July 26, 2022 Elizabeth Drinker, George Bernard Shaw, Antonio Machado, Helen Mirren, The Garden Source by Andrea Jones, and Chamomile


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Historical Events

1793 On this day, Elizabeth Drinker, a Quaker woman of late 18th century North America, wrote in her diary.

Elizabeth kept a diary from 1758 to 1807. Elizabeth shared her daily life in Philadelphia and in this passage she shows the timelessness of the experience of chatting in a garden with a fellow gardener... until your'er all chatted out.

July 26. I paid a visit to Betty Flew, an old lone woman near Hessers, who took me into her Garden, and amused me with as much of her History, as I had time to hear.


1856 Birth of George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic.

In 1906, when he was 50 years old, George and his wife Charlotte bought an ivy-covered country house made of brick that was set on almost four acres. The property ultimately became known as Shaw's Corner in Ayot St Lawrence.

For over four decades, George wrote most of his work in his tiny writing shed in the garden at Shaw's Corner. In fact, both Pygmalion and Heartbreak House were created in George's little writing hut.

Now, when George worked in his little hut, he sat in a straight back wicker chair and wrote using a black typewriter that was positioned on a little shelf-desk attached to the wall in the corner. George could communicate with the outside world using the wall-mounted phone that was just above the desk. The small hut had windows on the front and back sides, and there was a little bed built into the side opposite the desk. Still, George didn't have had much room to move around other than to get to his desk, stand up, turn around, and then lie on his bed.

George's writing hut was very modest and humble except that his little summer house had a unique feature to distinguished itself - it was built on top of a revolving platform. This ingenious device made it so that the little hut could be turned to face the sun throughout the day.

When the Shaw's first bought the property, there wasn't much except for open land. Over the years, Charlotte and George worked to transform the place into a personal sanctuary.

At first, the Shaw's split time between Shaw's corner and their London house. However, as they grew older, they gravitated more and more to Shaw's corner. The Shaw's loved their garden. From family records, we know the Shaws especially enjoyed delphiniums, iris, and tulips.

And, every day, George and Charlotte would walk around the garden together every morning and keep tally the number of kilometers by adding a stone to a pile in the garden. At the age of 94, George was still actively gardening until his unexpected death after a fall. George had been pruning a tree and slipped off the ladder. After their deaths, George and Charlotte's ashes were spread over the garden paths they had loved to walk together.

To this day, George's July birthday is honored with performances of his plays in his garden.
It was George Bernard Shaw who said all of these gardening quotes:

Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job.

I like flowers, I also like children, but I do not chop their heads off and keep them in bowls of water around the house.

Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak! Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.

I have found, after a good deal of consideration, that the best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.


Finally, in G. Lieberman's book, The Greatest Laughs of All Time, he explains why George turned down an invitation to a vegetarian gala dinner. George wrote,

The thought of two thousand people crunching celery at the same time horrified me.


1875 Birth of Antonio Machado, Spanish poet.

Antonio is remembered as a leading figure of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of '98.

His writing was intimate, romantic, and spiritual. 

Antonio once wrote,

Beyond living and dreaming there is something more important: waking up.

Gerardo Diego said that Machado, "spoke in verse and lived in poetry."

Antonio's verse about a lemon tree is a great example of his vivid use of language,

The languid lemon tree suspends
a pale and dusty branch
over the magic charm of the limpid fountain
and there, in the depth,
the golden fruits dream.


In Roberta Ann Quance's book, In the Light of Contradiction (2017), she writes,

One of the most overused nineteenth-century metaphors for a poem was flor [flower].

[An] anthology was (a *collection of flowers'), and a collection of nineteenth-century verse might be called a florilegium, it would be easy from there to consider a collection of poems in the pages of a book a 'garden' or a herbarium whose perfume would be released by the reader.

Antonio Machado gave the Romantic metaphor a twist by referring wryly to his writing as a herbarium...

He wrote,

I have a late afternoon pressed and dried
inside a herbarium,
coloured lilac, violet and gold.
The whims of a solitary man...

Nature was important to Antonio.

In his poem The Wind, One Brilliant Day, Antonio  wrote,

The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

"In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I'd like all the odor of your roses."

"I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead."

"Well then, I'll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain."

the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
"What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”


1945 Birth of Helen Mirren, English actor.

She is the only performer to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Female First shared an article about Dame Helen Mirren (books about this person). Speaking to Yours magazine, Helen shared:

I love to spend time in my garden. If I have a few free hours I love to dig around in the dirt. It's so calming, worthwhile and a really good way of keeping those dark dragons away which I do have at times. 
Gardens and green spaces are vital for people and the planet. ...They should teach it in schools. ...Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That's part of the fun of it. You are always learning."

In the article, Helen revealed she is a pomegranate farmer and harvests the fruits at her farm in Salento, Italy.
She explained:

Apart from acting, my other job is that of a pomegranate farmer. 
My husband I have planted over 400 pomegranate trees and we're producing juice for the market. The juice is delicious. 
Our little company is still in the early stages but we want to sell our juice in Italy and abroad.
...The first time I saw the full moon rising from the sea and shining on my pomegranates, I burst into tears.


In The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Helen's character says,

We are the leaves of one branch, the drops of one sea, the flowers of one garden.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Garden Source by Andrea Jones
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces.

You can get a copy of The Garden Source by Andrea Jones and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $


Botanic Spark

The 26th of July is the Feast Day of St Anne.

St. Anne is the mother of the Virgin Mary and the Chamomile is dedicated to her, which is why Chamomile is sometimes called St Anne's

Now the botanical name for the Chamomile genus is Matricaria, derived from mater and cara, which translates to " Beloved mother."

Louise Penny had a funny Chamomile quote in her book Still Life.

Peter swept aside Yogi Tea and Harmony Herbal Blend, though he hesitated a second over the chamomile. .... But no. Violent death demanded Earl Grey.

The word Chamomile is derived from the Greek words chamos (ground) and melos (apple), in reference to its low-growing characteristics and the apple scent of the blossoms. Like thyme, Chamomile can tolerate a little foot traffic. The two main types of chamomile are German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis).

Because the blossom resembled the sun, the Egyptians dedicated chamomile to their sun gods. Chamomile became especially tied to the Ra because of its healing powers. 

In Alice Hoffman's Magic Lessons, she wrote,

This is how you begin in this world. These are the lessons to be learned. Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can.


Chamomile is in the daisy family (Asteraceae). Chamomile blossoms symbolize rest, peace, and calmness. Chamomile also represents renewal and rebirth due to its long bloom period and its durability.

In Karma Brown's Recipe for a Perfect Wife, chamomile was the herb for patience.

Elsie, a firm believer in the language of flowers, spent much time carefully matching her gifted blooms and plants to their recipients.
Gardenia revealed a secret love; white hyacinth, a good choice for those who needed prayers; peony celebrated a happy marriage and home; chamomile provided patience; and a vibrant bunch of fresh basil brought with it good wishes.


German chamomile or wild chamomile is one of two species commonly used for making chamomile tea. When chamomile is brewed, it extracts a chemical compound called apigenin, which binds to GABA receptors in the brain and causes sleepiness.

In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter wrote,

Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea:
One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.


Chamomile is thought to help with mood and anxiety. It can also help calm an upset stomach or sooth skin conditions.

In Evvie Drake Starts Over, Linda Holmes wrote about chamomile as a cure-all. She wrote,

The tag on her chamomile teabag said, There is no trouble that a good a cup of tea can't solve.
It sounded like what a gentleman on Downton Abbey would say right before his wife got an impacted tooth and elegantly perished in bed.

The author Carrie Anne Noble wrote in The Mermaid's Sister, that a blended chamomile tea could help with infatuation. She wrote,

Infatuation is easy to cure, if that is his problem. A little dandelion root, a sprig of hare-foot plant, a shaving of nutmeg, and a drop of moonrose
nectar mixed into a cup of chamomile. True love is another story, I'm afraid. There is no cure for true love.



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

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