Have you ever taken a class on gardening?
If you're in the Calgary area, there's an excellent class taking place tonight from 7 to 9 PM
It's part of the "Garden On" Lecture series.
Tonight's focus is on herbs.
If you're new to gardening, herbs make for wonderful starter plants.
They are easy to grow, generally trouble-free, and versatile.
They can be incorporated into almost any garden situation.
Tonight's class will cover
- What makes an herb an herb
The class will be at the Acadia Recreation Complex in Calgary tonight at 7 PM.
#OTD It's the birthday of Enid Annenberg Haupt, born today in 1906.
The very woman the president of the New York Botanical Garden called,
"The greatest patron American horticulture has ever known."
Enid was one of eight children; her parents Sadie and Moses had one son and seven daughters.
Her father was the founder of a large publishing empire.
Enid followed in his footsteps was an heiress to the large family fortune.
Enid's first marriage ended in divorce. Her second marriage to Ira Haupt launched her philanthropic activities and introduced her to the world of gardening.
When they were engaged, Ira gave Enid a cymbidium orchid.
At the time, cymbidium orchids were rare in the United States.
Enid was immediately enthralled by it.
She told Ira that for her wedding present from him, she would be very happy with a gift of 13 cymbidium orchids. She was set on learning how to grow them herself and propagate them on her own.
In fact, the cultivar Cymbidium Enid Haupt was named in her honor. Enid found this ironic since that particular orchid is known for its fertility. Enid could not have children of her own. However, she and Ira eventually adopted a little girl named Pamela.
Enid's brother, Walter, gave her a chance to be a publisher. Initially, Enid was terrified. Yet, Enid had proved she had many talents. She was a good writer. She loved to grow orchids. She had an impeccable sense of style. When it came to running a magazine, Enid felt she was over the tips of her skis. Walter insisted she give it a go.
In 1953, Enid was put in charge of the magazine Seventeen.
She ran the magazine until 1970. During her tenure, Seventeen magazine was more popular than Glamour and twice as popular as Mademoiselle. At one point, more than half of the teenage girls in the United States were reading Seventeen magazine.
When Enid died in 2005, she had donated more than $140 million to charities.
Her favorite charities involved gardening. This is how Enid became known as "the fairy godmother of American horticulture" and "the patron saint of public gardens."
One of Enid's largest gifts was to the New York Botanical Garden. Over her lifetime, Enid gave them over $34 million – $5 million of which was dedicated to the restoration of the stunning Victorian glass greenhouse now called the Enid Haupt Conservancy. Without Enid, the greenhouse would have been demolished.
In 1993, Enid told the Times,
"I must have a project.That should be my middle name; Project. I'm really and truly not happy without one."
And it was in Enid Haupt, who said,
"Nature is my religion. There is no life in cements and paint. "
#OTD Today, in 1995, Allison Hargraeves became the first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest unaided.
When she got to the peak, Hargraeves planted a silk flower.
#OTD On this day in 2013, Ohio State University's greenhouse smells like a mix of sauerkraut and dead fish.
This scent was from the bloom of the corpse flower, the rare titan arum.
The corpse flower is from Sumatra.
Discovered in the late 1800s by an Italian botanist, there have been less than 200 blooms in the world since its discovery.
In 1889, newspapers around the world were offering an account of the first recorded bloom at the Royal Gardens at Kew.
Reports mentioned that it was hard to describe the appearance of the flower.
That said, it reminded readers that many arums have a similar appearance;
Calling to mind the jack-in-the-pulpit, the wild turnip, skunk cabbage, and the calla lily – all types of arums.
In addition, many arums emit a repulsive odor.
Finally, this week marks the beginning of National Public Gardens Week, which runs from today, May 13, through May 19.
The kick-off to this week begins today with National Public Gardens Day.
This celebration started in 2009 as part of the effort to bring attention to the country's public gardens.
You can be part of the celebration by visiting a public garden in your area this week.
In 1982, on this day, Vassar College acquired the journals of John Burroughs.
One of the countries leading naturalist Burroughs had kept a journal over the last 45 years of his life.
The first entry in the first notebook happened on this day, May 13, 1876.
Burroughs writes about the Redstart, a medium-sized bird known as a May warbler. Males are mostly black with bright orange patches on the sides, wings, and tail.
Here's what it said:
"Standing in the road over in the woods,
I saw a lively little shadow cast by some object
above and behind me,
on the ground in front of me.
Turning, I saw the source of it–
The Red Start
Performing its astonishing gymnastics in a leafless oak tree…
It is the quickest
Of the flycatchers."
A fan of Emerson's, Burroughs often told people that he felt Emerson was his spiritual father.
Burroughs followed Emerson's rules for enlightenment:
Sit alone and keep a journal
In his very last notebook, Burroughs wrote:
Men who write journals, Are usually men of certain marked traits–
They are idealists; They love solitude rather than society;
They are self-conscious, and they love to write…
Their journals largely take the place of social converse.
Two such a man, his journal becomes his duplicate self,
And he chose to it what he could not say to his nearest friend.
It becomes both an altar and a confessional.
As I was reading about John Burroughs and his journals, I stumbled on something Burroughs had written at the thought of others reading the entries in his diaries (as he called them).
"I do not expect you to read them all —
only here and there
where you get some real glimpse of me.
I looked into some of them last night.
They seem too sad.
I seem to have put
all my sunshine into the books,
and all my gloom into the Diaries.
Remember they were written for my eyes alone —
a sort of cemetery
where I could turn and mourn
over my vanished days
and vanished thoughts."
The Garden Notebook was Chatto's monthly diary, and it is super readable and engaging. As a nursery owner and operator, Chatto offers up her hints and tips about unusual herbaceous alpine and other plants.
It's so hard to believe, but on this day last year, we lost Beth – one of the most influential plant people of the last half-century.
Chatto's naturalistic gardens taught gardeners to incorporate new and different varieties of plants.
She also stressed the importance of focusing on foliage, embracing the fleeting nature of blossoms.
Chatto started a small nursery outside London in 1967. She called it Unusual Plants.
Leveraging this special interest, Chatto created ten years' worth of medal-winning displays at the Chelsea Flower Show, and of course, her displays featured unusual plants that were often initially dismissed as weeds.
Today's Garden Chore: Incorporate herbs into shaded areas in your garden.
If you think all herbs need full sun, you'll be pleased to know that you can grow a fair selection of herbs in the shade.
Save your shaded areas for growing lemon balm, parsley, anise hyssop, wild ginger, and spicebush.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
As I was researching Enid Haupt, I came across a wonderful article in the Austin American-Statesman from June 18, 1971. It sheds light on Enid's life after retirement from Seventeen magazine.
The article shared fantastical scenes from inside Enid's Park Ave. Apartment:
Instead of curtains, Enid had Potted Camillia plants on either side of the windows. In order to survive indoors in New York, they needed to be misted three times a day.
And there was a rug in her drawing-room that Enid claimed she had waited 23 years to acquire. It was from the Palace of Versailles, and it featured antique hollyhocks and tulips on a rose background.
"Plants are my life. I feel responsible for them."
And Enid cautioned against babying plants, she said
"I have a protective attitude without pampering. If you pamper a plant, It's like a person. It grows too soft."
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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