July 29, 2022 Carl Linnaeus, Olaus Rudbeck, Edith Coleman, Stanley Kunitz, Sten Nadolny, The Tool Book by William Bryant Logan, and Louisa Yeomans King


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Historical Events

1731 On this day, Carl Linnaeus wrote with admiration to his old professor, Olaus Rudbeck.

Carl, the ‘Father of Plant Taxonomy', named the Rudbeckia, or Black-Eyed Susan, after his patron Olaus Rudbeck and he wrote,

So long as the earth shall survive and as each spring shall see it covered with flowers, the Rudbeckia will preserve your glorious name.

Black-Eyed Susans are a favorite of gardeners. They bloom continuously from about mid-July until the first frost. The black-eyed Susan is a great pollinator plant. As a member of the daisy family, they offer that daisy shape and give the garden a warm yellow color. All that Black-Eyed Susans require is the sun. All gardeners need to do is enjoy them and remember to cut a few to bring indoors; they are a fantastic cut flower. They play nice in bouquets, and they look great as a solo flower in a vase.
There have been new varieties of Black-Eyed Susans introduced over the past couple of decades. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the city of Denver, the Denver Daisy was introduced in 2008. It is a cross between the Rudbeckia hirta species and the Rudbeckia prairie sun.
One of my personal favorites is the Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry brandy.' Imagine a red Black-Eyed Susan, and that's basically Cherry brandy. Simply gorgeous. 

1874 Birth of Edith Coleman, an Australian naturalist, and a prolific writer.

Until recently, little was known about Edith. The author, Danielle Claude, wrote a book about Edith called The Wasp and the Orchid, which explored how Edith went from being a housewife until the age of 48 and then transformed into one of Australia’s leading naturalists.

Edith had a special appreciation for orchids. Beginning in January 1927, one of her daughters told her that she had seen a wasp entering the flower of the small tongue orchid backward. The odd behavior was something both Edith and her daughter would repeatedly see over the next few seasons. The response was perplexing, especially after Edith dissected the plants and discovered that they were male.

Edith continued to study their behavior, and she finally found that the wasp was fertilizing the orchid. The orchid uses this stealth pollination strategy called pseudo-copulation to trick the male wasps into thinking they are meeting with a female wasp. By getting the males to enter the plant, the plant can be pollinated.

Edith became the first woman to be awarded the Australian natural history medallion.

Edith Coleman will forever be remembered for her groundbreaking discovery about orchid pollination.

1905 Birth of Stanley Kunitz, American poet and gardener.

Stanley was twice-appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1974 and in 2000 when he was 95.

He saw gardening and writing poetry as two sides of the same coin - a sentiment he summarized simply by saying,

My garden, my life, my poems – a planned disorder.


Stanley wrote,

I conceived of the garden as a poem in stanzas. Each terrace contributes to the garden as a whole in the same way each stanza in a poem has a life of its own, and yet is part of a progressive whole.


Stanley's Provincetown garden was a passion of his for nearly 50 years. He mentions gardening quite frequently in his poetry.

Stanley once wrote,

I associate the garden with the whole experience of being alive, and so, there is nothing in the range of human experience that is separate from what the garden can signify in its eagerness and its insistence, and in its driving energy to live - to grow, to bear fruit.


in 2005, at the age of 100, Stanley's final book, a memoir, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden was released.

Stanley wrote,

The garden is, in a sense, the cosmos in miniature, a condensation of the world that is open to your senses. It doesn't end at the limits of your own parcel of land, or your own state, or your own nation. Every cultivated plot of ground is symbolic of the surprises and ramifications of life
itself in all its varied forms, including the human.

Is the cycle any easier to accept in the garden than in a human life?

Both of them are hard to take! In both cases there is a sense not only of obligation, but of devotion.

You might say, as well, that the garden is a metaphor for the poems you write in a lifetime and give to the world in the hope that these poems you have lived through will be equivalent to the flower that takes root in the soil and becomes part of the landscape. If you're lucky, that happens with some of the poems you create, while others pass the way of so many plants you set into the garden, or grow from seed: they emerge and give pleasure for a season and then vanish.


1942 Birth of Sten Nadolny, German novelist.

His parents were both writers.

Stan's book, The Discovery of Slowness, recounts the life of one of the most interesting explorers of the nineteenth century, John Franklin, and the fate of the doom franklin expedition. Stan wrote about the multifaceted skills of a botanist,

We don't see the world as a botanist who is at the same time an architect, a physician, a geologist, and a ship's captain. Recognizing isn't at all like seeing; the two often don't even agree...


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

The Tool Book by William Bryant Logan
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces.

You can get a copy of The Tool Book by William Bryant Logan and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $


Botanic Spark

1905 On this day, Louisa Yeomans King wrote in her book The Flower Garden Day by Day. 

JULY 29. Hot though it may be, do not fail to keep the garden notebook going.

Any bare spots in the garden should be specified in the book now , and planting there and suggestions for fall planting made to remedy defects.


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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