Francis Ledwidge

The Poet of the Blackbirds Today is the anniversary of the death of the Irish war poet and soldier Francis Ledwidge. Francis grew up in the Irish countryside. When he became a writer, he established himself as the “poet of the blackbirds.” Francis was killed in action during World War I at the Battle of…

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Sydney Dylan Ripley

The Louvre Inspiration It was on this day that the horticulture program at the Smithsonian Gardens was established by Sydney Dylan Ripley, who served as the secretary of the Smithsonian. An American ornithologist and conservationist, Sidney had been inspired by the area around the Louvre in France as a child. With the Louvre always in…

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Daniel Defoe

Put in the Pillory  It was on this day in 1703 that the English journalist and author Daniel Defoe was made to stand in the pillory in front of the temple bar. Daniel is remembered for his popular novel Robinson Crusoe which, at the time, claimed to be second to the Bible in its number…

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Richard Morris Hunt

Gilded Age Architect Today is the anniversary of the death of Richard Morris Hunt, who was an American architect during the gilded age. Gardeners know Richard for his collaborations with Frederick Law Olmsted. They worked together on the Vanderbilt mausoleum and the Chicago world‘s fair. Their ultimate collaboration occurred in Asheville, North Carolina, where they…

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Mary Vaux Walcott

The Audobon of Botany  It’s the birthday of the botanical illustrator Mary Vaux Walcott who born in Philadelphia on this day. Gardeners appreciate Mary for her meticulously accurate watercolors of plants and flowers. For this reason, Mary is regarded as the “Audobon of Botany.” Mary began her career as an illustrator one summer after being challenged…

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Our Fear That Summer Will Be Short

by Ralph Waldo Emerson Our fear of death is like our fear that summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit, and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day. As featured onThe Daily Gardener podcast: Words inspired by the garden are the…

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by Hanshan You have seen the blossoms among the leaves; tell me, how long will they stay? Today they tremble before the hand that picks them; tomorrow they await someone’s garden broom. As featured onThe Daily Gardener podcast: Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all.

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Emily Brontë

The Brontë Garden  It’s the birthday of the author and poet Emily Brontë. Emily’s older sister, by two years, was Charlotte. Her younger sister and closest friend was Anne. They were two peas in a pod. Emily’s mom died when she was three. She lost two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth when she was six.…

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Ellis Rowan

Ellis the Explorer Today is the birthday of the Australian artist and botanical illustrator Ellis Rowan. In a 1994 newspaper article, Sarah Guest described Ellis this way: “She was an explorer. She set off alone at 68, for Papua New Guinea – and died in 1922.  She dyed her hair red; had a face-lift; left…

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by Alfred Joyce Kilmer If I should live in a forest And sleep underneath a tree, No grove of impudent saplings Would make a home for me. I’d go where the old oaks gather, Serene and good and strong, And they would not sigh and tremble And vex me with a song. As featured onThe…

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Spring

by Alfred Joyce Kilmer The air is like a butterfly With frail blue wings. The happy earth looks at the sky And sings. As featured onThe Daily Gardener podcast: Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all. Alfred Joyce Kilmer

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by Alfred Joyce Kilmer I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of…

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Vincent Van Gogh

Fifteen Sunflowers Today is the anniversary of the death of the artist Vincent Van Gogh. After shooting himself in the stomach, Vincent managed to get back to his home and live for two additional days before dying beside a stack of his sunflower canvases. In March of 1987, his painting titled Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers…

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Ryan Gainey

A Bountiful Life  It’s the anniversary of the death of the landscape designer extraordinaire, Ryan Gainey. Ryan died trying to save his two beloved Jack Russell terrier’s, Jellybean Leo and Baby Ruth, from a fire at his home. Neither he nor his dogs survived. When it came to landscape design, Ryan was entirely self-taught. In…

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