Frances Garnet Wolseley

Gardening for Women December 24, 1936  Today is the anniversary of the death of the influential English gardening author and instructor, Frances Garnet Wolseley. A lifelong single lady, Frances devoted herself to gardening and gardening education. In 1902, on her thirtieth birthday, Frances created the Glynde College for Lady Gardeners on her father’s garden in…

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Robert Dick

Dunnet Head Lighthouse December 24, 1866 Today is the anniversary of the death of the Scottish geologist, botanist, and baker Robert Dick. The artist Joanne B. Kaar recently created a replica of Robert’s moss box to honor his work. This was a little box that Robert used to carry moss back to his bakery. Now…

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President Benjamin Harrison

Baby McKee December 24, 1889 On this day, the White House’s first Christmas tree was set in place to delight “Baby McKee,” the favorite grandson and namesake of President Benjamin Harrison. A 1967 article from the Indianapolis Star said, “There had never been a Christmas tree in the White House before. Some people thought the…

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John Jay

A Founding Father December 23, 1745 Today is the birthday of the American Founding Father and gardener John Jay. When he wasn’t serving as the second Governor of New York and the United States’ first Chief Justice, John Jay loved to garden. John’s ancestral home was in Rye, New York. And today, the Jay Heritage…

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Francis Masson

South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom December 23, 1805  Today is the anniversary of the death of the Scottish gardener, botanical illustrator, and the very first plant hunter for Kew, Francis Masson. After proving himself capable at Kew, Joseph Banks sent Francis on an expedition to southern Africa, where he met up with the Swedish botanist…

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David Hosack

American Eden December 22, 1835 Today is the anniversary of the death of the doctor and botanist David Hosack. He was 65. In 2018, David Hosack’s story was brilliantly told in the biography by Victoria Johnson called American Eden. David was a New Yorker and he was a leading doctor in America during the early days…

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George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans December 22, 1880  Today is the 140th anniversary of the death of the English Victorian author George Eliot. George Eliot was the pen name for a woman named Mary Ann Evans, and her many works like Silas Marner and Middlemarch are packed with images from the garden. To Mary Ann, plants were the perfect…

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William B. Arnett

The Tulsa Greenhouse December 22, 1928 Today is the birthday of the president and owner of Tulsa Greenhouse and Four State Wholesale, William B. Arnett. The origins of Bill’s greenhouse went back to 1916, when it was founded by Gordon Vernon Voight back in the early days of Tulsa. During the depression, Bill’s dad and…

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Robert Brown

Brownian Motion December 21, 1773 Today is the birthday of Scottish botanist Robert Brown. Robert made important contributions to botany and (science in general) through his pioneering use of the microscope. In particular, Robert is best known for being the first to notice the natural continuous movement of minute particles. Today we call that phenomenon…

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Rosemary Verey

Queen of the Traditional English Country Garden December 21, 1918  Today is the birthday of the English garden designer, lecturer, prolific garden writer, and one of the greatest gardeners of the 20th century, Rosemary Verey. Regarded as the “Queen of the Traditional English Country Garden,” Rosemary’s garden masterpiece is a blend of nature and geometry,…

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Mistletoe

A Parasitic Plant December 21, 1997 On this day, The Saskatoon Sun, out of Saskatchewan, Canada, shared an article about the tradition of mistletoe. “Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is partially parasitic. As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches of trees, sending out roots that penetrate into the branches to take…

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Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

The Father of Evolutionary Theory December 18, 1829  Today is the anniversary of the death of a French naturalist, biologist, and academic, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Lamarck died lonely, blind, and impoverished in Paris on this day in 1829. He was buried in a common grave. Regarded as the Father of Evolutionary Theory, Lamarck paved the way…

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David Austin

The Constance Spry December 18, 2018 Today is the second anniversary of the death of the rose breeder and writer David Austin. When David passed away, I found some old advertisements that he posted in The Observer in 1973. That post was already twelve years after creating his first commercially available Rose – the Constance…

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Lady Cromer

Bathrooms Like Gardens December 18, 1930 On this day, The Boston Globe shared a little snippet called “Bathrooms like Gardens.” Here’s an excerpt: “Lady Cromer has her favorite flower, the iris, as the motif of her bathroom. The walls are painted with growing irises in flower on the bank of a river, the river being…

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