April 11, 2019 Yearlong Care of the Garden, Luther Burbank , Yogi Yogananda, Elsie Elizabeth Esterhuysen, John Paulus Lotsy, Ogden Nash, Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Treat, A New Garden Tote, and the Clark Botanic Garden
How much do you care for your garden?
Do your time and attention stay pretty constant throughout the season?
If not, why not?
What would your garden look like in August if you loved it then as much as you do now?
What do you need to do to sustain a high level of care for your garden all season long?
Fewer tomato or pepper plants?
More raised beds?
Getting regular garden time committed on the calendar?
Removing high maintenance plants?
#OTD Luther Burbank died today in 1926 (Books By This Author). His friend, Yogi Yogananda wrote Autobiography of a Yogi - a book many people find inspiring including Andrew Weil, George Harrison, and Steve Jobs - who read it annually.
Yogananda later dedicated the entire book to “Luther Burbank, an American Saint”, and he wrote about Luther’s death, saying:
"In tears, I thought,
'Oh, I would gladly walk all the way from here to Santa Rosa for one more glimpse of him! Locking myself away from secretaries and visitors, I spent the next twenty-four hours in seclusion.'"
#OTD Today we celebrate the birthday of a South African who had many botanical triumphs; Botanist Elsie Elizabeth Esterhuysen. She’s been described as "the most outstanding collector ever of South African Flora", collecting 36,000 herbarium species.
A botanist at the Bolus Herbarium in Cape Town, Elsie was beyond humble. She would never publish the results of her work under her own name. There are 56 species and two genera named after her. The saying, "if you want to be immortal collect good herbarium specimens” is certainly reflected in Elsie Esterhuysen’s botanical legacy.
After Elsie died, over 200 people gathered at her memorial gathering - which featured three tributes from her botanical family.
Botanist John Rourke recalled,
"Elsie returned to Cape Town in 1938. It was here that her real career began when she joined the Bolus Herbarium (Figure 2) under another formidable woman. Dr Louisa Bolus. […] It’s an astonishing fact that for the first 18 years of her employment she received no proper salary and was paid out of petty cash at a rate not much better than a laborer.
She did not collect randomly; Elsie was above all an intelligent collector, seeking range extensions, local variants, or even new species, filling voids in the Bolus Herbarium’s records, often returning months later to collect seeds or fruits that were of diagnostic importance. […] Always self deprecating, one of her favorite comments was ‘I’m only filling in gaps’.”
Botanist Peter Linder said,
“She was what I thought a botanist was supposed to be. She was in the mountains every weekend, and came back with big black plastic bags full of plants, that she sorted and passed to Gert Syster to press. She was the one person who could put names on plants that defeated my attempts. And she had little time for academic niceties—for her the important things were plants in the mountains, their welfare, their relationships. She was immersed in plants and mountains.”
"Elsie taught me that each species has an essence, a character—that it liked some habitats but not others and that it flowered at a particular time. She was curious about the plants, not because they informed her about some theory or other, but she was interested in the plants themselves—she cared about them.”
Botanist Ted Oliver remembered,
"Her mode of transport was the bicycle (we have her latest model here today). She rode to the University of Cape Town up that dreadful steep road every day for a lifetime, come sunshine or rain, heat or cold. Now one knows why she was so fit and could outstrip any poor unsuspecting younger botanist in the mountains! Every day she would come up and park her bicycle behind the Bolus Herbarium building and then often jump through the window in the preparation section rather than walk all the way around to the front door.”
A newspaper cutting found among her personal effects after her death showed a side of Elsie that none of her coworkers knew existed. It was from the local Kimberley newspaper (undated) and reported on a Reading on life and works of Franz Schubert at a meeting of the Kimberley Philharmonic Society. The lecture was given by Miss E. Esterhuysen. It was preceded by another describing Burchell’s travels in South Africa during Schubert’s time and was followed by "a delightful short program of the composer’s music played as piano solos by Miss Esterhuysen".
#OTD Happy birthday to the eminent Dutch botanist and geneticist born in Dordrecht John Paulus Lotsy (April 11, 1867), author of “Some Euphorbiaceae from Guatemala” (1895).” He spent two years from 1893 to 1895 at Johns Hopkins University and presented his entire Herbarium to the Baltimore Women’s College. The collection was started when Lotsy was a boy and Lotsy himself gathered every specimen personally. Before leaving for an appointment as botanist to the Dutch Botanical Gardens in Java (known as the Garden of the East), Lotsy gifted his entire herbarium - which contained about six thousand species, being especially rich in the flowering plants of Europe, in the desert Hora of Algiers, in algae, lichens, cryptogams, mosses, seeds, and water plants.
Dr. Goucher, of Johns Hopkins, acknowledged,
"The special value of the herbarium, is that it is collected by an eminent botanist not merely to contain as many species as possible, but to afford illustration of the principles of vegetable morphology and of adaptation of plants to peculiar conditions of environment."
John Paulus Lotsy died in Amersterdam at the age of 64.
Always Marry An April Girl
by Ogden Nash (Books By This Author)
Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.
Today's book recommendation: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
In honor of the work of botanist Elsie Elizabeth Esterhuysen, today’s book recommendation is: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (Kingsolver has a background in biology). Although it's a fictional book, it features naturalist Mary Treat, who corresponds with Darwin and a character who risks his job to teach evolution.
In real life, Treat actually exchanged letters with Darwin & Asa Gray. She is referenced in Darwin's book Insectivorous Plants. She published 5 books and over 70 articles; there are four species named after her. She studied insects, carnivorous plants, and general botany. Treat put spiders in candy jars filled with moss and plants -
"so that my nervous lady friends may admire the plants without being shocked with the knowledge that each of these jars is the home of a spider."
Treat talked to all living things; she was an amazing woman who helped establish our understanding of carnivorous plants.
Today's Garden Chore
Feel spiffy. Buy a new garden tote.
I like the new one at Target from Smith and Hawken. It's the 18.7" x 14" Canvas Garden Tool Tote Green - Smith & Hawken™
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
As part of Clark Botanic Garden’s 50th Anniversary in Albertson NY, the Town is hosting a photo exhibit featuring photos by residents and visitors of the garden. There will be a reception for the opening of the exhibit tonight at 6 p.m. There’s a link in the show notes to view the photos online: https://bit.ly/2EzgU2R.
Don’t forget to join them for “Sundays in the Garden” year-long lecture series of presentations to commemorate the big 5-0!
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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