Gratitude for Light

Gratitude for Light

by Marjorie Harris In my climate, the hours of daylight are few, the number of sunny hours even fewer. We trudge through the gloom day after day, all through January and February. But when the sun does shine, it carries a magnificence, unlike any other time. Perhaps our gratitude for light makes it so, but…

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Alice Eastwood

Alice Eastwood

The 1906 Earthquake January 19, 1859 Today is the birthday of one of our botanical greats: Alice Eastwood. A self-taught botanist, Alice is remembered for saving almost 1500 specimens from a burning building following the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Afterward, Alice wrote about the specimens that didn’t make it: “I do not feel the…

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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The Glory of the Garden January 18, 1936 Today is the anniversary of the death of the English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist, Rudyard Kipling. One of England’s most famous writers, Rudyard, purchased a property called Bateman’s in East Sussex in 1902. Rudyard called it his “good and peaceable place.” From the onset, Rudyard envisioned…

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Alan Alexander Milne

Alan Alexander Milne

The Inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh January 18, 1882 Today is the birthday of the English author, best known for his books about a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh, Alan Alexander Milne. In 2015 the garden historian Kathryn Aalto wrote a book that explored the iconic landscape around Alan’s second home, Cotchford Farm in England. Surrounded by fields…

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Richard Buxton

Richard Buxton

The Lancashire Botanist January 15, 1786 Today is the birthday of the British shoemaker and amateur botanist Richard Buxton. Born into poverty in Lancashire, as a young boy, Richard enjoyed picking his favorite wildflowers: Germander Speedwell, Creeping Tormentil or Cinquefoil, and Common Chickweed. Now, although it has pretty deep blue flowers, I think it’s a little…

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Marie-Anne Libert

Marie-Anne Libert

One of the First Female Plant Pathologists January 14, 1865 Today is the anniversary of the death of the Belgian botanist, mycologist, and one of the first women plant pathologists, Marie-Anne Libert. Born in 1782, Marie-Anne was the twelfth of thirteen children in her middle-class family. Her parents immediately recognized her intellect, and they sent…

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Pierre-Joseph Redouté

Pierre-Joseph Redouté

The Flower Painter January 14, 1825 On this day, King Charles X honored the Belgian botanical illustrator Pierre-Joseph Redouté with the Legion of Honor. Redouté was born into a Flemish family of painters. His family made a living by creating paintings for the home and for the church. Today, Redouté is one of the most…

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Holly and Ivy

Holly and Ivy

by Beth Chatto Holly and ivy are the primary images of many Christmas cards, symbols of life carrying on when much else appears dead or has vanished beneath the frozen surface. I would almost go so far as to say they should be in every garden, but perhaps I should substitute “something evergreen” instead of…

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Joseph Francis Rock

Joseph Francis Rock

Hawaii’s First Botanist January 13, 1884 Today is the birthday of the eccentric Hawaiian-based botanist, anthropologist, and explorer Joseph Francis Rock. Joseph was born in Austria but ended up immigrating to the United States before eventually settling in Hawaii, where he was beloved. In fact, Joseph became Hawaii’s first official botanist. Joseph started teaching as…

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John Gilbert Baker

John Gilbert Baker

Keeper of the Herbarium January 13, 1834 Today is the birthday of the botanist and former Keeper of the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden Kew, John Gilbert Baker. Regarded as the most-revered British field botanist of his time, John had a profound understanding of plants and an earnest desire to preserve them. Professionally, John…

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Jean Jules Linden

Jean Jules Linden

Appreciation for Orchids January 12, 1898 Today is the anniversary of the death of the 19th-century Belgian botanist, explorer, horticulturist, rare orchid hunter, and businessman Jean Jules Linden. Before he reached 20, Jean began collecting rare orchids in South America. In 1844, Jean discovered the Dendrophylax lindenii or the Ghost orchid in Cuba. But there…

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Wintersweet

Wintersweet

by Rosemary Verey One day 27 years ago, long before I became an enthusiastic gardener, my husband came home with a bush of wintersweet, given to him by an old lady from her garden. [The woman] said it would not flower for seven years and then forever after would do so generously. She was right.…

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Joseph Charles Arthur

Joseph Charles Arthur

Vive Purdue January 11, 1850 Today is the birthday of the American pioneer botanist, plant pathologist, and mycologist, Joseph Charles Arthur. Known for his work with a group of plant fungus known as rusts, Joseph became the first department chair for Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University. Joseph held the chair position for half…

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William Curtis

William Curtis

Flora Londiniensis January 11, 1746 Today is the birthday of the botanist, entomologist, and founder of the influential Curtis Botanical Magazine, William Curtis. William had started life as an apothecary, but in short order, he discovered that it could not hold his interest. Sir James Edward Smith recalled that William loved being a naturalist more…

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