June 12, 2019 The Most Fragrant Plants, Meriwether Lewis, Karl Freiherr von Drais, Edward Newman, the Michigan Botanical Club, Frank Nicholas Meyer, June Poetry, Carl Linnaeus, Joseph Banks, Patricia Fara, Perlite, and the Shady Acres Herb Farm

Fragrance in the garden...

The most fragrant blossoms include:

  • Cheddar pinks (a member of the carnation family)
  • Lavender
  • Peony
  • Gardenia
  • Honeysuckle
  • Hyacinth
  • Lilac
  • Mock Orange
  • Daphne
  • Bee balm





#OTD On this day, in 1805, Meriwether Lewis was just one day away from reaching the Great Falls of Missouri.

He wrote his own brief description of a species that was previously unknown to science.

He wrote,

"The narrow leafed cottonwood grows here in common with the other species of the same tree with a broad leaf."


I wonder if he saw all the cottonwood seeds floating through the air...




#OTD It was a little over 200 years ago today, in 1817, that a forest ranger, named Karl Freiherr von Drais, invented the first bicycle.




#OTD And it's the anniversary of the death day of Edward Newman, who was an English entomologist, botanist, and writer.

Newman wrote, An Illustrated Natural History of the British Moths In 1869.

He also enjoyed writing poetry.

Just as the butterfly, child of an hour,
Flutters about in the light of the sun,
Wandering wayward from flower to flower,
Sipping the honey from all, one by one
So does the fanciful verse I've created
Love amongst the experts in Science to roam,
Drinking their spirit without being sated,
Bringing the sweets of their intellect home.




#OTD It was on this day, in 1948, that the Michigan Botanical Club adopted its name.

It wasn't agreed upon very quickly.

The Board of Directors and the executive committee couldn't agree. They decided to hold a vote. The choices included:

  1. The Michigan Association for Native Plants Protection
  2. The Michigan Wildflower Association
  3. The Michigan Native Plant Society
  4. The Michigan Botanical Club

Although the rest of the state voted unanimously for the Michigan Botanical Club, the strong-willed southeastern chapter had taken a poll, and they wanted the name The Michigan Wildflower Association.

The matter was finally settled when the general membership voted. It's been The Michigan Botanical Club ever since.





#OTD And it was on this day in 1918 that the botanist Frank Nicholas Meyer was buried in Shanghai.

Six days later, his family, back home in the Netherlands, learned of his death.

At the beginning of June, Meyer had traveled to Shanghai by way of a Japanese riverboat on the Yangtze River.

He was last seen leaving his cabin on the evening of June 1; then, he simply disappeared.

His body was found in the river four days later.

Meyer was just 43 years old when he either fell overboard or was murdered.

In either case, his legacy continues, not only in the plants he introduced (like the Meyer Lemon) but also in the magnificent photographs that he took in China.





Unearthed Words

Here are some short sayings about June:

"If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance."
- Bern Williams

"Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June."
- Al Bernstein

"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade."
- Gertrude Jekyll, On Gardening

"June is bustin' out all over."
- Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945



Today's book recommendation: Sex, Botany, and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks by Patricia Fara

Fara said,

"Banks provided a marvelous illustration of how science and the British Empire grew rich and powerful together."


Fara reveals how Enlightenment botany, under the veil of rationality, manifested a drive to conquer, subdue, and deflower―all in the name of the British empire.

Linnaeus trained his traveling disciples in a double mission―to bring back specimens for the benefit of the Swedish economy and to spread the gospel of Linnaean taxonomy.

Based in London at the hub of an international exchange and correspondence network, Banks ensured that Linnaeus's ideas became established throughout the world. As the president of the Royal Society for more than forty years, Banks revolutionized British science, and his innovations placed science at the heart of trade and politics. He made it a policy to collect and control resources not only for the sake of knowledge but also for the advancement of the empire.

Although Linnaeus is often celebrated as modern botany's real founder, Banks has had a more significant long-term impact.

It was Banks who ensured that science and imperialism flourished together, and it was he who first forged the interdependent relationship between scientific inquiry and the state that endures to this day.



Today's Garden Chore

Add perlite to your soil.

Get a big bag of perlite like this one and add it to the soil in your containers.

Seasoned gardeners swear by perlite.

If you want soil that has proper aeration, water retention, and drainage, try adding, the mineral, perlite.

A naturally occurring mineral, perlite has a neutral pH level, so it won't change the soil in that way.

It's incredibly porous, and it contains little pockets of space inside for air. It can also retain some amount of water while allowing excess to drain away.

(I get a massive bag of perlite every year from Amazon. I'll put a link to that in today's show notes.)




Something Sweet

Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

On this day in 2016, the Shady Acres Herb Farm closed in Chaska, Minnesota, after 39 years.

Shady Acres was the place to go for plants and herbs for almost four decades.

Shady Acres was owned and operated by Theresa and Jim Mieseler since the mid-70s.

Theresa has started out with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. She had been put in charge of the herb garden she recalled telling her boss,

"I don't know what an herb is..."

Seven years later, Jim and Theresa started Shady Acres Herb Farm with seedlings grown in Dixie cups in their basement.

Over time, they cultivated and sold over 600 varieties of culinary herbs and vegetables. Since the closing of their farm, Shady Acres has been moving in a different direction. They're now committed to teaching others about growing plants, and they do that in their monthly newsletter.

You can check out their website at Shadyacres.com.




Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
and remember:
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."


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