June 20, 2019 The Zip Slicer, John Bartram, Meriwether Lewis, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Benjamin Lincoln Robinson, Isabella Abbott, Alice Mackenzie Swaim, The Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs, the Chelsea Chop, and Coe Finch Austin
There is nothing that can beat eating fresh food from the garden.
It seems every meal around here has fresh basil lettuce from the garden and little cherry tomatoes.
Today, I was at my favorite olive oil store, and they sell this little gizmo called the Zip Slicer.
You load it up with your cherry tomatoes or grapes, and then you slice them all in one quick motion.
It's fantastic if you eat tomatoes and grapes a lot. It cuts down on the prep time, and I think around here we've been eating Caprese salad about three times a week. So there you go. Check it out: the Zip Slicer.
#OTD It was on this day in 1757 that the botanist John Bartram wrote a letter to Philip Miller.
Miller was the chief Gardner at the Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 until his death. He corresponded with botanists from all over the world, including John Bartram. Miller even trained William Forsyth, after whom Forsythia is named.
When Bartram wrote to Miller, he shared some of his personal preferences as a gardener.
First, he shared his desire for variety in the garden. He said,
"One or two is enough for me of a sort."
Later in the letter, he shared his dislike for plants that weren't hardy in Pennsylvania. He wrote to Miller saying,
"I don't greatly like tender plants that won't bear our severe winters but perhaps annual plants that would perfect their seed with you without the help of a hotbed in the spring will do with us in the open ground."
#OTD It was on this day in 1803 that President Thomas Jefferson sent a formal letter to his private secretary and aide, Meriwether Lewis.
Lewis was a captain in the first United States infantry. Jefferson wrote him to request that he might lead an expedition of the Missouri River.
Jefferson never mentioned botany in the letter, but he clearly was thinking about it, and Lewis knew it.
As he was preparing for his trip, Lewis connected with Benjamin Smith Barton. Barton had written the first American textbook on botany, and he gave Lewis a little crash course on the subject.
#OTD It was on this day in 1861 that Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins was born.
In the 1700s, Dr. James Lind had made it known that eating limes would cure a sailor's scurvy.
Hopkins's work calls these substances accessory food factors. Today, we know them as vitamins.
#OTD And it is on this day in 1892 that Benjamin Lincoln Robinson was appointed the curator of the Asa Gray Herbarium at Harvard.
When Robinson took over, both the herbarium and the library were in dire straits.
Robinson was instrumental in acquiring funds and extending the growth of the herbarium in the library.
Today, the Gray Herbarium and library are still housed at Harvard at 22 Divinity Ave.
#OTD And It was on this day a hundred years ago that Isabella Abbott was born.
She was the first native Hawaiian woman to earn a Ph.D. in science. Abbott became known as the "First Lady of Limu" or seaweed.
When she was a little girl, she spent hours gathering seaweed for her mother to cook in traditional Hawaiian foods.
I found a video online of an interview that Leslie Wilcox did with Abbott back in 2008. When Wilcox asked Abbott about her love of studying seaweed, she said,
"There are so few of us [compared to] the thousands of people work on flowering plants. Flowering plants mostly have the same kind of life history so they become kind of boring; they make pretty flowers and make nice smells, they taste good - many of them. But, they're not like seaweeds.
With every one you pick up, it does go through life a different way ... It's a game, it's a game I bet with myself the whole whole time from the time I cut it on the outside I say oh I think this might be in such-and-such a family, or something like that, and by the time I get to some magnification on the microscope... Oh No. 100% wrong.
So let's begin again."
You can watch the video of the interview with Isabella Abbott in the Facebook Group for the Show: The Daily Gardener Community
No farther than my fingertips,
No weightier than a rose,
The essence of green summer
slips Into a waiting pose.
The tilted bowl of heaven
Has spilled its blue and gold
Among the vines and grasses
Where autumn is foretold.
Skylarks trill the melody,
Crickets cry it over;
Summer hides her mystery
In fields of hay and clover.
Alice Mackenzie Swaim
Today's book recommendation: The Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs by John Hillier
This book is considered a classic in horticultural literature.
The best part about it remains all of the notes that were compiled by members of the Hillier family. Among all of them, they had a fantastic amount of direct experience growing plants and assessing their performance in different regions.
Over 10,500 plants representing more than 650 genera are described in detail, making it an indispensable guide for any keen gardener or botanist.
Today's Garden Chore
Don't forget to pinch back some of your perennials; this is also known as the Chelsea Chop.
The simple technique helps control plant height and delay bloom.
You can use the Chelsea Chop on several herbaceous perennials in your garden.
Plants like mums, lysimachia, helenium, aster, sedum, and so forth.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
It was on this day in 1831 that the botanist and founding member of the Torrey Botanical Club, Coe Finch Austin, was born.
He was a noted expert on the mosses and liverworts of North America.
To give you an idea of his fearlessness while he was collecting plants, here's a little story I read across:
Coe was visiting his brother in New York, and he decided he wanted to climb High Tor.
Austin climbed the mountain, stopping along the way to add specimens to his shoulder bag.
When he reached the top, Austin surprised his brother and handed him the specimens with instructions to meet him at the base of the mountain.
His brother realized that this meant Austin was going to descend along the most dangerous face of the mountain.
He tried to stop him, but Austin did not relent.
His brother waited for him at the meeting place on the base. After a while, and without a sound, his brother suddenly appeared. He came bearing specimens and had a massive smile on his face.
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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