Dame Penelope Margaret Lively

Dame Penelope Margaret Lively

Life in the Garden March 17, 1933 Today is the birthday of the great British writer of fiction for both children and adults, Dame Penelope Margaret Lively – so that makes her 88 years young today. Happy birthday, Penelope. Penelope wrote one of my favorite garden books. It’s called life in the garden, and I…

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William Withering

William Withering

Fond of Foxgloves March 17, 1741 Today is the birthday of the English botanist geologist, physician, and chemist William Withering. William became the very first person to study the bioactivity of the flower known as Digitalis or Foxglove. In this respect, William’s training as a physician served him well. And the story goes that one…

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Martinus Beijerinck

Martinus Beijerinck

A Vision of Viruses March 16, 1851 And today is the birthday of the Dutch microbiologist and botanist Martinus Beijerinck (“By-a-rink”). Now Martinus was a very smart man – a very brilliant botanist – and he was searching for the reason that tobacco plants were dying. And to do his research, Martin ground up some…

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Anna Children Atkins

Anna Children Atkins

The First Book of Photographs March 16, 1799 Today is the birthday of the English botanist and photographer Anna Children Atkins who was born on this day, March 16th in 1799. Anna is often regarded as the very first person to have published a book that was illustrated with photographs. Anna’s photographs were extraordinary, and…

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Liberty Hyde Bailey

Liberty Hyde Bailey

The Father of Modern Horticulture March 15, 1858  Today is the birthday of the American horticulturist and botanist who co-founded the American Society for Horticultural Science, Liberty, Hyde Bailey, who was born on this day, March 15th in 1858.   We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Liberty Hyde Bailey. He is responsible for…

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Archibald Menzies

Archibald Menzies

The Monkey Puzzle Tree and The Piggyback Plant March 15, 1754 Today is the birthday of the Scottish surgeon, botanist, and naturalist Archibald Menzies. Now there’s a famous story about Archibald that goes something like this: One time, Joseph Banks sent Archibald on an expedition. At some point, Joseph ended up dining with the leadership…

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A Year in Our Gardens

A Year in Our Gardens

A Real Gardener’s Word March 12, 2001 On this day Nancy Goodwin of the landmark Montrose Gardens and Allen Lacy American garden writer and columnist launched their garden book called A Year in Our Gardens. This is one of my favorite books and it’s a collection of the letters that Alan and Nancy exchanged during a…

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Jean White-Haney

Jean White-Haney

The Prickly Pear March 11, 1877 Today is the birthday of the Australian botanist Jean White-Haney. Before I tell you Jean’s story, it’s important to remember that Prickly Pear Cactus is not native to Australia. A man named Captain Arthur Phillip brought the Prickly Pear from Rio de Janeiro to Australia way back in 1787.…

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Pierre Jean François Turpin

Pierre Jean François Turpin

Botanical Watercolors March 11, 1775 Today is the birthday of French botanist and illustrator Pierre Jean François Turpin. Pierre learned botany from a friend, Pierre Antoine Poiteau, who was a botanist, gardener, and botanical artist. And though we know that he had some help learning botany from his friend Poiteau, Pierre actually taught himself to…

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Laurence Binyon

Laurence Binyon

For the Fallen March 10, 1943  Today is the anniversary of the death of the English poet, dramatist, and art scholar Laurence Binyon. During Laurence’s time at Trinity College, Oxford, he won the Newdigate poetry prize. Some of Laurence’s work referenced the garden as in this beautiful verse about spring: They will come again, the…

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John Torrey

John Torrey

The Flora of New York State March 10, 1796   Today is the birthday of the American botanist John Torrey. John was the first American botanist to study the flora of New York State. And, the area John botanized included what is now Greenwich Village, the area of the Elgin Botanic Garden (“el-GG-IN”), which is now…

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Vite Sackville West

Vita Sackville West

White Garden March 9, 1892 Today is the birthday of the English author and garden designer, Vita Sackville West. In 1930, Sissinghurst Castle – at least what was left of it – was bought by Vita and her husband – the diplomat, and journalist, Harold Nicolson. Together, they restored the house and created the famous…

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Karl Foerster

Karl Foerster

The Potsdam Plant Breeder March 9, 1874 Today is the birthday of the revered German plant breeder, writer, and garden designer Karl Foerster. Now Karl was born into an intellectual and accomplished family. His father was an astronomer, and his mother was a famous painter. Many gardeners are surprised to learn that Karl began gardening…

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William Roscoe

William Roscoe

The Butterfly Ball and Grasshopper Feast March 8, 1753 Today is the birthday of the Liverpool poet, historian, botanist, and politician William Roscoe. William grew up in the Presbyterian church. He learned his love of poetry from his mother, and he’d helped his father with his work as a market gardener. As an adult, William…

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