July 12, 2022 Horace Walpole, Henry David Thoreau, Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Buckminster Fuller, The Manual of Plant Grafting by Peter MacDonald, and Hugh Johnson


Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart


Support The Daily Gardener

Buy Me A Coffee 


Connect for FREE!

The Friday Newsletter Daily Gardener Community


Historical Events

1757 On this day, Horace Walpole wrote a letter to his friend John Chute Esquire about the heat wave coursing through Europe.

July of 1757 set many records for heat. At the time, it was the hottest month ever recorded in Paris history and for the country of England. The English physician John Huxham, a provincial doctor remembered for his study of fevers, noted that the heat caused many health issues for people.

Horace's letter from his home at Strawberry Hill ended with these words,

I say nothing of the heat of this magnificent weather, with the glass yesterday up to three quarters of sultry. In all English probability this will not be a hinderance long; though at present... I have made the tour of my own garden but once these three days before eight at night, and then I thought I should have died of it.

For how many years we shall have to talk of the summer of fifty-seven!


1817 Birth of Henry David Thoreau, American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher.

National Simplicity Day is observed on July 12th in his honor.

Thoreau advocated for living a life of simplicity, and he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection on simple living in natural surroundings. 

A leading Transcendentalist, his essay, Civil Disobedience, was an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau said all of these things:

The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

God made ferns to show what he could do with leaves

There are moments when all anxiety and toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.

I know because I read...Your mind is not a cage.
It's a garden. And it requires cultivating.

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.

We can make liquor to sweeten our lips
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips.

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.


1895 Birth of Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist, librettist, theatrical producer, and director in the musical theater.

Oscar Hammerstein II was born into a show business family who lived in New York. His father and uncle, Willie and Arthur Hammerstein were successful theater managers, and his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein I, was a famous opera impresario.

Oscar's career spanned almost four decades, during which time he won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song.

For Carousel, Oscar famously wrote his most famous lyric,

June is bustin' out all over.


The last song Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote together before his death in August of 1960 was Edelweiss, Captain von Trapp's poignant farewell to his beloved homeland. Oscar used the flower to symbolize Captain von Trapp's loyalty to Austria. 

Nine months after The Sound of Music opened on Broadway, Oscar Hammerstein II died from stomach cancer.


1895 Birth of Richard Buckminster Fuller, American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.

Richard styled his name R. Buckminster Fuller for his writing. He wrote over thirty books and coined or popularized terms such as "Spaceship Earth," "ephemeralization," and "synergetics." In 1960, he also popularized the geodesic dome, and he installed one called the "Climatron" in the Missouri Botanical Garden. Richard predicted it would last for a while but was not a permanent structure.

Today, some sixty years after its debut, the Climatron is still standing and is home to nearly 3,000 plants covering almost 200 different plant species, including one that produces the largest tree-born fruit in the world: the Jackfruit. The Climatron also hosts at least three varieties of coffee plants. And every January, the Climatron closes for tree trimming of the tallest trees as they reach the edges of the geodesic dome. Trimming allows the trees to continue actively growing and lets sunlight filter in to reach ground-level plants.

The word Climatron is a blend of the Greek words for climate and machine. The magnificent dome was also the world's first fully air-conditioned greenhouse. The Climatron ranges from 64°F at night to a high of 85°F — the perfect temperature range for keeping the rainforest plants happy and healthy.

Richard wrote,

Nature does have manure and she does have roots as well as blossoms, and you can’t hate the manure and blame the roots for not being blossoms.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly!!!


He also wrote,

Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us.
We are not the only experiment.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Manual of Plant Grafting by Peter MacDonald
This book came out in 2014, and the subtitle is Practical Techniques for Ornamentals, Vegetables, and Fruit.

This is such a handy book to keep in your garden tote or potting bench. As Peter points out, grafting is simply the process of uniting one plant with another so that they become a
single plant. If you have been gardening for a while, it's only natural to grow more curious about grafting as you grow your garden. 

Peter's book is an excellent grafting resource, and he's quick to remind us that,

There is no single correct way to graft a plant. There are, however, different ways of successfully grafting. These are not necessarily preferred or better-just different. Therefore, it is not possible to provide one technique for the grafting of each species, there are simply too many options available.

Peter wrote,

One of the main aims of this book is to discuss in detail the principle techniques being used by growers. I have been fortunate to go on study tours to the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia. ...For the majority of the information on practical grafting, however, I have had the assistance of many propagators working on nurseries in England that specialize in grafting. Their location in England should be borne in mind when considering the timings and specific details of the grafting techniques, especially the aftercare.

The other principle source of information...has been the journal of The Combined Proceedings of the International Plant Propagators' Society. Any professional horticulturist involved in producing plants should be a member of this society. The journal goes back over
50 years and holds a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of propagating and growing plants. More importantly, with the motto "Seek and Share,' its members freely exchange knowledge, making it a very friendly and supportive society with which to get involved.

If you are new to grafting, I hope this book will give you the confidence to have a go. If you already graft, I hope you will find a few pointers to help you improve your success rate or quality of final plant. If you just have an interest in gardening, - hope you will be inspired to find out more about some of the characters who have contributed to the development of grafting over the years.

Chapters in Peter's book include one on the History of Grafting. 

Here's an example of Peter's straightforward tone. He wrote,

BETWEEN THREE AND FIVE THOUSAND years ago, a farmer took a shoot (or scion) from a plant and attached it to another plant (or rootstock) growing nearby in such a way that they formed a union and the shoot began to grow. The first graft had been successfully carried out.

To achieve this, however, the two plants had to be related closely enough to be compatible and form at least a temporary union. A cut would need to have been made on both plants and put together so that vascular cambium cells were close enough to form a connection across the callus bridge. The callus bridge would only form if the two plants were held together and prevented from drying out. The vascular cambium would only form if the tie were tight enough to apply some pressure to the cuts. Finally, the entire pro- cess would only be successful if done at the right time of year when cells were actively dividing in the rootstock and the scion buds were dormant.

How many times might this have been tried before a successful union was achieved?
How often would someone persevere in trying to achieve a union if the first attempt was unsuccessful?


Other chapters focus on the Uses of Grafting, Formation of Graft Union, Production of Rootstock and Scion Material, and Bench Grafting. The chapter on bench grafting is divided into cold and hot callus grafting, which is used depending on the time of year and whether artificial heat is applied to the graft. 

Peter also has a chapter on Field Grafting, which is the other primary method of grafting used by growers. Peter also covers Vegetable Grafting - something that may appeal if you are interested in grafting tomatoes and other vegetable salad crops. Vegetable grafting is something that the Japanese have popularized.

And Peter also talks about another specialty area in a chapter on Grafting Cactus.

After forecasting the Future of Grafting, Peter shares some other helpful resources, including three charts of woody plants, both ornamental and fruit, that can be grafted. Other charts suggest grafting options for various plants and suitable rootstocks.

This book is 232 pages on how to grow your grafting skills to improve the performance of your ornamental and productive plants - what a great skill to have!

You can get a copy of The Manual of Plant Grafting by Peter MacDonald and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $ 18.


Botanic Spark

2012 On this day, Hugh Johnson, author of Trees, The Principles of Gardening, and many writings on wine, wrote in Trad's Diary, which started as an editorial column of the RHS Journal:

‘You garden with a light touch’ said a knowing visitor the other day – appreciatively, I hope. Could she have been referring to the complementary campanulas ("kam·pan·you·luhs"), the aleatory alliums, the volunteer violas and random ranunculus that meet your eye wherever you turn?

‘You leave things in; so much nicer than taking them out.’

I do take them out. I’ve been barrowing opium poppies to the compost for weeks now. The idea is to let them show a first flower or two, decide whether it is a good colour or not, is fully frilly or otherwise desirable, and pull up the ones that have no special quality, in the hope of improving the stock. After years of doing this I admit we aren’t getting very far, but I enjoy the process.

The thing to remember is what comes out easily, like the poppies, and what leaves roots in the ground. You can enjoy an allium, even into its seed head phase, and still get rid of it. Not so an invasive campanula. And violas are the devil to do away with.

It’s lucky I enjoy weeding so much.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

The Daily Gardener
Friday Newsletter

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Featured Book

Grow That Garden Library™ Seal of Approval 100x100 (1)

Leave a Comment