April 26, 2019 Placement of Early Spring Bloomers, Eugene Delacroix, Charles Townes, Irma Franzen-Heinrichsdorff, John J. Audobon, Frederick Law Olmsted, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh, Justin Martin, Photo Friday, Anna Eliza Reed Woodcock, and the Michigan State Flower
How close are your earliest bloomers to your front door?
Your crocus, snowdrops, iris, daffodils, tulips, forsythia, daphnes, and magnolias?
When I redid my front garden last year, the designer had put all my earliest bloomers right near the front porch and walk. When I asked her reasoning, she reminded me of our long winters. Her advice was spot-on: When spring finally arrives, it's much more pleasurable to have those earliest blooms where you can see them first thing when you walk out your front door.
#OTD It's the birthday of Eugene Delacroix born on this day in 1798.
Delacroix is widely considered as one of the last great history painters. A son of France, he received his artistic training in Paris and was a major figure among the French Romance painters of the 19th century. His striking 'A Vase of Flowers' (1833) shows a crystal vase filled mostly with dahlias. It is his earliest surviving flower painting.
#OTD American physicist Charles Townes sat on a park bench on this day in 1951 and came up with the theory that would lead to the laser.
"I woke up early in the morning and sat in the park. It was a beautiful day and the flowers were blooming."
#OTD It's the birthday of Irma Franzen-Heinrichsdorff, a German-born landscape architect.
In 1913, she attended the Elmwood School of Gardening. In the 1980's she recounted the experience in ten handwritten pages. Here's an excerpt:
At 10:15 we went outside and did the currently necessary work in the fruit, vegetable or flower garden.
Every kind of vegetable was cultivated. Countless flowers were multiplied through seeds, cuttings, etc. to be sold in the spring or fall.
The morning hours passed quickly. At 1 o'clock we stopped work. At 1:30 we had lunch, and at 2:30 we went back to work until 4:30. We then drank tea and at 7 o'clock we appeared in festive evening dress for dinner. In the summer we had the same hours of work except for an extra hour in our greenhouse from 7 to 8 o'clock to water and spray our thirsty plants.
But I must add, even if it means praising ourselves, that we did not content ourselves with the times I indicated. We were often found in the garden at 6 o'clock if not at 5 o'clock or even earlier. Also in the evenings we preferred to be active outside. Miss Wheeler had never had students as eager as we were.
#OTD John James Audubon was born in Haiti on this day in 1785.
“A true conservationist…knows the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children”
A naturalist and a lover of birds, The Ottowa Daily Republic published a charming story about his burial.
"John J. Audobon, the naturalist and bird lover, is buried in Trinity, cemetery. There has been erected over his grave an Iona cross; the arms of which are connected by a circular band of stone, making apertures of the four corners at the intersection.
In one of these, (apertures) robins built a nest last month. This fell under the eye of a caretaker, who got a pole and dislodged the nest. The birds flew about disconsolately for a time, then went away.
So far as any one knows, Audubon did not turn over in his grave, neither did any of the carved birds on the [cross] cry out."
#OTD in 1822 visionary 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was born.
He was born to a prosperous family in Hartford, Connecticut. Aside from his legacy as a landscape architect, Olmsted dedicated his entire life to social reform. In many ways, his designs for public spaces played an important role in his social work. His vision for Central Park was an ordered oasis for all of the city’s social classes, where everyone could come together and enjoy nature.
Dubbed the Nation's Foremost Parkmaker, Olmsted designed Boston's Emerald Necklace, Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.
Considered the father of American landscape architecture, he situated his design firm in Brookline and named it Fairsted - a likely nod to his family's ancestral home in England.
In 1893 he helped design the Chicago World's Fair.
It was Frederick Law Olmsted who said,
“The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it.”
"The root of all my good work is an early respect for, regard and enjoyment of scenery."
Every April, one should read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's thoughts about Spring.
This passage is from his "Kavanagh," written in 1849. It's a lovely reminder to appreciate spring's unfolding.
“Ah, how wonderful is the advent of the Spring!—the great annual miracle…. which no force can stay, no violence restrain, like love, that wins its way and cannot be withstood by any human power, because itself is divine power. If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation would there be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change!… We are like children who are astonished and delighted only by the second-hand of the clock, not by the hour-hand.”
Today's book recommendation
The genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin
In addition to his marvelous professional legacy, this book offers an intimate look at the personal life of Frederick Law Olmsted. His momentous career was rivaled by a tragic personal life, and it's fully portrayed in this book.
Today's Garden Chore
It's another Photo Friday.
Today take photos of the edges of your beds. Evaluate the lines. Examine your plant choices. Do they belong on the edges? Consider incorporating edibles like onions or garlic to the edges of your borders where they are easy to harvest.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
On this week, in 1897, a woman named Anna Eliza Reed Woodcock took some branches off her flowering apple tree and brought via wheelbarrow down Capitol Avenue to the Michigan Statehouse.
While at the Statehouse, Woodcock adorned the office of the Speaker of the House with the blooming branches. Woodcock had been looking out her kitchen window and had seen her apple trees in bloom. She thought it would make a great state flower. Knowing that the Legislature was going to be voting on a state flower, she hoped her Apple Blossom branches would have some influence... and they did.
Woodcock's victory with the Legislature sparked a passion for apple blossoms. She said,
"I feel my apple blossoms have taken me to the top of the world."
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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