: Green and white is the freshness of morning light, the elegance of midday light, and the serenity of the light in the evening. A gentle palette that is timeless in its appeal.


This book is 388-pages of 100 different palette options for your garden, along with beautifully inspiring images, plant selections, and Jo's personal design preferences and tips.

You can get a copy of The Gardener's Palette by Jo Thompson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $40.


Botanic Spark

1907 Birth of Robert Heinlein, American science-fiction writer.

Robert is remembered for his classic book, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961).

Robert wrote many wonderful euphemisms, like this humorous quote,

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.


But Robert also appreciated the power and beauty of nature.

In Time Enough for Love (1979), Robert wrote,

Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. But flowers work almost as well.


In The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1988), Robert wrote,

“Butterflies are not insects," Captain John Sterling said soberly. "They are self-propelled flowers."


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

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