Olga Owens Huckins

Olga Owens Huckins

Silent Spring January 29, 1958  On this day, a letter to the editor appeared in the Boston Herald in Section 3 on Page 14 and was titled “Evidence of Havoc by DDT.” It was written by a Duxbury resident, journalist, and nature-lover: Olga Owens Huckins. Olga and her husband, Stuart, had created a little bird…

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Paul Ecke Sr.

Paul Ecke Sr.

Mr. Poinsettia January 28, 1895 Today is the birthday of the nurseryman known as “Mr. Poinsettia,” Paul Ecke Sr. (“Eck-EE”), and he was born in Magdeburg, Germany. Paul and his family immigrated to the United States in 1906. And when Paul took over his father’s nursery business located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in the…

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Peter Collinson

Peter Collinson

“Forget not me and my garden” January 28, 1694   Today is the birthday of a Fellow of the Royal Society, an avid gardener, and a friend to many scientific leaders in London in the mid-18th century, Peter Collinson. Peter Collinson introduced nearly 200 species of plants to British horticulture – importing many from his friend…

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Charles Pfizer

Charles Pfizer

The Beginning of Pfizer January 27, 1950 On this day, Science Magazine announced a brand new antibiotic made by Charles Pfizer & Company, and it was called Terramycin. Last year, when I shared this item, I don’t think many of us were as familiar with the word Pfizer as we are today – living through the COVID-19…

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Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland January 27, 1832  Today is the birthday of the English mathematician and writer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – also known as Lewis Carroll. Lewis had worked as a librarian at Christ Church College in Oxford. His office window had a view of the Dean’s Garden. Lewis wrote in his diary on the 25th…

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Eloise Ray

Eloise Ray

The Connecticut Architect January 26, 1905 Today is the birthday of the Connecticut landscape architect Eloise Ray. In Ruth Harley’s book Pest-Proofing Your Garden, we get a little glimpse into Eloise’s approach to gardening: “Eloise confesses that she long ago gave up her battle with the local groundhog. Over the years, she determined which plants…

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Nikolai Vavilov

Nikolai Vavilov

The Giant of Plant Science January 26, 1943 Today is the anniversary of the tragic death of the Russian botanist and plant geneticist Nikolai Vavilov. Regarded as one of the giants of plant science, Nikolai established over 400 research institutes, and he brought Russian plant explorers on expeditions to more than 50 countries around the…

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Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

Darwin’s Orchid January 25, 1862 On this day, the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist Charles Darwin received a box of Orchids. Now after sorting through all of the flowers, one Orchid, in particular, caught Charles’ attention: the Angraecum sesquipedale (“ang-GRAY-kum ses-kwah-puh-doll-lee”), commonly called Darwin’s Orchid, the Christmas Orchid, the Star of Bethlehem Orchid, or the…

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Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Burns Night January 25, 1759 Today is the birthday of the Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns. Widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and celebrated worldwide, tonight is Burns Night. Each year Burns Night commemorates Robert, the beloved poet born into a poor Scottish family of farmers. A typical Burns Night includes live…

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The Douglas fir

The Douglas fir

A Northwest Native January 22, 1927 On this day, The Placer Herald out of Rocklin, California, shared a story called “Douglas Fir Entirely Distinct Tree Species.” “The Douglas fir, a native of the Northwest but now being planted extensively in the East, is becoming a famous Christmas tree. The species was named for a Scotch botanist who…

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Ellsworth Jerome Hill

Ellsworth Jerome Hill

Crawling to Canes January 22, 1917 Today is the anniversary of the death of the Presbyterian minister, writer, and American botanist Ellsworth Jerome Hill. Ellsworth was born in Leroy, New York. When Ellsworth was only 20 years old, one of his knees stopped working, and a doctor suggested he study botany. So, Ellsworth would crawl…

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Erwin Frink Smith

Erwin Frink Smith

Peach Yellows January 21, 1854 Today is the birthday of the Washington DC-based USDA botanist Erwin Frink Smith. Erwin had attempted to solve the problem of the peach yellows – a disease caused by a microorganism called a phytoplasma, and it was affecting Peach Orchards. It was called the Peach Yellows disease because the main…

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Henry Danvers

Henry Danvers

Linnaeus Filius January 20, 1741 Today is the birthday of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus the Younger, the son of the great Carl Linnaeus or Carl von Linné. To distinguish him from his famous father, he was referred to as Linnaeus filius, Latin for Linnaeus, the son. For botanical purposes, he is referred to with…

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Henry Danvers

Henry Danvers

Founder of the Oxford Botanic Garden January 20, 1643 Today is the anniversary of the death of Henry Danvers, the 1st Earl of Danby. In 1621, Henry founded the Oxford Botanic Garden, but planting didn’t start until the 1640s. As a young man, Henry was an English soldier who was outlawed after killing a rival…

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