May 1, 2023 May Day, Karl Friedrich von Gaertner, Phebe Holder, Thomas Hoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily’s Fresh Kitchen by Emily Maxson, and Calvin Fletcher


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Historical Events

1772 Karl Friedrich von Gaertner, German botanist, is born.

Karl Friedrich von Gaertner had a fantastic last name; Gaertner translates to mean gardener.

Karl was a second-generation gardener. His dad was Joseph Gaertner, the great German botanist and horticulturist, so Karl essentially stepped in his father's footsteps.

Karl's claim to fame was his work with hybrids with hybridizing plants. Along with other botanists, he laid the foundation for Gregor Mendel, who discovered the basic principles of heredity through his experiments with peas in his garden at the Augustinian monastery he lived in at Brno ("BURR-no") in the Czech Republic.


1890 Phebe Holder's poem, A Song of May, appeared in newspapers this month.

In addition to her religious poems, Phebe wrote about the natural world.

Gardeners delight in her poems for spring and fall.

Phebe is a fabulous New England Victorian poet and gardener I love and admire.

She loved the delicate plants of springtime and wrote a poem called A Song of May.

What song hast thou, sweet May, for me,
My listening ear what song for thee?
A song of life from growing things,
The life thy gentle presence brings;
The tender light of budding spray.
The blooming down on willow grey,
The living green that earth overspreads,
The creamy flowers on mossy beds.

From blossoms pure with petals white
As pressed from out the moonbeam's light.
The fragrant lily of the vale,
The violet's breath on passing gale:
Anemones mid last year's*leaves,
Arbutus sweet in trailing wreaths,
From waving lights of forest glade
The light ferns hiding neath the shade.

A song of joy from wood and plain,
From birds in old-time haunts again;
The silvery laugh of tuneful rill
O'er rocky bed, down craggy hill;
Soft coming of warm dropping showers,
The sighing wind in piney bowers;
The music breathed by low-voiced waves,
For listening, from ocean caves,

A plaintive strain doth memory sing,
A breathing of departed Spring:
An unseen Presence in the home,
A spirit voice-"The Master's come!".
While hearts in tender sorrow wept
O'er one beloved who silent slept,
Who in the May-time long ago
Passed the pearl gates of glory through.

A grateful song, our God, to Thee
For treasures of the earth and sea;
For all the beauty Thou hast given;
A dream to loving hearts, of heaven;
A song of life, of joy, of love,
Of trust, of faith in light adore
This offering on thy shrine I lay;
This song hast thou for me, sweet May.


Phebe's A Song of May recalls the flowers of spring. In the second verse, she's touching on many great spring beauties: the Lily of the Valley, violets, anemones, The Mayflower (also known as the trailing arbutus), and then, of course, ferns. In May, fern fronds cover the woodlands and understories. All of these spring plants emerge very quickly once they get growing. The ground transforms from leaf-littered - brown, drab, and dreary - to excellent with beautiful little blossoms.


1822 Thomas Hoy, English gardener, horticulturist, and botanist, died.

Thomas was a dedicated gardener and head gardener for the Duke of Northumberland for over four decades - so he worked with plants his entire life.

Thomas was a fellow of the Linnaean Society and liked to show his work at various plant societies And outings. 

Thomas is remembered as an experienced botanist and a capable cultivator. He was very good at his job. In fact, he was so good that the botanist Robert Brown named a popular plant genus for Thomas Hoy. Can you guess what it is?

Well, if you were thinking Hoya, you are correct.

The Hoya is a beautiful way to be remembered and honored.

I love Hoyas. I picked up a couple of variegated Hoyas over the winter, and I'm so excited to see what the flower looks like. 

Overall the Hoya is a gorgeous plant named for the intelligent, thoughtful, and dedicated gardener Thomas Hoy, who died on this day when he was 72. 


1867 Ralph Waldo Emerson inscribed a copy of his book, May Day, to Sophie Thoreau, the devoted sister of Henry David Thoreau.

May Day is a collection of Emerson's writing and poems and includes the line, "Why chidest thou the tardy spring?" from his May Day poem.

Why chidest thou the tardy Spring?
The hardy bunting does not chide;
The blackbirds make the maples ring
With social cheer and jubilee;
The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee,
The robins know the melting snow;
The sparrow meek, prophetic-eyed,
Her nest beside the snow-drift weaves,
Secure the osier yet will hide
Her callow brood in mantling leaves;
And thou, by science all undone,
Why only must thy reason fail
To see the southing of the sun?


In other words, why be upset that spring is late? Spring has everything in hand. Don't be angry about nature's timing.

A library first shared this inscription with Ralph Waldo Emerson's beautiful handwriting.

About a decade after receiving the book, Sophie gifted the book to her friend Mabel Loomis and inscribed the transfer in the book.

If you're looking for a sentimental month of May gift or have a May birthday and want to give something unique, look for an old copy of May Day by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's a beautiful gift.


Well, it turns out that May 1st is a great day to release a brand new gardening book, and so I thought I'd wrap up today's botanical history with three great garden books released on May 1st.


2001 The Himalayan Garden: Growing Plants from the Roof of the World by Jim Jermyn.

If you're into growing mountain plants, Alpine plants, wildflowers, etc., and if you have a cold climate, you'll enjoy this book.


2015 Monet's Palate Cookbook: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden At Giverny by Aileen Bordman


2018 Herbal Medicine for Beginners: Your Guide to Healing Common Ailments with 35 Medicinal Herbs by Katja Swift



Grow That Garden Library™ Book Recommendation

Emily's Fresh Kitchen by Emily Maxson

This book came out in January of 2022, and the subtitle is Cook Your Way to Better Health. 

I must be honest and let you know that I stumbled on this book at my local Goodwill and was immediately taken with it. I think it's fantastic. And I can't believe I missed it last year, so I'm playing catch up here. But the cover captivated me because it features a great soup - Her Roasted Butternut with Sage Soup infused with Coconut Cream. I bet it's fantastic. It sure makes for a pretty cover.

And I must say that all of the pictures in this book are beautiful.

I wanted to share a little bit about Emily because her story has inspired so much of her work, and she writes,

After a Crohn's disease diagnosis at age 28 and over a decade of unsuccessful traditional treatment, Emily Maxson discovered the specific carbohydrate diet's positive effects and food's transformative power to improve health.

She's a trained chef who poured her heart into creating delectable dishes that meet her diet's rigorous guidelines.


So the diet that she's following is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. If you haven't heard about it, Emily is an expert. And for her, the diet has led to a healthier and happier life.

Now, if you're curious about this and can't wait to get the book, head over to her website Emily's Fresh Kitchen - it's the same name as the book title. You will find incredible recipes, inspiring stories, and photos there. She does a top-notch job.

I also want to share more about this Specific Carbohydrate Diet because you're probably curious. This is a primarily plant-based diet, which is great for gardeners who want to eat fresh from the garden. And here's what Emily writes about on page nine of her book.

Following this diet, I cooked myself out of disease and into good health. While the diet was strict, the results were miraculous. It was such a blessing not to have to take medications or to spend time in hospitals, my gut was healthy again, and I was able to start introducing foods that were not allowed while following the diet.

Today, I strive for my diet to be 80% plant-based. I focus on fiber and try to get a variety of plant foods in my diet daily, including some gluten-free whole grains.


This diet and way of life are working for her. Consequently, Emily has written a great cookbook with lots of ideas.

I thought what I would do is walk you through the chapters here.

First, she does a quick overview of what's in her pantry.

Then, she talks about her favorite kitchen tools. I love the gadgets, and I love her tips on this.

Emily has an excellent section on salads, main dishes, soups, sides, breakfast, and smoothies. That's a critical section for me because I always feel like if I can nail down what I'm having for breakfast, the rest of the day goes well.

Then she shares appetizers and savory snacks, which is a good section, too. I've been looking for delicious things I can eat in the evenings. I will check this out.

The next chapter covers sweets, treats, condiments, dressings, and spice blends. This is an essential tool, especially if you're going to a plant-based diet because you don't want to lose the flavor.

And then drinks and cocktails.

Emily is pretty thorough, and it's easy to tell that this is an entire lifestyle for her. She's mastered this, and she can use her own story as a testament to the fact that it does work; to cook your way to better health.

This book is 284 pages of nutritious and flavorful dishes that will help heal your body and get you back on the road to health.

You can get a copy of Emily's Fresh Kitchen: Cook Your Way to Better Health by Emily Maxson and support the show using the Amazon link in today's show notes for around $25.

This is a great gift book if you're looking for an excellent garden-to-table cookbook. 


Botanic Spark

1859 On this day, Calvin Fletcher, American attorney, banker, farmer, and state senator in Indianapolis, wrote these words in his diary:

This a most delightful Sabbath morn and the anniversary of my leaving Westford, Massachusetts in 1817 forty two years ago.

[It's] also the anniversary of my alliance to my sainted wife in 1821 thirty eight years ago to day.

Both days are of great beauty & loveliness.

This morn I worked my garden & retrospected on the past.
up the enumerable reasons for gratitude to Almighty God for the
undeserved blessings have enjoyed.
All nature seemed to accord to my strain of thought. Bless the Lord O! my soul & all that is
within me say Amen!

Mrs. F. & I went to Westly Chapel to hear E. preach from the Canticles (Solomon's Songs):

"The winter is past & the time of singing of birds has come..."


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener

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

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