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1660 On this day, the first meeting occurred of what would become The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.
The Royal Society's Latin motto, 'Nullius in verba,' translates to "Take nobody's word for it." The motto reminded the Society's members to verify information through experiments and not just based on authority.
1694 Death of Matsuo Basho ("Bash=oh"), Japanese poet.
He is remembered as the most famous poet of the Edo period and the greatest master of haiku.
In one verse, Matsuo wrote,
The temple bell stops
But I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.
And in another poem from his book on traveling, he wrote,
Many things of the past
Are brought to my mind,
As I stand in the garden
Staring at a cherry tree.
1854 Birth of Gottlieb Haberlandt, Austrian botanist.
His father was a pioneer in 'soybean' work, and his physiologist son is now regarded as the grandfather of the birth control pill.
As for Gottlieb, he grew plant cells in tissue culture and was the first scientist to point out the possibility of the culture of Isolated & Plant Tissues. In 1902 he shared his original idea called totipotentiality ("to-'ti-pe-tent-chee-al-it-tee"), which Gottlieb defined as "the theory that all plant cells can give rise to a complete plant." Today we remember Gottlieb as the father of plant tissue culture.
During the 1950s scientists proved Gottlieb's totipotentiality. Indeed, any part of a plant grown in nutrient media under sterile conditions can create a whole new plant. Today, the technique of tissue culture is a very efficient tool for propagating improved plants for food, hardiness, and beauty.
1881 Birth of Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer.
During the 1920s and 1930s, at the peak of his career, Stefan was one of the most widely translated writers in the world.
In The Post-Office Girl, Stefan wrote,
For this quiet, unprepossessing, passive man who has no garden in front of his subsidised flat,
books are like flowers. He loves to line them up on the shelf in multicoloured rows: he watches
over each of them with an old-fashioned gardener's delight, holds them like fragile objects in his
thin, bloodless hands.
Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation
English Cottage by Andrew Sankey
This book came out in 2022, and it is a master guide to cottage-style gardening.
The chapters in this book cover: The History of the Cottage Garden, Creating the "Cottage Garden Style, Cottage Planting Style, Cottage Flowers, Companion Planting, Green Structure, and Traditional Features.
In the Preface, Andrew shares a bit about his background and how he came to master English Cottage Gardening.
My first introduction to the style of the English cottage garden came when I was given a copy of Margery Fish's book, We Made a Garden.
Having been enthralled with the book, I then traveled down to Somerset to see her wonderful cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor. Shortly after
this, Geoff Hamilton started to construct his cottage gardens for the BBC Gardeners' World programs and it soon became apparent that this was the style of gardening I myself wished to adopt.
Not long after this I moved to Lincolnshire and started my own garden design/landscaping business, and I soon realized it was difficult to obtain the more unusual plants required for number of my garden designs, in particular plants for dry shade positions. This encouraged me to look for a larger garden with the potential to run a small specialist nursery. This resulted in purchasing Grade II listed cottage (built in 1852) with a good-sized old cottage garden. Although the original garden (like many in Lincolnshire) had once been an extremely long strip stretching back to the village pond, the plot that came with the cottage was much reduced.
Nevertheless, at almost half an acre it was more than enough for me to manage. Luckily the garden was pretty much a blank canvas, having a couple of large old fruit trees, a vegetable patch, various outbuildings and a chicken hut; and this afforded me the opportunity to make something special of the garden.
It was here that my love for cottage gardens blossomed. Over time I re-designed the garden, I created different rooms/areas, spring and summer borders, and began experimenting with colour schemes and companion planting. I joined the Cottage Garden Society and then helped form the Lincolnshire branch, eventually
becoming chairman. Within a few years I opened the garden under the National Gardens Scheme; I then started writing articles and lecturing on different aspects of the cottage garden.
This book is the culmination of my years working on my own cottage gardens, designing and creating cottage gardens for clients, experimenting with companion planting and lecturing widely on the subject. I very much hope you enjoy it.
This book is 192 pages of cottage garden style in all its glory, with many lovely and inspiring photographs.
1757 Birth of William Blake, English poet.
During his lifetime, William wrote in relative obscurity. Today, he is an essential poet of the Romantic Age.
In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
In his poem, Auguries of Innocence, he wrote,
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
In his poem, A Poison Tree, William wrote about anger as a tree that grows as it gets tended.
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener
And remember: For a happy, healthy life, garden every day.