June 21, 2019 The Best Time in the Garden, Abraham Mignon, Cyrus McCormick, Frederick Law Olmsted, Summer Solstice, Donald Culross Peattie, Flowering Earth, National Selfie Day, and Advice on Weeding from 1843

When is the best time to divide? To prune? To transplant?

In general, the answer I most often give is that the best time to do anything is when you're standing there with a shovel, or a knife, or a spade in your hand.

We are all so busy. Our gardens can get away from us.

Our good intentions of getting to things at a later date can evaporate faster than water on a hot July day.

Thus the saying, "There is no time like the present."

So, if you're in your garden, and you have helpers, or you just have the right frame of mind to tackle that more significant project, to move that plant, or split that rhubarb; I say go for it!




#OTD It's the birthday of Abraham Mignon, who was born on this day in 1640.

Mignon was a Dutch Golden age painter, and he created vibrant paintings of fruit, birds, and his specialty: flowers.

When Mignon was just nine years old, he was placed under the care of Jacob Merrill - a still-life painter and art dealer.

Mignon became his apprentice, and Merrill was impressed with Mignon; he asked him to instruct his stepdaughter Maria Sabella Marián.

Maria went on to become, arguably, the best botanical illustrator of all-time.

Mignon died before his 40th birthday.



#OTD It was on this day in 1834 that the American inventor and businessman, Cyrus McCormick, patented the reaping machine.

McCormick's thresher changed agriculture forever, replacing the manual cutting of crops - which is why he's considered The Father of Modern Agriculture.

McCormick's company would go on to become the International Harvester Company.

McCormick was a devout Christian. He made a fortune from his reaper, and much of his wealth went to charity.

It was Cyrus McCormick who said,

"There's a special place in God's kingdom for businessmen who put their money where their mouth is."

In 1940, the three-cent postage stamp commemorated McCormick.

And today, the original McCormick Farm is owned by Virginia Tech.

McCormick came up with all of these beautiful witticisms about business here's a fun one.

"Trying to do business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl through a pair of green goggles. You may know what you are doing, but no one else does."




#OTD It was on this day in 1872 that the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was nominated in absentia as Vice President of United States.

Banker James McKim and philanthropist Robert Minturn, (who was instrumental in the creation of New York's Central Park), proposed a ticket featuring Olmsted as Vice President and as President, William Groesbeck (a former United States representative from Ohio). The party involved was the national American Democratic-Republicans.

When Olmsted heard the news, he immediately quashed his own nomination. He posted a rebuttal in the New York Post that said,

"My name was used without my knowledge in the resolutions of the gentlemen who met on Friday at the Fifth Avenue Hotel..."

Privately, Olmsted was pleased by the support. It was one more indication of the esteemed public figure that Olmsted had become.




#OTD Today is officially the first day of summer.

It's the longest day of the year, and it always marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.

It's also known as the summer solstice.

A solstice happens when the sun's zenith is at its furthest point from the equator.

Solstice has Latin origins and means sun-stopping.




Unearthed Words

Here are some quotes from Donald Culross Peattie, who was born on this day in Chicago in 1898.

Peattie was regarded as the most-read nature writer in America during his time.

"What is a weed? I've heard it said that there are 60 definitions. For me, a weed is a plant out of place."

"I have often started off on a walk in the state called mad-mad in the sense of sore-headed, or mad with tedium or confusion; I have set forth dull, null and even thoroughly discouraged. But I never came back in such a frame of mind, and I never met a human being whose humor was not the better for a walk."

"All the great naturalists have been habitual walkers, for no laboratory, no book, car, train or plane takes the place of honest footwork for this calling, be it amateur's or professional's."



Today's book recommendation: Flowering Earth by Donald Culross Peattie

The Hartford Times said this about Peattie's masterpiece:

"Here is Mr. Peattie at his superb best.... [H]e makes the story of botany and its pursuit as fascinating to the reader as it is to him, and the reading of it a delight."

Peattie's book was first published in 1939. The book is part of natural history, part biography, and part philosophical reflection.

Peattie's voice is warm and lyrical, the voice of a poet.



Today's Garden Chore

It's another Photo Friday in the Garden.

June 21 is National Selfie Day. So, today, take pictures of yourself in the garden.

I did this with my student gardeners a few weeks ago, and I have all of these adorable pictures of them peeking out from behind blossom and foliage in the garden.



Something Sweet

Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

On this day in 1843, The New England Farmer published a simple post on weeding.

Here's what it said:

"The checking of weeds and the stirring of the soil must be most perserveringly and faithfully performed, if you expect to obtain good crops.

No weed should be suffered to mature being destroyed:

"One years seeding," says the old proverb, "makes seven years weeding."



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

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