"Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton was so obliging as to lend me this copy of Mons. le Page's History of Louisiana in June 1803.It has been since conveyed by me to the Pacific ocean through the interior of North America on my late tour thither and is now returned to its proprietor by his friends and obedient servant,Meriwether Lewis.Philadelphia, May 9, 1807."
#OTD On this day in 1888 in Delaware, the Peach Blossom was voted in as the State Flower.
21 Nov 1859
My dear Sir
Once commenced to read the ‘Origin’ I could not rest till I had galloped through the whole. I shall now begin to re-read it more deliberately. Meantime I am tempted to write you the first impressions, not doubting that they will in the main be the permanent impressions.
1st. Your leading idea will assuredly become recognized as an established truth in science, i.e. “natural selection”. (It has the characteristics of all great natural truths, clarifying what was obscure, simplifying what was intricate, adding greatly to previous knowledge). You are the greatest Revolutionist in natural history of this century, if not of all centuries.
2d. You will perhaps need in some degree to limit or modify, ... the principle of ‘natural selection’.
3d. Now these novel views are brought fairly before the scientific public, it seems truly remarkable how so many of them could have failed to see their right road sooner...
A quarter century ago, you & I must have been in something like the same state of mind, on the main question. But you were able to see & work out the quo modo of the succession, the all-important thing, while I failed to grasp it. ...
How greatly this, with your chronology of animal life, will shock the ideas of many men!
very sincerely | Hewett C. Watson C. Darwin | Esqe
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2540,” accessed on 26 April 2019, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2540
Today's book recommendation: A Nation in Bloom: Celebrating the People, Plants & Places of the Royal Horticultural Society by Matthew Biggs
This is an excellent book for gardeners. The photos are glorious and it's really the best of gardening at the RHS. If you get yourself a copy, you'll love it! Great gift, too.
Here's a brief overview from the publisher:
"The foreword is written by Alan Titchmarsh. This is a book about the RHS; the world's largest gardening charity but what it does and why is little understood and rarely celebrated. From defining new gardening trends at the Chelsea Flower Show, to ranking the best dahlias to grow at the Wisley trial grounds, to inspiring communities with Britain in Bloom, educating children to grow and eat their veg through the Campaign for School Gardening, the RHS works tirelessly to improve the gardener's lot.With the use of evocative archive images and contemporary photos by award-winning Jason Ingram, this beautiful book explores the past, present and future of this most influential organization by listening to the voices of those working today. From the thousands of volunteers in the society's five unique gardens (Wisley in Surrey, Rosemoor in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex, Harlow Carr in Yorkshire and new addition Bridgewater in Salford), to the one million visitors to its inspirational flower shows (including Chelsea, Hampton Court, Tatton Park, Cardiff, Wisley and Chatsworth); the society gives meaning to more than 475,000 members, millions of television viewers and visitors from around the world.
The RHS is the best of gardening, and this book presents the best of the RHS. Behind the scenes, access all areas, this book will give lasting pleasure to anyone who enjoys their garden."
Today's Garden Chore
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
"This book is a cycle of my life— seven lonely years are in it. The long ode(on page 62) is a cry of pain."
Her visual powers were remarkable. They far exceeded my own.Out of doors her keen eyes were always prying into the habits of all sorts of living things: ants, spiders, bees, wasps, fish, birds, cats, dogs.Had she cared for classification, which she did not, and been willing to make careful records, she might have become an expert naturalist. Form in nature seemed to interest her little, or at least comparative studies of form.What did interest her tremendously was the grade of intelligence manifested in the lower forms of life.She would spend hours watching the habits of birds and insects, and never without discovering new and interesting things.Whether she looked into the tops of the tallest trees, or the bottom of a stream, or the grass at her feet, she was always finding marvels of adaptation to wonder at, and links binding the world of life into a golden whole.She made lists of all the birds that visited her neighborhood. She knew most of them by their songs, and some times distinguished individuals of the same species by little differences in their notes, as once a song-sparrow at Woods Hole, which had two added notes.She knew when they nested and where, how they made their nests, and what food they brought to their young.In studying birds she used an opera glass, not a shotgun.She was, however, a very good shot with the revolver.
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