April 1, 2019 A Brand New Gardening Podcast, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, Southwood Smith, Louis MacNeice, Peter Cundall, and Tovah Martin

It's the 1st of April - April Fools Day!

April is derived from the word aperit- which means to open.

Yet, every Prince fan or northern gardener knows that sometimes it snows in April.

So, April Flowers should take heed - open at your own risk.



April is National Pecan Month, Lawn and Garden Month, Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, Soy Foods Month, National Landscape Architecture Month, and National Safe Digging Month.

  • Add 811 to your phone contacts.
  • Save it under "Digging."
  • In the notes, add a reminder to call at least three days before you dig.



It's the birthday of Peter Cundall (Books by this author). Born in 1927 - the big 92 this year.

A Tasmanian gardener, Peter was the friendly host of the long-running TV show Gardening Australia - one of the first shows committed to 100% organic practices and practical advice. Peter inspired both young and old to the garden.

In his epic "Lemon Tree Episode," Peter got a little carried away and essentially finished pruning when the tree was little more than a stump. After that, Cundallisation was synonymous with over-pruning.

Peter learned to garden as a little boy. His first garden was a vegetable patch on top of an air raid shelter in Manchester, England. His family was impoverished. His father was an abusive alcoholic. Two of his siblings died of malnutrition. Through it all, the garden brought stability, nourishment, and reprieve.

Of that time, Peter recalls,

"Lying in bed in the morning waiting for it to be light, so I could go out and get going in my garden. I used to think there was some gas given out by the soil that produced happiness."



Unearthed Words

In honor of Smith's note on the influence of light, here's a poem from Louis MacNeice (Books by this author) called Sunlight on the Garden.

Louis wrote this poem in 1936, after his divorce from Mary Ezra, and it is probably one of his best-known works. At the time, Louis lived at number 4, Keats Grove - just down the street from the romantic poet John Keats' impeccable white Georgian villa (where Keats wrote his best-loved poems.) If you're ever in London, check out Keats House and Gardens - a veritable time capsule. It has fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor. Then, drive past Keats Grove Number 4 and peak at Louis MacNeice's home and front garden - it's still very charming.

The poem contrasts lightness and darkness. Lightness is life and our experiences: the garden on a sunny day, a sky good for flying, and sitting with a loved one in the rain. The darkness is the march of time, the sunlight that fades, and the sounds of sirens and church bells that often accompany tragedy.


"Sunlight on the Garden" by Louis MacNeice

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.


Today's Book Recommendation: The New Terrarium by Tovah Martin

Today's book recommendation would have gotten a five-star review from Nathanial Bagshaw Ward: The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature by Tovah Martin (books by this author) 

Tovah offers many excellent ideas for using everyday objects as terrariums - which I also love to do.

Some of my homemade terrariums include clear cake plates, stands and covers for miniature aquatic plants, display boxes that I line with plastic, and a substantial clear vase turned upside down on an old silver platter, which is a stunning way to showcase a small orchid or fern.


Today's Garden Chore

Today's chore is to do a trellis check.

What is still standing?

What is installed?

What needs to be repaired?

What needs to go?


Here's Something Sweet

to revive the little botanic spark in your heart


What do you call it when a lighthouse, a trellis, a windstorm, a dune, and Halloween costume get together?

A beacon, lattice, and tornado sand witch.

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