October 7, 2022 Antoine Nicolas Duchesne, James Madison, Joseph Stayman, James Whitcomb Riley, Growing Joy by Maria Failla, Thomas Rainer, and Post-Wild World


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Historical Events


1747 Birth of Antoine Nicolas Duchesne ("do-Shane"), French botanist, gardener, and professor at Versailles.

A specialist in strawberries and gourds, Duchesne was a student of Bernard de Jussieu at the Royal Garden in Paris.

A plant pioneer, Duchesne recognized that mutation was a natural occurrence and that plants could be altered through mutation at any time.

And when he was a young botanist, Duchesne began experimenting with strawberries. Ever since the 1300s, wild strawberries have been incorporated into gardens. But, on July 6, 1764, Duchesne created the modern strawberry - the strawberry we know and love today.

Strawberries are members of the rose family, and their seeds are on the outside of the fruit. Just how many seeds are on a single strawberry? Well, the average strawberry has around 200 seeds.

Now, if you're wondering whether to cut your strawberry plants back for winter, you should cut your plants back about three inches after your final harvest. 

As you tidy up your strawberry plants for winter, you can remove all dead leaves and trimmings.

Right about now, strawberry growers are winterizing their plants, which is pretty straightforward. Simply cover your plants with 6-8 inches of mulch. Then when spring returns, remove the winterizing mulch as your strawberry plants wake up and start growing. 


1817 On this day, James Madison, America's fourth President, was elected to serve as the President of his local Agricultural Society.

James had just retired from his presidential duties and quickly resumed his passion for cultivating the land. James spent many hours every day working in his four-acre Montpelier garden. The horse-shoe-shaped bed was assumed to be an homage to the floor of the house of representatives. 

The following May, James spoke to his fellow farmers and gardeners in the Agricultural Society about some of the latest discoveries in agriculture, such as the benefits of incorporating manure to leverage nitrogen and optimizing the water for plant uptake. 

James Madison was one of America's earliest conservationists. He was primarily concerned with preserving the land and wise stewardship of natural resources.


1817 Birth of Joseph Stayman, Kansas horticulturist.

His obituary announcement said,

Dr. Stayman is dead at Leavenworth. He came to Kansas in 1859, and brought a half million fruit grafts with him, from which he started the fruit industry of the state. The doctor was well named, and lived true to the name as his fruit trees were.


Joseph helped establish the Kansas State Horticultural Society in 1866. He dropped his medical practice to pursue horticulture and bred new varieties of apples, strawberries, and grapes at his orchards, which hosted over 3,000 trees. Joseph specifically worked to cultivate varieties best suited to the Kansas soil and climate. 

Joseph was a renaissance man and developed skills across a spectrum of skills and science. He bred the famous Clyde strawberry and established himself as an outstanding botanical artist (many of his drawings are at the Smithsonian). And Joseph was one of the country's best checker players. Some games lasted months to a year since Joseph played many matches by correspondence.


1849 Birth of James Whitcomb Riley, American writer and poet.

In his poem, The Ripest Peach, he wrote,

The ripest peach is highest on the tree --
And so her love, beyond the reach of me,
Is dearest in my sight. Sweet breezes, bow
Her heart down to me where I worship now!
She looms aloft where every eye may see
The ripest peach is highest on the tree.


In the US, over thirty states grow peaches. The peach season varies by state, but it usually ends by early October. 

Peaches are a member of the rose family and are rich in vitamins A and C. 
Freestone peaches are the type of peaches that we buy whole and eat raw. The Clingstone peach is canned commercially. Clingstone peaches get their name because Cling peaches have stones that cling to the peach flesh. By extracting the stone, the fruit is damaged yet still tasty, so processing and canning are ways to redeem the damaged fruit.

And although Georgia is known for its peaches, California produces more peaches every year.


Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Growing Joy by Maria Failla ("Fy-ELL-ah")

This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants).

And Maria says her book is full of planty practices to grow your way to a happier and more peaceful life.

Well, this is another garden book that was conceived during the early days of the pandemic.

And if you remember that time, so many of us were feeling disconnected and stressed and anxious - and we were looking for ways to feel more anchored, healthy, stronger, and positive.

And this was definitely the case with Maria.

In fact, she introduces her book this way:

We've only just met, but I'm going to confess something to you. I wrote this book about joy in
what seemed to be the least joyful period in my life. Funny how that happens. When I first
envisioned this book, I had my list of ideas and practices all lined up and tied in a pretty bow for

But then there was a little plot twist. And when the time came around for me to actually write
this book, My life kind of imploded in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. lost my job. My
wedding was postponed due to social distancing. And through a series of unexpected events,
my partner and had to move three times in a year - with a six-month stint living with my parents. The ultimate romantic dream for any engaged couple.


So you can tell that Maria is doing a fantastic job setting the stage. And a lot of this sounds
SO relatable for so many of us. But then Maria had an epiphany. And she writes,

I looked around at my plant collection and I noticed that my plants also looked miserable. Limp
leaves, thirsty, yearning for light, and seeing them so unhappy made me pause and realize
how much I related to them. And in the midst of moving pivoting and mourning, I had let the
beautiful practices and routines that I had developed lapse.


And then she writes,

This realization hit me like a two-ton bag of potting mix.


(I love that Maria has plenty of little snippets of humor in her book that will surely bring a chuckle.)

Maria continues.

A deeper realization set in. let my plant care routine lapse, and I'd also let my therapy and workout appointments slip through the cracks. I stopped checking in with my friends and my screen time was at an all-time high; my plants and I both needed some serious nurturing.


Maria concludes:

I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do know that if you're open to it, this stuff works. No matter what season of life you're in, whether you're simply looking for fun ways to enliven your days, suggestions for how to take the next step forward in plant parenthood, or maybe you're looking for something deeper.

But wherever you are, I see you and I'm here for you. And let's grow some joy together, one leaf at a time.


As you can tell, Maria's book is perfectly titled, Growing Joy.

This book is 272 pages of connecting with plants and ourselves and, in the process, gaining
new insights and a more positive and healthier lifestyle.

This book is a delightful mix of self-care through plant care, helping you to feel more joyous, grounded, and optimistic.

I think it's the perfect book as we all come back into our homes and snuggle in, cozy in, and get ready for winter.

You can get a copy of Growing Joy by Maria Failla and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $8.


Botanic Spark

2015 It was on this day that Thomas Rainer and Claudia West's Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes debuted.

Eight years ago, it was through this book that Thomas introduced the notion of gardens as communities, which makes gardeners much more sensitive to concepts like density and diversity in our plantings.

I love what they write at the beginning of their book because I think it sets the tone for what they are trying to accomplish:

The way plants grow in the wild and the way they grow in our gardens is starkly different. In nature, plants thrive even in inhospitable environments; in our gardens, plants often lack the vigor of their wild counterparts, even when we lavish them with rich soils and frequent water. In nature, plants richly cover the ground; in too many of our gardens, plants are placed far apart and mulched heavily to keep out weeds. In nature, plants have an order individual harmony resulting from their adaptation to a site; our gardens are often arbitrary assortments from various habitats, related only by our personal preferences....

In fact, the very activities that define gardening weeding, watering, fertilizing, and mulching - all imply a dependency of plants on the gardener for survival. Gardeners are often frustrated when some plants spread beyond their predetermined location and surprised while others struggle to get established...

Further complication is the availability of plants from every corner of the globe...

So how do we shift the paradigm, making desirable plantings that look and function sympathetically with how they evolve in nature? By observing and embracing the wisdom of natural plant communities.


A master of garden design and designing with native plants, Thomas wrote his vision of the Post-Wild World:

The front lines of the battle for nature are not in the Amazon rain forest or the Alaskan wilderness; the front lines are our backyards, medians, parking lots, and elementary schools.



The uncertainty of the future will provide an incredible gift: it will liberate planting from all those forces that try to tame it...


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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