August 28, 2019 Dividing Perennials, Aimee Bonpland, John James DuFour, Charles Christopher Parry, Roger Tory Peterson, Celia Laighton Thaxter, Midwest Foraging by Lisa M. Rose, Sow Winter Salad and the Tomatina Festival

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This past week, I started looking for perennials I want to divide. After the hail storm and siding installation we had earlier this month, I don’t feel too bad about digging up the plants. The garden looks tough. Might as well dig up old plants. I always start with my hostas – in part, because…

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Edwin James

Edwin James

Rocky Mountain Blue Today is the birthday of the botanist Edwin James who was born on this day in Vermont in 1797. As a young man, James compiled the very first Flora of Vermont plants. James went on one of the first expeditions of the American West from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains. He discovered…

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August 27 – National Banana Day, Maria van Oosterwijck, Edwin James, Emil Christian Hansen, Brian Lawrence Burtt, Alice Waters, Sarah Orne Jewett, Nueva Salsa by Rafael Palomino, Tall Herbs, and Cut Flowers with Ruth Cameron

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Today is National Banana Lovers Day. Botanically speaking, the banana is a berry – a many-seeded fruit. And, banana trees are not trees. The banana plant is a giant herb. Inside the guts of the banana tree trunk is a white tube. It may be cooked and tastes like bamboo shoots. Under a black light…

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Hazel Marguerite Schmoll

Hazel Marguerite Schmoll

Refreshed by Nature Today is the birthday of Hazel Marguerite Schmoll, who was born in McAlester, Kansas, on this day in 1890.   Schmoll was born in a sod cabin. Her family settled in Colorado when she was just two years old.   Schmoll was the first woman to earn a doctorate in botany from…

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August 23, 2019 Cutting Back the Garden, the Patron Saint of Gardeners, Alexander Wilson, Eliza Sullivant, Hazel Schmoll, Rose Kingsley, The Prickly Pear Cookbook by Carolyn Niethammer, Spring Plant Swap Prep, and the 1942 Michigan Botanical Club Meeting

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Sometimes I think cutting your bangs is a great analogy for pruning in the garden.   You know how when your bangs are growing out – maybe a little past your eyebrows – and you think, “I am gonna grow these bangs out. I’m gonna have amazing hair.” Then, they start to go past your…

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Edward Lee Greene

Edward Lee Greene

Becoming Catholic  Today is the birthday of Edward Lee Greene, who was born on this day in 1843. Greene performed yeoman’s work when it came to the plants of the American West, naming or describing or even re-describing over 4,400 species. Before Green made his way west, he reached out to Asa Gray of Cambridge…

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August 20, 2019 Pass-along Plants, the Patron Saint of Beekeepers, Edward Lee Green, Gettysburg Milkweed, the Plant Quarantine Act, Robert Plant, Edgar Albert Guest, Rose Recipes from Olden Times by Eleanor Sinclair Rhode, Pick Herbs, and Nerine undulata

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“You don’t have a garden just for yourself. You have it to share.” – Augusta Carter, Master Gardener, Pound Ridge, Georgia Pass-along plants have the best stories, don’t they? They have history. They have a personal history. One of my student gardeners had a grandmother who recently passed away from breast cancer. Her mom was…

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John Torrey

John Torrey

The New York Botanist Happy birthday to John Torrey, who is born on this day in 1796. Torrey was the first American botanist to study the flora of New York State. The area Torrey botanized included what is now Greenwich Village, the area of the Elgin botanic garden, which is now Rockefeller Center, and Bloomingdale,…

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August 15, 2019 Garden Turmoil, Karl von Schreibers, Elias Magnus Friesz, John Torrey, Walter Crane, Geoff Hamilton, W.H. Auden, The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr, Pickerel Weed, and Sylvia Edlund

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Last week was one of turmoil in my garden. We decided to put new windows and siding on the house. Then we decided to enjoy the ravages of a hail storm which dumped ping pong ball sized hail on the garden for about five minutes – the entire storm lasted 30 minutes. I always remind…

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John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell

Vasey’s Paradise Today, in 1869, the explorer John Wesley Powell named an area of the Grand Canyon after his botanist George Vasey. Known as Vasey’s Paradise, water spills out from the north rim of the Grand Canyon into the Colorado River. It’s a spectacular, beautiful waterfall. A year earlier, in 1868, during Powell‘s preliminary expedition, Vasey…

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August 9, 2019 Plant Surprises, Ludwig Winter, Walden, George Vasey, Helen Duranc, Bunny Melon, Richard Combe Miller, Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman, Black Lace Black Elder, Flame Tree, and San Francisco

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Every now and then, plants can surprise you. In this case, I’m talking about more than just a beautiful bloom or general survival. I’m talking about variations that could lead to exciting new varieties. This topic was covered in the newspaper out of Richmond, Indiana, on this day in 1938. Here’s what it said: “Black…

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Dr. Charles Christopher Perry

Dr. Charles Christopher Perry

Perry and Pine  It was on this day in 1880, that the Chicago Tribune wrote an article about the herbarium of Dr. Charles Christopher Perry; it contained 15,000 species and it was being presented to the Davenport Academy of Sciences.     Thirty years earlier, in 1850, Perry had written to the botanist John Torrey,…

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June 26, 2019 Moving a Bumblebee Nest, Charles Newbold, Charles Christopher Perry, The Rolling Stones, Margaret Morse Nice, Annette Wynne, Diana Wells, Planting Sunflower Seeds, and San Francisco Gardener John McLaren

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Have you ever needed to move a bumblebee nest? We discovered a nest under the basketball hoop on the driveway when the guys came to seal coat. To move it, I waited until dusk. Then I grabbed a terra cotta pot that was a little bigger than the nest… and my pizza peel from the…

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Martha Maxwell

Martha Maxwell

The Five Foot Hunter It’s the death day of naturalist, artist, and taxidermist, Martha and Maxwell, who died on this day in 1881. She helped found modern taxidermy. At just 5 feet tall, Maxwell became an accomplished hunter. One historian wrote, “What distinguished Martha from other taxidermists of the day was that Martha Maxwell always…

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