May 3, 2019 National Garden Meditation Day, Walter Elias Broadway, Henry Shaw, Saks 5th Avenue, Valley of Flowers Festival, Charles Joseph Sauriol, American Eden, Victoria Johnson, Panoramic Photos, and Remembering Plant Names

Today is National Garden Meditation Day.

Forget about your troubles

Go to the garden (if you're not there already).

Feel the breeze or the sprinkles.

Smell the rain.

Look at all the signs of life around you... all the shades of green emerging from the ground.

Listen to the sound of spring.

Garden time is restorative and resetting.

Use #GardenMeditationDay today when you post on social media.





#OTD Born on this day in 1863, Walter Elias Broadway, a Kew gardener and authority on West Indian plants.

Broadway was recognized by George V for his work in horticulture, although his career was shaded by bad blood with his supervisor John Hart and a drinking problem.

In 1888, Kew sent Broadway to Trinidad and Tobago to take up the newly created role of Assistant Superintendent of the Royal Botanic Garden.

Initially, everything seemed wonderful; the islands were a tropical plant-lovers paradise, and there was already a botanic garden and herbarium in place. All Broadway needed to do was launch himself into learning everything he could about the tropical plants without a definitive reference to guide him. How hard could that be?

Along the way, his eagerness to get plant id's from Kew and the British Museum led him to go around his boss. It wasn't long before Hart required Broadway to funnel all of his collected specimens through him. Things deteriorated further when Hart ordered Broadway to devote his discretionary time to the garden - calling him in from his beloved field time and severely limiting his ability to collect new plant specimens.

Broadway found other pursuits to bring him joy and satisfaction. He adored learning about the history of Trinidad. He found he loved to collect insect specimens. He helped found the Trinidad Field Naturalists' Club. Despite Hart's limitations, Walter Broadway truly mastered the art of plant collecting.

Broadway took the chance to get away from day to day with Hart when the curator of the Botanic Gardens in Grenada opened up. It was there that he started collecting for private herbariums. It didn't make him rich, but it helped alleviate his frequent financial difficulties.

Broadway spent over a decade in Grenada before heading to neighboring Tobago. By 1908, Hart had been forced to retire. Broadway resumed collecting with great zeal; he even sent mosses to Elisabeth Britton.

By 1915, Broadway was transferred back to Trinidad. He continued exploring remote parts of the island to collect plants.

Broadway retired in 1923, and he lived his final years in Trinidad - the island that had stolen his heart. His devotion to the natural world never waned, and he was always on the lookout for new or interesting plants to sell to his private clientele. Although a flora of Trinidad and Tobago was published in 1928, Broadway was not a part of it. That said, much of the works cited references Broadway's collections - there was simply no disputing his collecting contributions.

Botanist Andrew Carr described Broadway as:

"an exceptionally fine man. Entirely unselfish in spirit, he was always ready to share his vast knowledge of the botany of the island with other interested persons. I shall never forget his joy at discovering a new species of moss in a drain in Oxford Street. He was regarded, and justifiably so, as a walking encyclopedia on the botany of these parts ... "

Today, at the annual flower show of The Trinidad & Tobago, the Walter Elias Broadway Memorial Trophy is awarded for the best foliage plant exhibit.




#OTD On this day in 1819, botanist and philanthropist Henry Shaw arrived in St. Louis.

St. Louis had been founded over fifty years before Shaw's arrival, and the population by 1820 was just over 10,000 people.

Shaw is commemorated on the St. Louis Walk of Fame with this epitaph:

"Henry Shaw, only 18 when he came to St. Louis, was one of the city’s largest landowners by age 40. Working with leading botanists, he planned, funded and built the Missouri Botanical Garden, which opened in 1859. Shaw donated the land for Tower Grove Park and helped with its construction. He wrote botanical tracts, endowed Washington University’s School of Botany, helped found the Missouri Historical Society, and gave the city a school and land for a hospital. Of Shaw’s gifts, the Botanical Garden is best-known. Said as early as 1868 to have “no equal in the United States, and, indeed, few anywhere in the world."

In addition to the Botanical Garden, Shaw built the Linnean House in 1882. It is the oldest continuously operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River and was originally designed to be an orangery, a place to overwinter citrus trees, palms, and tree ferns.


#OTD On this day in 2015, all Saks Fifth Avenue stores simultaneously revealed their month-long May spring theme of Glam Gardens, and each store was transformed into a garden paradise.

Beauty-themed garden installations flourished in windows and throughout the stores with floral themes in the Glam Gardens catalog and on With the help of 35 beauty and fragrance vendors, Saks Fifth Avenue created individual gardenscapes within each window, woven into magnificent floral façades. To achieve the look, over 120 boxwood balls, ten full-grown climbing topiary trees, and more than 100,000 flowers were installed. Like the store’s iconic holiday windows, each garden vignette offered a distinctive botanical world to inspire customers and create conversations.

Mark Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer, Saks Fifth Avenue lauded the Glam Gardens event, saying,

“Through Glam Gardens we have created a breathtaking living tribute to Mother Nature. Spring fragrance and color inspirations will be brought to life through blooming cascades of floral artistry. We hope to bring an element of delight to all who visit Saks this season.”



Today, Friday, May 3 - Sunday, May 5, marks the annual Valley of Flowers Festival in Florissant, Missouri.

One of the oldest settlements in the state of Missouri, the Flowers Festival has been held in Florissant every year since 1963. Established by French settlers, the village was originally called "Fleurissant," meaning "Blooming." Originally a separate town, it's now an inner suburb of St. Louis.




Unearthed Words

#OTD, An esteemed son of Toronto, was born on this day in 1904: Naturalist Charles Joseph Sauriol, (May 3, 1904 – December 16, 1995); a one-man conservation powerhouse - saving of many natural areas in Ontario and across Canada.

It's so easy to feel connected to Sauriol; his diary entries are shared by on their fabulous twitter feed - a wonderful thing to follow.

Charles Sauriol owned property in the Don River valley and was an advocate for the valley's preservation.

Even as a teenager, he loved it, writing in an unpublished manuscript:

“The perfume I liked was the smell of a wood fire. Planting seed or trees was preferable to throwing one’s seed around recklessly... The dance floor I knew best was a long carpet of Pine needles.”

In 1927 he purchased a 40-hectare property at the Forks of the Don. He used this as a cottage, and every year, he and his wife and four kids stayed there during the summer. There were ducks, a goat, and a pet raccoon named Davy, who followed Sauriol around like a dog.

At the end of his first summer at the cottage in Don Valley, Sauriol wrote about leaving the place he loved:

With summer’s heat the weeks sped by,
And springtime streams did all but dry.
But days grew short and followed on,
Oh, blissful memory of the Don.
Of you we think with saddened heart,
Our time is up and we must part.




Today's book recommendation: American Eden by Victoria Johnson

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, by Award-winning historian and author Victoria Johnson

Johnson will deliver the 2019 John Dwyer Public Lecture at 4 p.m. today in the Shoenberg Auditorium at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Johnson’s illustrated lecture features her new book, American Eden, which both the Wall Street Journal and Ron Chernow, author of Alexander Hamilton, have called “captivating.” David Hosack established the nation's first public botanical garden, including plants from South America, Asia, and Australia, in the early 1800s. Today, his former garden is the site of Rockefeller Center.



Today's Garden Chore

It's another Photo Friday in the Garden.

In honor of garden meditation day, bring your smartphone to the garden and take a panoramic photo of your favorite spot. You might have to practice doing this a few times, and if you don't know how you can watch a quick YouTube video for help. Once you've finished, you'll have your favorite spot with you at all times, and you can meditate in your garden even you're away.




Something Sweet

Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

While researching Henry Shaw, I stumbled on a story that reveals Shaw's great love for the plants in his garden.

It was posted in the St. Louis Star and Times on April 5, 1933

"Mr. Shaw was escorting a lady through his gardens, pointing out objects of interest.

The visitor said: " I cannot understand, Sir, how you are able to remember all of these difficult names."

He replied, with a courtly bow, "Madame, did you ever know a mother to forget the names of her children? These plants and flowers are my little ones."



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