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October 5, 2022
National Pumpkin Seed Day - October 5, 2022.
1524 Death of Joachim Patinir ("yo-ah-keem pah-tin-eer"), Flemish Northern Renaissance artist.
A history and landscape painter from the area of modern Wallonia, Joachim invented landscape painting as an independent genre.
His landscapes feature a panoramic view of northern Renaissance countrysides enhanced by naturalistic details and fantasy. In most of his paintings, the perspective is from a high point overlooking large vistas that meld into forests and meadows with hazy mountains, rivers, and skies off in the distance. Joachim's paintings have an element of sadness and mystery. Often, throughout the painting, Joachim would add tiny figures of people going about their day.
One of Joachim's signature elements in his landscapes were these enormous boulders and rocks that were placed in the landscape - often quite abruptly.
In botanical painting, there are entire youtube videos devoted to how to paint boulders, stone, and rock in the landscape. And Garden landscapes themselves can be a challenge because they often lack a clear focal point.
Gardens offer so much detail - sometimes, it can all be too much for beginning painters. Think of all the colors, textures, highlights,
shadows, patterns, lines, and shapes. Sometimes it helps to simplify the scope and narrow in on a few essential flowers, plants, or other elements.
Art experts suggest paying attention to your first impression of the scene. What are your eyes drawn to? What details grasp your attention? What elements are background noise?
1873 Birth of Merritt Lyndon Fernald, American botanist.
Merritt wrote over 800 papers and coauthored Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America (1919-1920) with Alfred Kinsey, the American scientist and sexologist.
On one of his herbarium sheets, he once wrote a quick poem about the Rhodora - the pink blooming azalea found in the Northeastern United States.
The gay Rhodora long the margin stands,
Forerunner of the summer's fairer Rose;
Yet coming as she does to ope spring's lands,
She brightens every mood wherein she blows.
Merritt is remembered as the Father of Newfoundland Botany.
Today the Merritt Lyndon Fernald Award is an award given by the New England Botanical Club.
The award is given annually to the author(s) of the best paper published in each volume of Rhodora that has made use of herbarium specimens and/or involved fieldwork.
Recipients receive $1,000 and a certificate, and the award is usually presented at the May New England Botanical Club meeting.
The last winner was in 2019.
McDonough MacKenzi, Kevin Berend, and Kristen Haynes wrote about the best practices in creating common garden experiments.
We wrote the paper that we all wished we could have read at the beginning of our graduate projects - a review of common garden research in the Northeast.
If you were to write a paper about your garden discoveries this year, what would you write about? Or if a paper is too daunting, what about a top 10 or 5 list - takeaways from your time in the garden this year?
Mine would include getting comfortable with the flame weeder, tracking mulch orders to make for fewer deliveries in 2023 - and also to mitigate any supply chain issues with one giant order, continuing to focus on reforesting as I plant a mini-forest and mini orchard at the cabin, celebrating for another season the workhorse that is my outdoor potting bench area, and then transforming my suburban garden from an ornamental garden into a lower maintenance shrub garden as we become empty nesters.
1879 Birth of John Erskine, American educator, author, pianist, and composer.
When he was a young boy, he went by horse and carriage to his piano lessons. He practiced at home on the family Steinway grand.
An incredibly accomplished man, he is remembered most for his book, The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent (1915), and for this quote:
Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing.
A gardener, John once wrote,
I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden.
This is such a great point. The garden is a beautiful place to think and to ideate - just like the shower. In the shower, I have the Aqua Notes waterproof notepad to jot down ideas before they go down the drain, and in the garden, I carry a small moleskin in my apron and my garden tote. So handy.
2017 On this day, Liza Picard's book, Chaucer's People: Everyday Lives in Medieval England, was published.
In the book, Liza reveals the food sources of Medieval times. She wrote,
Figs were imported from Malta, dates and raisins from Damascus.
Sugar from Sicily was preferable to honey as a sweetener in aristocratic kitchens, since it could be confected into those impressive ‘subtleties’.
Anything grown in England was sold only in its natural season.
Green peas were eaten raw and delicious – no one thought of cooking them.
Other vegetables were being grown in a garden in Stepney by Henry Daniel, a contemporary of Chaucer. He recommended turnips, borage, mallows and orach ("or-rich") for pottage, the kind of food the ordinary man depended on.
Chestnuts could be roasted, and parsnip, that ‘wholesome food’, could be both baked and fried.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
Becoming a Gardener by Catie Marron
This book came out in 2020, and the subtitle is Simple Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces.
About a year later, a thought occurred to me: To feel rooted, I
had to put down roots. Literally. As the old proverb goes:
Necessity is the mother of invention. To turn our house into a
home, I'd root myself to the land, which is what drew me to the
spot in the first place. Once again, I found myself thinking of
gardens. It certainly seemed as good a time as any to attempt to
become a gardener. And, so, what began as a desire to feel rooted
in a new home with my children and Don, my husband of thirty
years, became something else entirely.
I decided to give myself eighteen months, thinking this would allow me enough time to design the garden and watch a full year's plant cycle. Little did I know how much the world would change in that time, both globally and for me personally. In the beginning, thought all I needed was gardening advice - basic information on how to lay out a garden and what plants to grow. As it happened, I needed and discovered so much more.
Gardening and reading, memory and imagination--all weave together in books and in life. Perhaps the power of literature and nature are one and the same, calling on gardeners and readers to recruit both their imaginations and their memories to cultivate special places of their own.
1946 Birth of Robin Lane Fox, English classicist, ancient historian, and garden writer who has served as the garden columnist for The Financial Times for over fifty years.
In Robin's Better Gardening (1982), he wrote,
I will keep returning to the virtues of sharp and swift drainage, whether a plant prefers to be wet or dry… I would have called this book Better Drains, but you would never have bought it or borrowed it for bedtime.
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And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.