July 1, 2019 Martagon Lilies, Vale of York Field Naturalists Club, Illinois State Flower, the Violet, Joseph Hooker, Ann Taylor, Tree in the House by Annabelle Hickson, Dividing Flag Iris, and Frank Kingdon-Ward

Martagon Lilies are in peak right now in most gardens.

They bring the most beautiful architectural aspect and form to the garden; they are so exquisite.

Offering a Turk’s cap-style bloom, Like many plants, Martagon colonies get better and better with age.

Martagons like rich soil, and they will be grateful for a dusting of lime every year.




#OTD It was on this day in 1871; the Yorkshire Herald reported the first meeting of the Vale of York Field Naturalists Club.

Although the weather was very unfavorable, forty-seven ladies and gentlemen (members and friends of the club) left the Society's Rooms, in Micklegate, in three four-horsed conveyances.

When they reached Rivaulx ("ree-VOH")Abbey, the company then broke up into small parties - geologists, botanists, and entomologists - and proceeded to examine the valley for their own specialties.

"The geologists were interested with the sections laid bare in the quarries, and many interesting and beautiful fossils were found

The botanists collected, amongst other plants, Saxiraga tridaclylitet (nailwort), Helianthemum vulqare (rock rose), Cuscuta Epithymum (clover dodder), Aquilegia vulgaris (columbine), Atropa Belladonna (belladonna or deadly nightshade), Polypodium Phegopterit (northern beech fern), P. Dryoplerit (oak fern), besides the common Scolopendrium vuigare (hart's-tongue fern).

At six o'clock the party sat down to dinner at the Crown Hotel, Helmsley, which was served in Mr. and Mrs. Cowen's usual substantial style, after doing justice to which the Rev. Vice-President Rowe addressed those assembled on the advantages of natural history and the beauties and history of the Abbey, and also stated he would shortly bring a very interesting piece of information concerning it before the public, he being hon. secretary of the Architectural Society. It was arranged that the next monthly field day should be held at Bolton Abbey and Woods.

They then left for home, after a most agreeable day, which left every one with the feeling that this the first excursion of the club was a great success."



#OTD It was on this day in 1908 that Illinois adopted the Violet as its State Flower.

As with many State Flowers, Illinois had decided to let the school children vote to decide on the state flower. The purple violet received 15,591 votes, and the wild rose came in second with 11,903 votes.

The children also decided on the state tree, and they selected the white oak.

Meanwhile, newspapers were running a piece that blared the headline, "the reign of the violet is over."

"Strange and unbelievable, but a fact, nevertheless, violets are no longer fashionable.

Gardenias, orchids and American Beauty roses are as much in evidence as ever, but the reign of the violet is temporarily over.

It is true that a large bunch of deep purple violets relieved by a single mauve orchid, a deep pink rose, or a single waxlike gardenia is still an acceptable gift, but it is not the gift that is so frequently' chosen this year, as a small cluster of gardenias or even of two or three exquisitely beautiful orchids...

Roses are much in favor at the moment, ...

A new flower hailing from Paris is the pink American Beauty, and well does it deserve the name... the color is an adorable shade of shell pink, and for all decorative purposes tins flower has already a firmly established place in fashion's regard.

... one cannot but regret the sense of chivalry of a generation back, when etiquette demanded that flowers be sent always to a hostess before even the least formal entertainment, and when a debutante had better stay at home than go to a ball without her ... little bouquet of flowers."



#OTD It was on this day in 1910 that the Allentown Democrat out of Allentown PA reported that Joseph Hooker was 93 years old.

"Sir Joseph Hooker, the world-famous botanist, received a personal note of congratulations from King George today on the occasion of his ninety-third birthday.

Sir Joseph, who is still remarkably active for a man of his great age, has had a long and brilliant career in his chosen field of science.

As early as 1839 he accompanied the expedition of Sir James Ross to the Antarctic region.

Later he conducted scientific expeditions to many parts of the world including Eastern Bengal, the Himalayas, the Khasia Mountains, Morocco and the Greater Atlas, New Zealand Ceylon, California and the Rocky Mountain region of North America.

In the course of his active career he rendered invaluable services to the British arts, manufactures and commerce by promoting an accurate knowledge of the floras and economic vegetable products of the various colonies and dependencies of the empire."




Unearthed Words

Today's poem is by Ann Taylor - an English poet and literary critic. In her youth, she was a writer of verse for children, for which she achieved long-lasting popularity.

Her sister, Jane, wrote the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
It's color bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.
Yet thus it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.
Then let me to the valley go
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.



Today's book recommendation: Tree in the House by Annabelle Hickson

A Tree in the House is stunning; an ode to flower arranging. A Tree in the House celebrates the art of arranging flowers for celebrations big, small and in-between held throughout the year. Annabelle Hickson provides ideas and instructions for celebratory botanical installations and arrangements; each staged and photographed in different rural homes, gardens, and sheds using the beauty of what's growing wild. Interspersed throughout are snapshots—in words and pictures—of rural life and that aspirational rustic country aesthetic.



Today's Garden Chore

Divide your Flag Iris after they finish blooming.

Regular division can re-invigorate your plant and promote healthy growth. The best time to divide flag iris is immediately after flowering. Lift the whole clump and use a sharp knife to detach new rhizomes.

Don't forget that flag irises need full sun.



Something Sweet
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

#OTD It was on this day in 1932, that newspapers around the world ran a fascinating article about the botanist Frank Kingdon-Ward titled "Plant Explorer Finds Adventure."

"Captain Frank Klngdon-Ward, tall, well-built son of Britain, probably one of the world's most noted plant seekers, who has journeyed all over the world in search of rare flowers, has led a life as exciting as any explorer, and has given the world some of its most beautiful and rare blooms.

Now In his late "40's, he is tanned from the winds and suns of tropical India, Asia, and the forbidden land of Tibet.

He has collected flowers from the heights of the Himalayas, and from the depths of marshy Indian -jungles.

His last expedition occurred In 1931.

On it, he discovered a new pass into Tibet 35,000 feet above sea level, through an out-flung range of the Himalayas.

His efforts in prying through thick jungles and climbing high mountains were rewarded in the discovery of a new species of slipper orchid, said to be worth about $500.

On another of his Tibetan expeditions, he discovered the blue poppy, a flower that is sought by all Horticulturists in this country and obtained by few.

To give an idea of the trying conditions under which he labored, consider that he discovered a new river, the Nam-tamai, the lost source of the Irrawaddy which no white man in 2,000 years of civilization had found. Along this, river, through virgin forest, he and his small band trudged, meeting wild beasts and hostile bands of natives. Back in the wild country he located a people hitherto known only ; as a vaguely surmised race, the Darus. These people had never seen a white man before Kingdon-Ward arrived.

One of the most unusual plants he ever discovered was the rare Nomocharis Farreh, a beautiful flower of China. This plant was found by accident and during the height of a violent rainstorm. The flower itself Is rose pink outside, and dappled with royal purple inside. Each stem, from 12 to 15 inches in height, bears one, two or three of the flowers, which grow as large as teacups.

The flower which Captain Kingdon-Ward prizes most of all is the Campanula Calicola, "perhaps the most beautiful rock plant I discovered." It was found growing in limestone cliffs, and Is adaptable lo rock gardens. The Orient is rich in flowers. That land has given us many of our choice blooms. Roses come from India and China; pinks, carnations and daffodils from Asia Minor, and numerous rare orchids come from the wilds of Tibet.

Captain Kingdon-Ward describes a land of rare rhododendrons vividly in a book he wrote on his adventures in China and Asia.

"You may wander for days ankle-deep through a chromatic surf of rhododendrons, rose pink, ivory white, lavender, plum purple, crimson and amber yellow. They are woven into carpets of queer design and ample pile, or form tuffets, or hassocks or mere tangles, mats or brooms. "They spread and sprawl everywhere, bushy and twigulous, all; looming Into flower together; still looking across the dark ocean of moorland you see the billowy hills crested with color; and, where escarpments break the even roll, the plant growth surges high up the rocks, It Is western Szechwan, the Tibetan marshes. home of the 'Lapponicum' rhododendrons.




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


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