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1802 Birth of George Pope Morris was an American editor, poet, and songwriter.
George co-founded the daily New York Evening Mirror with Nathaniel Parker Willis. George and Nathaniel also started Town and Country magazine. Nathaniel once wrote that George was "just what poets would be if they sang like birds without criticism."
In 1837, George wrote his popular poem-turned-song Woodman, Spare that Tree! The verse resonated with conservationists.
Woodman, woodman, spare that tree
Touch not a single bough
For years it has protected me
And I'll protect it now
Chop down an oak, a birch or pine
But not this slipp'ry elm of mine
It's the only tree that my wife can't climb
So spare that tree
1825 On this day, the English poet, literary critic, philosopher, and theologian Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote,
Nature is a wary wily long-breathed old witch, tough-lived as a turtle and divisible as the polyp.
The polyp Coleridge refers to is the water plant discovered by Abraham Trembley in 1740. That year, Abe was walking along a pool of water and saw what he called a polyp or a hydra. Abe was astonished to see the organism's response to being chopped into pieces; it would simply regenerate into a new whole organism.
1895 Birth of Lin Yutang, Chinese inventor, writer, and translator.
Yutang's English translations of Chinese classics became bestsellers in the West.
Yutang once wrote,
I like spring, but it is too young.
I like summer, but it is too proud.
So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content.
1900 Birth of Helen Hayes MacArthur, American actress.
Remembered as the "First Lady of American Theatre," she was the first person to win the Triple Crown of Acting - an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award.
In her spare time, Helen was also a gardener.
Regarding wildflowers, she said,
They won’t bow to one’s wishes.
They don’t want to be tamed.
That must be the reason these darling, lovely, little things won’t cooperate.
While most people credit Helen's success with her passion and inner drive, Helen found the time she spent in her garden as restorative. She wrote,
All through the long winter I dream of my garden.
On the first warm day of spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
Garden as Art by Thaïsa Way ("Ty-EE-sah")
This book came out in 2022, and the subtitle is Beatrix Farrand at Dumbarton Oaks.
If Thaïsa's name sounds familiar to you, it is because she is the director of garden and landscape studies at Dumbarton Oaks and her book is one of two new books this year as part of the centennial celebrations at Dumbarton.
As this garden enters its second century, I see Thaïsa's book as a commemorative book, which features the beautiful garden photography of Sahar Coston-Hardy ("Sah-har Cost-in Hardy").
Along with the photography, there is a wonderful selection of essays that were handpicked to reveal the history of design in the garden and the significance of those gardens from a variety of different voices.
So, this is an extraordinary book. If you're a fan of Dumbarton Oaks, then this book is an absolute must-have.
And what I find especially wonderful about this book are the seasonal glimpses of Dumbarton Oaks that are offered by Sahar's photography and seeing the transformation at Dumbarton throughout the year is really quite special.
If you're a fan of Beatrix and her work, then you know that Dunbarton is regarded as her crowning achievement and this book is definitely a testament to that.
Harvard published this book, and they write that,
The book invites the reader to contemplate the art of garden design and the remarkable beauty of the natural world. There are archival images of the garden that offer a chronicle of evolving design concepts. And the book also illustrates how gardens change over time as living works of art.
And so that brings us to the title Garden as Art.
Garden as Art offers an inspiring view of a place that has been remarkably influential in both design and the art of landscape architecture.
This is a very special book and would make a wonderful Christmas present for yourself as a gardener or for a gardener in your life.
This book is 312 pages of one of our country's most beautiful gardens with a beautiful story to tell featuring Beatrix Farrand and Dumbarton Oaks.
1817 On this day, the garden of a Mr. Pringuer, a maker of pants or breeches in the lovely town of Canterbury, showed off his apple tree to members of the public after the tree blossomed out unexpectedly in the middle of autumn. Accounts say that the tree was lovely and full of blossoms.
The tree was a great curiosity to locals in the community and to all who visited. The papers noted that the garden thronged with people who traveled far and wide to see the tree.
Almost two hundred years later, our gardens still manage to surprise us. Take the favorite dependable plant that suddenly fails to perform and dies. Or the unlikely success of a plant that shouldn't have survived the winter. And what about the seeds that surpass the profile on the packet? Or the shrubs that spiral downward despite our ministrations? Or the flowers that defy the first snow. And to that list, I added Mr. Pringuer's apple tree in full bloom on October 10, 1817.
What were the surprises in your garden this year?
My surprises were the lone apple that appeared on one of my newly planted apple trees in my mini orchard. The young tree seemed barely strong enough to support it. Another surprise was the death of all five hydrangeas in the front garden at Maple Grove. It was just too hot this summer. A new vigorous development was string algae in the water features. It was a worthy adversary and near impossible to eliminate. A final surprise was the hoped-for joy I experienced weeding the front garden at the cabin. After adding the sunken path, the garden is elevated, so there is no more stooping or digging for weeds between boulders. Now it is a joy to tend that large 40 x 12-foot bed.
Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener
And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.