October 3, 2022 Otto Jennings, Lewis Gannett, Sergei Yesenin, Thomas Wolfe, Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers by Madison Pierce, and Philippa Foot


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Historical Events

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Look at the Leaves Day


1877 Birth of Otto Emery Jennings, former curator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and devoted scientist.

In 1904, Jennings started as the custodian at the Carnegie Museum, where, over the next 41 years, he held almost every position before becoming the director of the Museum in 1945.

Today, the Jennings Nature Reserve near Butler, Pennsylvania, is named for Otto Jennings. Otto worked to protect the 20-acre area because it was a natural habitat for the native Blazing Star (Liatris spicata "Ly-at-truss Spah-cah-tah"). The Jennings Reserve was expressly established to ensure that the Blazing Star could spread and multiply.

The Blazing Star is native to North America and is known by other common names, including the Gayfeather or Prairie Star. The Blazing Star is a late-bloomer and features majestic plumes in purple or white. Blazing Star is a gardener favorite, easy to grow and propagate, it's low maintenance, makes excellent cut flowers, and pollinators love them (Monarchs go crazy for Blazing Star). The Blazing Star grows up to 16 in tall, but if you want something more elevated, its cousin, the Prairie Blazing Star, can grow five feet tall.


1891 Birth of Lewis Stiles Gannett, American journalist, and author. 

Lewis wrote The Living One, Magazine Beach, The Siege, and two Millennium novels: Gehenna and Force Majeure.

In Cream Hill: Discoveries of a Weekend Countryman (1949), Lewis wrote:

But each spring . . . a gardening instinct, sore as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground.


Lewis also wrote,

Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it.
When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed.


1895 Birth of Sergei Yesenin (books about this person), Russian lyric poet. 

One current biographical account of Sergei's life said, "his poems [became] the people's songs."

Today, the Yesenin Monument graces the Tauride Garden in the center of Saint Petersburg. The likeness of Sergei Yesenin, seated in a thoughtful pose, is made of solid white marble.

There are words that are difficult to translate ie Russian because there is no English equivalent. For instance, there is a word that translates to "mushroom rain." A mushroom rain is a gentle, fragrant rain that wets the forest floor in a steady, lazy fashion. It's the kind of rain that is perfect for mushroom cultivation.

In terms of his use of language, Sergei Yesenin was not averse to adding new words to the Russian lexicon. He once created a Russian word to describe how sand ripples across the surface when blown by the wind - something Sergei would have seen daily growing up along the banks of the Oka river near the birch forests in his hometown.

Sergei's first poem Beryoza (The Birch Tree), was published in a children's magazine in January of 1914. Today Sergei's Birch tree poem is still taught in Russian schools. Birch trees are a powerful symbol in Russia, where folklore held that planting birches around a village had the power to ward off cholera.

A beloved tree in Russia, Birch trees can be found growing across the breadth and depth of the country. In addition to the birch, Sergei wrote about the maple, willow, fir, lime tree, poplar, and bird cherry. 

Here's an excerpt from The Birch Tree:

Under my own window
White is birch's hue •
Snowy blanket-shadow,
Silver patterned too.

On its fluffy branches
With a snowy hem
Tassels' blossom blanches
Fringe's icy gem.

Standing, birch is yearning,
Silent, sleepy spire,
Falling snow is burning
In its golden fire.

Lazy dawn in wrinkles,
Circling all around,
Now its branches sprinkle
Newly silver-crowned.


Sergei once wrote,

In this world you can
search for everything,
except Love and death.
They find you when the
time comes.

All will pass like the smoke of white apple trees
Seized by the gold of autumn.
I will no longer be young.


1900 Birth of Thomas Wolfe (books by this author), American novelist.

Thomas once wrote,

All things on earth point home in old October:
sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences,
hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds,
the lover to the love he has forsaken.

He also wrote,

And the flowers grew in rioting glory...


Garden and Gun magazine once shared this quote about Thomas Wolfe:

Thomas Wolfe may have said 'You can't go home again,' but I can.
Just give me some vinegar and red pepper and I'm there.


Today, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Garden in Chapel Hill is a living memorial to Thomas. 

Thomas attended the University of North Carolina and remained one of their most famous alumni. And there is, at Chapell Hill, a wonderful sculpture of an angel in the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Garden. The poignant words from Thomas's novel Look Homeward, Angel is inscribed above the piece and read:

O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again


Thomas once wrote,

...bewildered again before the unsearchable riddle - out of death, life, out of the coarse rank earth, a flower.



Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers by Madison Pierce 
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces.

This book gets very high ratings on Amazon. It came out a year a, go in May of 2021. And the subtitle is A Beginner's Guide to Selecting the Right Tree, Pots, and Containers for indoors and outdoors - and also covers Pests, Diseases, and Transplanting - so tons of information, all about growing citrus.

Now I have many friends up here in Minnesota who would never even dream of growing citrus indoors. And so I think they would be absolutely floored to learn that it is possible - if you know what you're doing and take the proper precautions.

This is something that Madison acknowledges herself.

She writes,

Many avid gardeners discover that growing fruit trees directly in the ground presents various difficult to overcome complexities. For this reason, this entire book focuses on how to effectively (and most successfully) grow strong, sturdy citrus fruit trees in pots and containers which produce fruit bountifully.

If you're going to go to the trouble of trying to grow fruit trees, you might as well amp up your chances of success by following the guidance in Madison's book.

Well, by now, you might be wondering who Madison Pierce is.

She writes,

I am a devoted wife and mother, and to say that I am a fruit tree enthusiast would be an understatement. - live and breathe gardening, and one of my main focus areas is fruit trees. Whenever someone sees and samples the fruit from my garden, they marvel at just how much effort must have gone into nurturing and growing them.

While I admit that a considerable amount of heart and soul has gone into my garden, it was a process to get the basics down to a fine art. Ever since I equipped myself with practical gardening knowledge, the process has been more straightforward than expected and immensely rewarding. I share my wealth of citrus fruit tree gardening knowledge and experience with other passionate gardeners because I want like-minded people to derive the same joy I have from the process.

There are several crucial elements to growing and nurturing exceptional citrus trees. First and foremost, it's about getting to know what citrus trees like and dislike. Just like you and me, trees have their lifestyle preferences, so it stands to reason that if you give your trees what they want and need most, they will reward you with an abundance of fruit. It's important to note that you will reap the rewards of the time, effort, and care you put in. At this point, educating yourself is of the utmost importance.

And, so with that, you are off to the races with Madison Pearce as your guide.

Consider this book a masterclass on growing citrus and fruit trees in pots and containers.

Growing citrus could be a fun little activity for you, especially if you're moving your gardening indoors over the winter. It could be a fun little project for you and the kids to work on together. Something worth considering...

You can get a copy of Successfully Grow & Garden Citrus Fruit Trees Using Pots and Containers by Madison Pierce and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $18.


Botanic Spark

1920/2010 Birth of Philippa Foot (books by this author), philosopher. She also died on this day.

Philippa's mother was Esther Cleveland, the daughter of Grover Cleveland, and she was the first presidential child to be born in the White House. 

She understood that philosophy could be confusing. She once mused,

You ask a philosopher a question and after he or she has talked for a bit, you don't understand your question anymore.


Philippa always sought to keep her work simple. She found inspiration in nature and kept her main points short and sweet. She advised,

In moral philosophy, it is useful, I believe, to think about plants.


In an interview with Philosophy Now's Rick Lewis, Philippa explained that, due to her work studying goodness, she believed that human vices are merely a natural defect. And just as flaws exist in nature, they also exist in humanity. Philippa believed that morality was rooted in nature.


In 2012, it was revealed that Philippa was romantically involved with Iris Murdoch (books by this author) in the 1960s. The women had met at Oxford, and though their friendship faltered at times, the two remained lifelong friends. 

On July 8, 1968, Iris wrote to Philippa. She was staying at a friend's home in Inverness in Scotland. Iris wrote,

I had forgotten the beauty of this place. The highlands are a vast rock garden - hundreds of kinds of tiny things flower and the variety of the woodland - it has no horrible Schwarzwald ' look. Much walking has been done and a little swimming but it's damn cold. Not a soul in many days of walking have met no one, and seen no one over those vast hillsides.

Do you suffer from chronic anxiety? I think not. It is a vice, a form of deep fear.
I'd like to talk to you about this sometime.
Write to me. [.. •]
Much love


Almost two decades later, in 1985, Iris would write to Philippa again,

I imagine you now in the sun, surrounded by those magic trees, in a garden of flowers, looking out upon the glittering dolphin-crowded sea.

Dear old Europe, poor old Europe. (Dear old planet, poor old planet.)


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

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