Agnes Block

First Pineapple in Europe Today is the anniversary of the death of the inspiring female Dutch collector, paper artist, illustrator, and horticulturist, Agnes Block. A Dutch Mennonite, Agnes first married a silk merchant named Hans de Wollf. His income made it possible for Agnes to pursue her many passions. The Dutch poet Joost van den…

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William Bartram

A Student of the Natural World Today is the birthday of the naturalist William Bartram. In 1775, when he was 36 years old, William Bartram left Charleston, South Carolina, on horseback to explore the Cherokee Nation near Franklin, North Carolina. In addition to his botanical discoveries, Bartram was a student of all aspects of the…

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Louise Beebe Wilder

One of America’s Greatest Garden Writers Today is the anniversary of the death of one of America’s greatest Garden writers and one of the 20th century’s most famous horticulturists, Louise Beebe Wilder. Louise was born into a wealthy family in Baltimore. After marrying an architect named Walter Wilder, they bought a country place – a…

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Joan Miró

A Gardener or a WInegrower Today is the birthday of the Spanish painter and artist Joan Miró Born in Barcelona, Miró’s surrealist art left a mark on the world. Gardeners will especially enjoy his 1918 work called The Vegetable Garden with Donkey and his 1919 work called “Vines and Olive Trees.” Miró’s biography was subtitled…

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Charles Plumier

God’s Tears Today is the birthday of the French priest and botanist Charles Plumier. He was born in Marseille. Regarded as one of the most important botanical explorers of his time, Plumier served as a botanist to King Louis XIV of France, and he traveled many times to the New World documenting many plant and…

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Albrecht Dürer

The Great Piece of Turf Today is the anniversary of the death of the German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg, Albrecht Dürer. Dürer’s work was extraordinary, and by the time he was in his 20’s, he was already quite famous. While he was known for his calm demeanor and introversion, his work…

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Johann Zinn

Zinn and Zinnias   Today is the anniversary of the death of Johann Zinn, who died young at the age of 32. Still, Zinn accomplished much in his short life, and he focused on two areas of science: human anatomy and botany. From an anatomy standpoint, in his early twenties, Zinn wrote an eye anatomy…

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José Celestino Mutis

Growing in Cloud Forests Today is the birthday of the Spanish priest, botanist, and mathematician José Celestino Mutis. Recognized as a distinguished botanist in his home country of Spain, Mutis was the architect of the Royal Botanical Expedition of the N. Kingdom of Granada (what is now Columbia) in 1783. For almost 50 years, Mutis…

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Count Nikolay Rumyantsev

Funded the Rurik Today is the birthday of a man who was the foreign minister of Russia, Count Nikolay Rumyantsev. In 1815, he funded the round the world scientific voyage of the Rurik which included the poet and botanist Adelbert von Chamisso (“Sha-ME-So”) and a doctor/surgeon named Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz. Two years later, in…

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John Burroughs

John O’ Birds  Today is the birthday of the Naturalist, poet, and philosopher John Burroughs (books by this author) was born on a dairy farm in Roxbury, outside of Boston on this date in 1837. He was sent to the local school, where his desk was next to that of Erie Railroad Robber Baron, Jay…

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Graham Stuart Thomas

A Life in the Garden Today is the birthday of Graham Stuart Thomas. GST was fundamentally a nurseryman and he lived a life fully immersed in the garden. His passion was sparked at a young age by a special birthday present he was given when he turned six: a beautiful potted fuchsia. In 2003. his…

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Kate Brandegee

A Passion for Botany Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist Kate Brandegee. Kate was the third woman to enroll at Berkely’s medical school and the second woman to be professionally employed as a botanist in the US. After getting her MD at Berkley, she found starting a practice too daunting. Thankfully,…

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Juan Ponce de León

Festival of Flowers Juan Ponce de León claims new land for Spain. He names his discovery La Florida; in a nod to the Easter Season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers).   This post was featured onThe Daily Gardener podcast: helping gardeners find their roots, one story at a time Juan Ponce…

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Maria Sibylla Merian

Female Powerhouse Today is the birthday of a female botanical illustration powerhouse – Maria Sibylla Merian. She was born on April 2, 1647. As a frame of reference, Isaac Newton was only a few years older than her. Unlike Newton, Merian’s work was largely forgotten. However, over the past century, her work has made its…

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