June 13, 2019 Repurposed Planter Idea, Martha Washington, George Thurtell, David Douglas, William Butler Yeats, Charles Joseph Sauriol, The Flower Fix by Anna Potter, Love in a Mist, Nigella, and James Clerk Maxwell and his Peacock Gardeners

My aunt Debbie in Des Moines sent me some fantastic pictures of a great portable elevated planter idea.

She was at Lowes, and they had taken two old Weber grills and had spray-painted them different colors. Then, they turned them into planters.

In between the two of them, they placed a bench.

What a great idea. The fantastic idea a great way to repurpose old grills turn them into elevated beds that you could use for annuals - which is what they did.

In my case, I think it is a fun way to have a small edible or herb garden - right by your grill!





#OTD It's the birthday of Martha Washington, born on this day in 1731.

The kitchen garden at Mount Vernon was said to have been Martha Washington's personal pride.

Surrounded by 4-inch-brick walls, her garden was protected, and it also enjoyed a bit of a microclimate. In addition to the walls, there were pear trees and apple trees that lined the walkways and provided a windbreaker for the vegetables.

There was even a cistern placed in the center of the garden, providing the garden with a steady supply of water.

One expert stated,

"Mrs. Washington had a passion for gardening and her summer residence at the Hasbrouck house allowed her to indulge in it."

One admirer said,

"Under her skillful hands, bloomed a garden like the desert of the Scriptures."




#OTD It was on this day in 1832 that George Thurtell held his impressive ranunculus show.

It was said that Thurtell had exhibited between 700 and 800 blooms, including 360 varieties.

They were preeminent in beauty, variety, color, form, and size.

Fourteen years after his ranunculus show, Thurtell was fined for horse-whipping a journalist on April 30, 1846.

Two years later, he pled guilty to stealing from a house where he was living as the gardener. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, and he died serving his sentence.




#OTD It was on this day in 1833 David Douglas' luck ran out.

On the Rocky Island of the Fraser River at Fort George Canyon, Douglas's canoe was smashed into bits, and Douglas himself barely escaped alive.

All of Douglas's work: his specimens and all of his writings - covering the years from 1829 to 1833 - were lost to time.

Before losing all of his work, in the spring of that year, Douglas had written a friend:

"We can be carried into regions where we contemplate the most glorious workmanship of nature and where the dullest imagination becomes excited."



Unearthed Words

Here's The Rose Tree by William Butler he who was born on this day in 1865.

'O words are lightly spoken,'
Said Pearse to Connolly,
'Maybe a breath of politic words
Has withered our Rose Tree;
Or maybe but a wind that blows
Across the bitter sea.'

'It needs to be but watered,'
James Connolly replied,
'To make the green come out again
And spread on every side,
And shake the blossom from the bud
To be the garden's pride.'

'But where can we draw water,'
Said Pearse to Connolly,
'When all the wells are parched away?
O plain as plain can be
There's nothing but our own red blood
Can make a right Rose Tree.'


Here’s a sweet diary entry for today by Canadian Naturalist Charles Joseph Sauriol (“Sar-ee-all”) who wrote these words on this day in 1938.

"A beautiful June day. The kind of day which has made June's reputation….
Tonight I finished my flower beds entirely….
How pleasant it is to water from a hose, when one has known the effort of hauling water pail by pail."



Today's book recommendation: The Flower Fix: Modern arrangements for a daily dose of nature by Anna Potter (Author), India Hobson (Photographer)

The Flower Fix was a new book out in May of this year. Potter arranges easy to find seasonal blooms, along with foraged items such as twigs and dried fruit. And, she uses all kinds of containers.

Potter is a florist at Swallows and Damsons. You can get your daily flower fix with her inspiring arrangements.




Today's Garden Chore

Sow Love-in-a-Mist or Nigella in your garden.

It's one of my favorite flowers, and I know I'm not alone; it is such a romantic blossom.

It's a member of the Buttercup family.

Although it comes in white and pink and lavender, most gardeners are blown away by the blue version of Love-in-a-Mist.

It's a favorite with pollinators, and it's self-seeding - which, if you're lucky, will bring you more love in the mist through the years.



Something Sweet

Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

It was on this day in 1831 that the scientist James Clerk Maxwell was born.

Maxwell is remembered for his formulation of the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation.

In 1922 when Albert Einstein visited the University of Cambridge, his host announced that he had done great things because he stood on Isaac Newton's shoulders.

Einstein replied, "No, I don't. I stand on the shoulders of Maxwell."

In 1879 Maxwell wrote a letter to his friend William Thompson.

It's a letter gardeners can delight in:

Peacocks as Gardeners.

We got our original stock from Mrs McCunn, Ardhallow.

At that time (1860), the garden there was the finest on the coast and the peacocks sat on the parapets & banks near the house.

Mr. McCunn was very fond of his garden and very particular about it, but he also cared for his peacocks...

Whenever he went out, he had bits of bread and such for them.

Mrs. Maxwell (my wife) always gets the peacocks to choose the gardener and they have chosen one who has now been seven years with us.

The peacocks will eat the young cabbages, but the gardener tells them to go...

They find it pleasanter to be about the house and to sit on either side of the front door.

Mrs Maxwell will not send them unless on consideration they would be acceptable.



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and remember:
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."

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